New Book Acclaims Adequacy Litigations
Countering the recent slew of books by Eric Hanushek, Al Lindseth, Paul Peterson and other critics of education adequacy and sound basic education litigations, a new book by Michael A. Rebell argues that successful outcomes in these cases, which have been initiated in dozens of states, is essential if the United States is to achieve its stated policy goals of eliminating achievement gaps and providing equal educational opportunity to all children. Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts, just released by the University of Chicago Press, provides a history, and current status report on these constitutional challenges to financial and other inequities in state education systems, together with recommendations for how successful and long-lasting remedies can be put into place.
In a statement that appears on the back cover of the volume, Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education, states:
Michael Rebell has a brilliant legal mind and a tremendous heart for children, particularly those who have been poorly served by public education. He challenges all of us to think differently, and to do so with a sense of urgency, because our children cannot wait.
Over the past thirty-five years, federal courts have dramatically retreated from actively promoting school desegregation. Rebell argues in this book that state courts have taken up the mantle of promoting the vision of educational equity originally articulated in Brown v. Board of Education. Courts and Kids is the first detailed analysis of why the state courts have taken on this active role and how successful their efforts have been.
While the plaintiffs have won in the majority of these cases, the decisions are often branded “judicial activism”—a stigma that has reduced their impact. To counter the charge, Rebell defends the courts’ authority and responsibility to pursue the goal of educational equity. He envisions their role as being primarily supervisory, and offers innovative recommendations on how the courts can collaborate with the executive and legislative branches to create an effective and truly democratic educational system.
Michael A. Rebell is executive director of the Campaign for Education Equity, executive director of the National Access Network, and professor of law and educational practice at Teachers College, Columbia University, and adjunct professor of law at Columbia Law School. He is the author or coauthor of many books, including Moving Every Child Ahead: From NCLB Hype to Meaningful Educational Opportunity.
Copies of Courts and Kids can currently be ordered directly from the University of Chicago Press at a 20% discount through the following link:
Published Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009