November 2009
In This Issue
Some state legislators are proposing waiving long-standing teacher licensure standards, but many advocates feel that lower standards for licensure would be a step in the wrong direction. Raising the effectiveness of our teaching force is important, especially in high-needs schools, says the Forum on Education and Democracy, and their “Effective Teachers, High Achievers” teaching brief suggests ways to accomplish this goal.
On Tuesday, a Wall Street Journal editorial gave voice to the ideological battle now underway over the future of public education in the U.S. Not surprisingly, the editorial supported ‘silver bullet’ proposals, got the facts wrong on education, and opposed real reform.”
On October 19th, the Colorado Supreme Court announced its decision in Lobato v. State, overturning a court of appeal's opinion that dismissed the plaintiffs' challenge to the adequacy of the state's public school funding system. This ruling means that the case will proceed to trial, where the plaintiffs will have the opportunity to prove their claim that Colorado does not adequately fund education.
This is the third article in our series exploring some of the lessons that can be learned from changes implemented in response to quality education lawsuits. This month we focus on the comprehensive education reform enacted in Massachusetts to address the inadequacies revealed by the McDuffy litigation, and the resulting improvements in the state's education funding system and student achievement.
Jan Resseger, in this guest editorial, notes that “many of us feel that the recently-released guidelines for Secretary Arne Duncan's award of $4.35 billion in ‘Race to the Top’ stimulus dollars, which focus on merit pay tied to test scores and an explosion of new charter schools, have not really taken the conversation about public education to where we would ideally have it go. It is therefore a perfect time to discover Mike Rose's new book, Why School?
IFEEO Books Score Big in National Best Books 2009 Awards
Both books published by the Institute for Educational Equity and Opportunity (IFEEO) were named finalists in the National Best Books Awards, sponsored by USA Book News. A Quality Education for Every Child: Stories from the Lawyers on the Front Line, just released in late September 2009, was a finalist in the category Education: Academic, and IFEEO's September 2008 publication, Education in the 50 States: A Deskbook of the History of State Constitutions and Laws About Education, was a finalist in the category, History: United States.
Education Law Center Named “Hot Schott”
For its dedicated and successful advocacy on behalf of low-income and minority schoolchildren, the Education Law Center received the Public Policy Award at the 2nd Annual Hot Schott Awards Gala. The Hot Schott Awards, presented by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, recognize activists and community and philanthropic organizations that have demonstrated exceptional commitment and achieved extraordinary results in advocating for equity in public education.
Lowenstein Sandler Attorneys Recognized for Pro Bono Work on Lobato
Lowenstein Sandler, at its annual pro bono celebration, recognized attorneys Nicole P. Crifo and David Reiner for their work on an amicus brief submitted in support of the plaintiffs in Lobato v. State. The plaintiffs successfully defeated a motion to dismiss, as discussed here.
High Court Decisions Anticipated
Plaintiffs still await decisions from state supreme courts in Abbeville County Sch. Dist. v. State of South Carolina and Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding v. Rell, both of which were argued over a year ago.
November 20, 2009
“Advancing Rigor and Quality of Education Cost Analysis in the United States,” a small gathering of education finance researchers convened by the Ford Foundation, New York, NY.
January 7, 2010
“Getting Assessment Right,” the first event in a series entitled “Transforming ESEA: Helping Public Schools Improve,” presented by the Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA), features Gene Willhoit, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Monty Neil, Washington, DC. To Register....
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State-by-state information on school funding litigation, past and pending, can be found at this web page.

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