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Fall 2011 - The Changing Face of Education




Voluntary Desegregation, Resegregation, and the Hope for Equal Educational Opportunity

Over the past decade, several school districts have sought to desegregate their schools, believing that this is crucial to providing equal educational opportunities to all students. The Supreme Court in Parents Involved v. Seattle School District placed limitations on how districts can achieve this goal. School districts and advocates are testing the limits and receiving approval from the federal government and courts.


The Impact and Growth of Public Charter Schools

Public charter schools, supported by federal policy, are growing rapidly but still enroll a small portion of students. Though free from some state and local regulations, charters must still comply with federal education laws, but there is evidence of some problems. Research does not reflect impressive achievement results in the aggregate, nor a tendency to spur innovative practice, but there are examples of high-achieving, innovative schools.


Alabama Introduces the Immigration Debate to Its Classrooms

Alabama’s controversial immigration law, H.B. 56, takes the issue of immigration into the classroom by requiring public schools to inquire about the immigration status of students and their parents. The discriminatory effect of such questioning has resulted in drops in attendance of Hispanics, ultimately violating children’s right to education. Several states have avoided provisions aimed at education to distance themselves from the example set by Alabama.

Children's Rights

A Past, Present, and Future Look at No Child Left Behind

Education is in constant flux, driven by studies that reform efforts and shape policies and law at the local, state, and federal levels. Today, there is an interesting dichotomy between the states continuing to live under the No Child Left Behind Act and those taking the Obama administration’s modified approach, ESEA Flexibility. Only time will tell which states—and students—will fare better.

Human Rights

The Intersection of Free Speech and Harassment Rules

School and colleges are continually under fire for alleged failures to safeguard their students’ and faculty members’ free speech rights. Administrators must partake in a balancing act to avoid a showdown at their institution. The policies and practices of a public institution or school district need to honor discourse and use free and open debate—not disciplinary proceedings—as the remedy for unpopular speech.