Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Landmark Disability Screening Program Underway for Flint Schoolchildren

This from the Education Law Center:

Students in Flint, Michigan, are beginning to receive high quality screenings and evaluations through the Flint Registry and Genesee Health System/Hurley Children’s Hospital Neurodevelopmental Center of Excellence (NCE) to identify disabilities that may entitle them to special education services. The screening and evaluation program is the key component of an April 2018 settlement agreement reached in D.R. v. Michigan Department of Education, a class action lawsuit to enforce the rights of Flint children impacted by the lead crisis under federal and state special education law.  

The Flint students are represented by Education Law Center, the ACLU of Michigan and White & Case LLP. The defendants in the lawsuit are the Michigan Department of Education, the Genesee Intermediate School District and the Flint Community Schools (FCS).

The partial settlement agreement resolved the lawsuit’s “child find” claims challenging the defendants’ failure to appropriately identify and evaluate Flint students with disabilities. Key commitments contained in the settlement agreement included over $4 million provided by the State of Michigan to get the screening and evaluation program up and running.

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December 18, 2018 in Special Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 13, 2018

New Jersey Supreme Court Ends Challenge to Teacher Tenure Laws

In a short one-pager, the New Jersey Supreme Court just ended the litigation war on teachers tenure in the state.  By my count, this marks at least the fourth major loss for those using the courts to pursue their anti-teacher tenure agenda.  And they have still yet to win a single case before a high court. What started as a big splash in California in Vergara--and rippled into places like Minnesota, New York, and New Jersey--has turned into a frivolous theory that is now sinking like a rock to the bottom of the ocean, likely to never be seen again.  As I pointed out more than three years ago in The Constitutional Challenge to Teacher Tenure, the evidence simply did not support their claims.

Here's the Education Law Center's take on the New Jersey decision:

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December 13, 2018 in Teachers | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Fight for Federal Right to Education Takes a New turn

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The nation’s founders saw education as key to self-rule. Joseph Sohm/www.shutterstock.com

Derek W. Black, University of South Carolina

A new fight to secure a federal constitutional right to education is spreading across the country. This fight has been a long time coming and is now suddenly at full steam.

In 1973, plaintiffs in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez argued that school funding inequities violated the right to education. The Supreme Court rejected education as a fundamental right under the federal Constitution, leaving funding inequalities in Texas and elsewhere completely untouched. For more than 40 years, no one even dared to directly challenge Rodriguez’s conclusion in court. Now, in just two years, four different legal teams and plaintiff groups have done just that. But this time, they are shifting their arguments away from just claims about money. They are focusing on educational quality, literacy and learning outcomes.

The boldest claim was filed on Nov. 29 in Rhode Island, arguing for an education that prepares students for citizenship – an argument that draws directly on my own legal research and expertise as a scholar of education law.

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December 11, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, December 10, 2018

Ensuring Well-Informed Citizens through Public Education, Then and Now

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In October, I had the privilege of participating in a Tedx event sponsored by the University of South Carolina.  The subject of my talk was the danger our democracy faces when we fail to ensure equal and adequate public education.  I offered warnings and lessons from both the perspective of our nation’s founders and those who rebuilt our nation in the period following the Civil War.  The number of parallels between the post-Civil War period and today are striking, particularly the advent of new technology—the penny press newspapers then and the 24-hour news cycle and blogs today.  The challenge today is use yesterday’s lessons to solve today’s problems in school funding, critical literacy, and democratic participation.  The following is a couple of highlights from the talk:

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December 10, 2018 in School Funding | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 7, 2018

New Jersey Must Rein in Improper Charter Growth

This from the Education Law Center:

Education Law Center is urging the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to take immediate steps to reverse course from a decade of explosive and improper growth of charter school enrollment, targeted in the state’s high poverty, racially isolated school districts. 

“In allowing charter schools, the Legislature wanted to encourage local stakeholders to pilot innovative practices on a school-by-school basis to improve education for all students in districts served by charter schools,” said David Sciarra, ELC Executive Director. “Over the last decade, the State has facilitated the rapid expansion of charter school networks designed to compete with, and replace, district public schools altogether, in direct violation of constitutional mandates and the Legislature’s intent.” 

ELC’s recommendations to address the problems in New Jersey’s charter school program are detailed in written comments submitted to the NJDOE. Governor Phil Murphy’s administration is undertaking a thorough review of implementation of the 1995 charter school law.

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December 7, 2018 in Charters and Vouchers | Permalink | Comments (0)