Each Friday, the NC Education Lawyer will post five items that she has read during the week. Generally, all the posts will have some connection to education. Sometimes, items shared may simply be to highlight the good in humanity.
1. Texas and the Feds Square Off Over $33 Million in Special Education Funds, By: Aiyyya Swaby (Texas Tribune)
The state of Texas has potentially made big mistake, huge! In 2012, Texas reduced funding for students with disabilities by $33 Million while still receiving block grants from the federal government which prohibit states from reducing funding for children with disabilities from year to year. This dispute, which has been looming for the past year or more, is now before the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. The Texas solicitor general, Kyle Hawkins, is in essence, making an "our bad" argument and hoping that the court will not penalize Texas for this egregious error. At least one jurist, Judge Jerry Smith, appeared unpersuaded by Hawkins' argument, when he admonished Hawkins and Texas for rewriting the law. Meanwhile, Stephanie Marcus, who represents the federal government, is arguing that the law is the law and Texas broke it. It will be interesting to see how the 5th Circuit rules on this matter.
2. You Should Feel Sick: Speaker Says Racial Caste System in NC Schools is Our Choice, By: Ann Doss Helms
I really wanted to see Nikole Hannah-Jones speak a couple of weeks ago Unfortunately, I had a prior engagement. Ms. Hannah-Jones' spoke at a "The Color of Education," part of a series of annual summits, sponsored by the Public School Forum of North Carolina, Duke Policy Bridge and Duke’s Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity. Ms Hannah-Jones discussed the unfortunate reality that racism is in the fabric of our society, and how this reality impacts students of color. I found the recap of Ms. Hannah-Jones' discussion about making choices about where her own children would attend school particularly interesting. This article made me question the privilege that I have. Why is it that we want to live where the good schools (which usually means predominately white and/or wealthy schools) instead of ensuring that all of our public schools are good schools.
3. Education, Not Discrimination: NAACP Legal Defense Fund Asks Florida Schools to End Biased Hair Policies, By: Maiysha Kai (The Root)
As a professional with locs, who once was a young girl with many variations of braided hairs styles, I completely support LDF's call to action. I concur with the articles' position that "hair policies unlawfully target African-American students . . . based on their specific hair texture. They also expressly ban hairstyles or grooming practices that are more likely to be worn by or associated with African-American children. . . " While these policies are not overtly racist in that they do not specifically state race or the color of ones skin as a means of exclusion, the "subtle rules and restrictions based on racial stereotypes and proxies have the same force and effect.”
4. Teachers Crowdfund Millions for Classroom Supplies, By: Lauren Camera (U.S. News & World Report)
Teachers nationwide struggle to ensure their classrooms have the supplies students needs to make academic progress. Some teachers have gotten creative and turned to online platforms to raise the money their classrooms need. Educators, I wish that you had the resources you needed to do your jobs. I applaud your efforts to make sure your students have access the curriculum by any means necessary.
5. Wake County to Students "Do the Homework" :-)