FOR STATES LIKE MARYLAND WITH A HISTORY OF WEAK ENFORCEMENT OF CHURCH AND STATE LAWS ----CITIZENS WILL NOT BE CITIZENS IF THEY ARE LEFT AS CHARITY CASES.
I want to end for now the examples of attacks on the Great Society programs in education by looking at Head Start for pre-school programs and Upward Bound for high school. First, I want to revisit the Federal funding policies for these programs and look at how they are being distorted with this education privatization Race to the Top. First, all money from the Federal government is to go to PUBLIC SCHOOLS. Because this charter school movement with the goal of corporatizing schools openly violates this public requirement for funding-----the Maryland Assembly describes charters as public even though many of the requirements for public schools is not enforced. They simply say they are public and hand them these public funds. THAT IS NOT LEGAL. Creating an entire class of corporate non-profits in the guise of outsourcing all that is public in schools and sending funds to these non-profits is also NOT LEGAL. So all of what Johns Hopkins is doing in moving this privatization scheme forward through its politicians IS NOT LEGAL.
The same goes for the Federal funding for our PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES. No amount of posturing can keep the fact hidden that Maryland policy is making corporations of our public universities done all with Federal funding. So, patenting and E-NNOVATION policies are NOT LEGAL.
For citizens who think Equal Protection and these Great Society programs are only about race and class you need to WAKE UP! The goal of Clinton Wall Street neo-liberals and Bush neo-cons is to make 90% of Americans poor and they are well on their way. So, these laws protect all families and the right to access quality schools. It funded the public community college system and Head Start as public education to augment existing K-12 education. As you see below it heavily funded liberal arts and humanities and it was this boost of funding in the 1960s that gave the largest jump in movement of people in poverty into the middle-class in US history. It was the Reagan/Clinton era that deliberately sought not only to end these advantages but steal through fraud the gains of these generations. Some regions of the US received those funds but through fraud and corruption redirected them to the rich, but that does not mean we want to allow these programs to end----we need to make sure they work as intended.
Anyone familiar with Baltimore City Public Schools knows these schools have not had textbooks, library resources, or classroom support that all of this funding would bring. We have non-profits rebuilding school libraries and lessons online in lieu of textbooks all with internet access becoming more tenuous for the underserved every year.
WHERE DID ALL OF THIS FUNDING GO? WELL, I CAN BET IT STAYED IN THE MARYLAND TREASURY AS DOES ALL AWARDS FOR THE LOW-INCOME CITIZENS NO DOUBT SUBSIDIZING MASSIVE CORPORATE FRAUD!
Sections of the Original 1965 Act
- Title I—Financial Assistance To Local Educational Agencies For The Education Of Children Of Low-Income Families
- Title II—School Library Resources, Textbooks, and other Instructional Materials
- Title III—Supplementary Educational Centers and Services
- Title IV—Educational Research And Training
- Title V—Grants To Strengthen State Departments Of Education
- Title VI—General Provisions
2008 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School Logo 1966 amendments (Public Law 89-750)
- Title VI - Aid to Handicapped Children (1965 title VI becomes Title VII)
- Title VII - Bilingual Education Programs (1966 title VII becomes Title VIII)
The Maryland Assembly and Baltimore City Hall are dedicated to seeing an end to these Great Society programs and do so by simply ignoring the laws. Rule of Law and Equal Protection does not allow this.
When the Maryland Assembly simply refuses to pay a judgement from the court for violation of these education laws they are in contempt of court and should go to jail until they vote for this funding. We saw a good fight for those funds end with no one taking this next step. Correcting these illegal actions helps all of Baltimore City families as this money will upgrade all schools and improve quality of life for all. Don't be led to feel the need to deny one group thinking everyone will not be affected.
LBJ and MLK Great Society programs----
The most important educational component of the Great Society was the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, designed by Commissioner of Education Francis Keppel. It was signed into law on April 11, 1965, less than three months after it was introduced. It ended a long-standing political taboo by providing significant federal aid to public education, initially allotting more than $1 billion to help schools purchase materials and start special education programs to schools with a high concentration of low-income children. During its first year of operation, the Act authorized a $1.1 billion program of grants to states, for allocations to school districts with large numbers of children of low income families, funds to use community facilities for education within the entire community, funds to improve educational research and to strengthen state departments of education, and grants for purchase of books and library materials. The Act also established Head Start, which had originally been started by the Office of Economic Opportunity as an eight-week summer program, as a permanent program.
The Higher Education Facilities Act of 1963, which was signed into law by Johnson a month after becoming president authorized several times more college aid within a five-year period than had been appropriated under the Land Grant College in a century. It provided better college libraries, ten to twenty new graduate centers, several new technical institutes, classrooms for several hundred thousand students, and twenty-five to thirty new community colleges a year.
This major piece of legislation was followed by the Higher Education Act of 1965, which increased federal money given to universities, created scholarships and low-interest loans for students, and established a national Teacher Corps to provide teachers to poverty-stricken areas of the United States. The Act also began a transition from federally funded institutional assistance to individual student aid.
In 1964, basic improvements in the National Defense Education Act were achieved, and total funds available to educational institutions were increased. The yearly limit on loans to graduate and professional students was raised from $1,000 to $2,500, and the aggregate limit was raised from $5,000 to $10,000. The program was extended to include geography, history, reading, English, and civics, and guidance and counselling programs were extended to elementary and public junior high schools.
The Bilingual Education Act of 1968 offered federal aid to local school districts in assisting them to address the needs of children with limited English-speaking ability until it expired in 2002.
The Great Society programs also provided support for postgraduate clinical training for both nurses and physicians committed to work with disadvantaged patients in rural and urban health clinics.
Wall Street wants to send what are hundreds of billions of dollars in Federal funding for public education to corporations and to do that they are creating corporate non-profits that are generally national corporate chain operations getting large sectors of our public school funding. Now, as we read these laws we know that the funding is intended for public services and universities with some local non-profit participation but what is happening in Baltimore is that all of this Federal funding is going to a separate system of corporate non-profits as the public schools are simply becoming teaching to the test with an ever narrow focus. That was not and is not the intent of these programs. The intent was to enrich a child's education experience not to have to compete and search for these programs no longer attached to their public schools.
Below you see Obama and Clinton neo-liberals again used limited funding and competition to control what these programs included and where they would be located. This is not the definition of equal opportunity and access.
Here is Historically Black College Morgan State University offering Upward Bound only to first-generation, low-income students----clearly a violation of Federal law. Hagerstown does the same. UMES does not discriminate. This is the problem for Maryland not having any oversight and accountability of any government programs---citizens are exposed to systemic violations of Equal Protection.
'The mission of the MSU Upward Bound Program is to provide first-generation, low-income high school students with access to postsecondary education as full participants'.
The mission of University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) Upward Bound Program is to provide 100 eligible students the skills and motivation to enroll in and successfully complete postsecondary education. Special concern will be given in enrolling and serving higher risk academic students.
Upward Bound provides college preparation to students between the ages of 13 and 19, as well as older veterans, who live at or below 150% of the federal poverty level where their chances of earning a bachelor's degree are nearly nine times less than those of their peers in the top family-income bracket.
The program was launched in 1965, after the enactment of the Higher Education Act of 1965. It has an annual budget around $250,000,000. Grants are usually made to institutes of higher education (universities), but some awards have been made to other non-profit organizations such as tribal organizations. Each award made averages $4,691 per participant, with the most common award providing $220,000 per grantee in 2004 and $250,000 in 2007. Awards are for four or five years and are competitive. The law providing for Upward Bound is 34 CFR Ch. VI Pt. 645. As federal education grants, Upward Bound awards fall under EDGAR and OMB Circular A-21 financial guidelines.
The Head Start Program is a program of the United States Department of Health and Human Services that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. The program's services and resources are designed to foster stable family relationships, enhance children's physical and emotional well-being, and establish an environment to develop strong cognitive skills. The transition from preschool to elementary school imposes diverse developmental challenges that include requiring the children to engage successfully with their peers outside of the family network, adjust to the space of a classroom, and meet the expectations the school setting provides.
If you look at the competitive nature of what was a broad social package for underserved students is now the same Math/Science as permeates the Race to the Top teach to the test reforms. So, Obama is again making all Federal funding about advancing only skills for the workplace. You will not find many parents and students not tired and frustrated with this single focus. Remember the goals of Race to the Top----it seeks to create the same competitive vocational tracking system as in China where parents and children are exhausted with constant competition AND HATE IT.
As I tell my politicians every time I can-----all of America's captains of industry through the 1900s graduated from public K-12 and public universities with a broad and deep curricula of study and they were the best in the world. So, none of this is necessary. They are doing it to end the idea of public good and rights as citizens and building the autocratic structures of China that make people desperate to win.
NEO-LIBERALISM IS DEAD FOLKS----STOP ALLOWING THESE GLOBAL POLS TO CONTINUE WITH POLICIES THAT FAILED.
Whether Upward Bound or Head Start it was the establishment of basic learning skills and social skills as the top goal-----it was not the constant beating of math and science. All studies show that this approach does nothing to improve skills. It is just done to narrow information exposure.
'The program's services and resources are designed to foster stable family relationships, enhance children's physical and emotional well-being, and establish an environment to develop strong cognitive skills'
Upward Bound and Upward Bound Math-Science Programs
Annual Performance Report for Program Year 2013-14
APR Deadline: December 31, 2014
- Letter to UB and UBMS Project Directors, November 2014
- General Instructions for the Upward Bound and UB Math-Science Programs' Annual Performance Report 2013-14:
MS Word (257K) | PDF (514K)
- Sections I and II (project identifying information, competitive preference priorities, and record structure):
MS Word (251K) | PDF (834K)
- Policies and Procedures for Prior Experience (PE) Assessments -- Appendix to UB-UBMS APR:
MS Word (103K) | PDF (465K)
As you see all of the emphasis suddenly on math and science with consequences has a very harsh effect on students with a history of public schools with no funding and resources. It takes time and different approaches. That is not what this reform is about. As the article below states drop-out rates are growing ----in Maryland the stats are juked to always show things are great---but all over the nation we are seeing detrimental effects. These guidelines on use of War on Poverty funding are the source. These students need and want strong math and science but none to all is not the solution. Making it harder without skills development beforehand was what Maryland teachers have been shouting against from inception.
Unintended consequences: More high school math, science linked to more dropouts
- July 31, 2014 By Jim Dryden
- As math and science requirements for high school graduation have become more rigorous, dropout rates across the United States have risen, according to research at Washington University in St. Louis. The tougher requirements appear to have had a major effect on high school graduation rates of Hispanic and African-American males.
As U.S. high schools beef up math and science requirements for graduation, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found that more rigorous academics drive some students to drop out.
The research team reported in the June/July issue of the journal Educational Researcher that policies increasing the number of required high school math and science courses are linked to higher dropout rates.
“There’s been a movement to make education in the United States compare more favorably to education in the rest of the world, and part of that has involved increasing math and science graduation requirements,” explained first author Andrew D. Plunk, PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine.
“There was an expectation that this was going to be good for students, but the evidence from our analyses suggests that many students ended up dropping out when school was made harder for them,” he added.
Studying census data going back to 1990, the researchers showed that the U.S. dropout rate rose to a high of 11.4 percent when students were required to take six math and science courses, compared with 8.6 percent for students who needed fewer math and science courses to graduate. Results also varied by gender, race and ethnicity with the dropout rate for some groups increasing by as much as 5 percentage points.
Plunk and his colleagues studied census data that tracks educational attainment. The researchers compared the performance of students in states with more rigorous math and science requirements to students in states where these requirements were less stringent.
“As graduation requirements were strengthened, high school dropout rates increased across the whole population,” Plunk said. “But African-Americans and Hispanics were especially affected. I think our findings highlight the need to anticipate there may be unintended consequences, especially when there are broad mandates that, in effect, make high school coursework harder.”
The researchers looked at student outcomes in 44 states where more stringent graduation requirements went into effect during the 1980s and 1990s. They used the data to examine how factors such as sex, race, ethnicity and moving from state to state, together with the tougher requirements, influenced educational attainment.
Among Hispanic males, the dropout rate increased 2.5 percentage points, and among African-American males, the rate rose by 2 points. The overall dropout rate for African-American males was 19 percent on average. But for young African-American males who went to schools in states with the most stringent math and science graduation requirements, the dropout rate rose to 23 percent.
Co-author William F. Tate, PhD, dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and vice provost for graduate education, said that part of the problem with adding math and science courses to requirements for high school graduation was that a significant number of students weren’t prepared to meet the new requirements.
“Many students were ill-prepared for the tougher standards,” said Tate, the Edward Mallinckrodt Distinguished University Professor in Arts & Sciences. “Going forward, state policymakers must understand that students can’t take more math and science courses if they quit school.”
Plunk explained that as a health researcher, he is interested in the effects that higher dropout rates have on public health.
“High school education is very highly correlated with health outcomes,” he said. “Individuals who drop out of high school report more health problems and lower quality of life. Higher dropout rates also can strain the welfare system, which can affect people’s health.”
In addition to measuring dropout rates, the researchers analyzed the effects of math and science graduation requirements on college enrollment and on the likelihood that students would earn college degrees. They found mixed results.
As would be expected, the more high school dropouts, the lower the rate of college enrollment. But among those who did finish high school and go to college, there was good news, particularly for Hispanic students whose families didn’t move frequently to new states or school districts.
“If their families didn’t move frequently and they attended schools with tougher math and science requirements, the likelihood that Hispanic males would earn a college degree of some kind increased more than 6.3 percentage points,” Plunk said. “For Hispanic females, there was an increase of just over 5.3 points.”
Plunk said the study shows that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to educational requirements is not ideal because the effect on various demographic groups, states and school districts is likely to be very different.
What’s certain, he explained, is that when educational policies produce an unintended consequence like larger numbers of dropouts, the effects of those policies reverberate far beyond the classroom. “Communities with higher dropout rates tend to have increased crime,” Plunk said. “Murders are more common. In fact, a previous study estimated that a 1 percent reduction in the country’s high school dropout rate could result in 400 fewer murders and 8,000 fewer assaults per year. Unfortunately, our finding of a 1 percent increase in the dropout rate suggests we are going in the wrong direction.”
This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Washington University Institute for Public Health. NIH grant numbers T32 DA07313 and R01 DA031288.
We are seeing the use of Federal funding to create regional resources that deny access to one area and send funding to another. That is not equal opportunity and access. Having these programs attached to every public school around the nation made this meet the Federal requirements of equal opportunity and access. Why would one city's residents not have these funds while another area would have more? It again is Federal education funding as development tool. Also, if you look at funding for Upward Bound you see an important change-----the funding for CCRAA is included in the total for Upward Bound to hide the fact that there were considerable cuts.
Again, the defunding and narrowing of goals for these programs make them fail to meet the mission and needs of the underserved supposedly receiving these funds. As in Baltimore it appears that these funds are simply going out the door to corporate non-profits that have no oversight and fail to provide the service.
If you restructure your program to meet math and science emphasis you win......
Rather than equal opportunity distribution of funds Obama is basically allowing regions to opt out if they do not want to support these Federal programs.
Upward Bound Programs At Wesleyan, UConn Fail To Win Funding
June 13, 2012|By SHAWN R. BEALS, email@example.com, The Hartford CourantMIDDLETOWN — —
The U.S. Department of Education did not renew funding for the Upward Bound college preparatory programs at Wesleyan University and the University of Connecticut, leaving administrators scrambling to find a way to save them.
Upward Bound helps students from low-income families prepare to attend college through weekly mentoring, tutoring and other services while the students are still in high school. Upward Bound is offered through Wesleyan for students in Middletown, Meriden, New Britain and Portland, and through UConn for students in Hartford, New Haven and Windham.
The program has been in place at both universities for 45 years. In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education contributed $486,215 for Upward Bound at Wesleyan and $284,164 at UConn. The boards of education in districts in which the program is in place supplement the funding.
But neither program scored high enough in a competitive application process to receive funding for the next five years. In a news release, the Department of Education said the expiration of two federal programs meant it would have $49 million less in Upward Bound funding in 2012 than it did in 2011. Total federal funding for 2012 is $254 million.
Four programs – at Western Connecticut State University, Fairfield University, Sacred Heart University and in the Stamford public schools – received funding for 2012.
Sonia Mañjon, vice president of institutional partnerships and chief diversity officer at Wesleyan, said officials are working on maintaining funding for 2012-13 to allow next year's high school seniors to finish the program.
"Those students are the priority right now," Mañjon said. "We have brought them all this way and at this final hour they need this program to make sure their SATs and their college applications and essays are as all in good shape."
Federal education funding for Upward Bound is awarded in five-year cycles, with a competition for funding after each cycle, the education department said. Applications for federal funding are scored based on need, objectives, budget, community support, personnel and planning, and funding is given to the applicants with the highest scores.
Mañjon said 33 students in Wesleyan's Upward Bound program will be seniors next year, and said without funding the community will have to seek other ways to prepare students for college.
"Connecticut has the largest achievement gap in the country," Mañjon said. "What's at risk is that achievement gap getting larger and less of our students being competitive going into college."
Maria Martinez, assistant vice provost at the Institute for Student Success at UConn, said the lack of Upward Bound funding will have a big impact in the school districts UConn works with.
"Upward Bound is a critical program," Martinez said. "There's a lot of successes from the program and it's very well known. There's going to be less opportunity. We've been enduring quite a few budget cuts that in one way or another have had an impact on education in the last several years."
Martinez said UConn officials are also looking for additional funding and other ways to offer some of the program's resources to area students.
"We're still trying to figure out what the response is going to be," she said. "We're not going to let it go that easily."
Education officials in Middletown said they will continue to look for ways to continue Upward Bound in the city's schools.
"This is a travesty for Middletown," said Interim Superintendent David Larson. "This program cannot be allowed to go away. It's too valuable to the children of Middletown."
School board member Ed McKeon said Upward Bound has helped countless students in Middletown to be successful in college. He said some donations have been received already to help continue the program next year, but "the chances are slim the money is going to be recovered for this district or for Hartford."
I always trend on ice when talking education privatization and religious institutions in Baltimore since public schools have been under attack for a few decades with closings and neglect. Any balance that may have been is eroding as we see a coming of corporate national charter corporations vs religious charters neither having anything to do with public education.
Below you see how much of Baltimore's social services end up with religious institutions with Catholic Charities taking much of the Federal funding for education programs. Look as well how Baltimore City has a policy of parents of children attending Head Start needing to 'pay' for these services through volunteering. All of Baltimore's public services funded by state or Federal money seem to require volunteering. Remember, the American people pay taxes and are provided these government programs in return.
Parents of underserved children are already often burdened with having to work more than one job and difficult work schedules so if you are a parent with those limitations are you signing your child up for Head Start? Baltimore is failing to meet the required 20% of matching funding by making citizens pay or sending them to religious institutions. We already have so many schools closed with a growing number of religious schools filling these spaces. We know citizens are having less an opportunity to choose a public vs a religious affiliation for their children.
"The state of New Jersey has an important role to play in providing financial support for institutions of higher learning in our state, but public money should not be used to fund schools that are not open and welcoming to all students in New Jersey," said Udi Ofer, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey. "State funding of higher education should not be done at the expense of the separation of church and state."
These kinds of policies do not meet equal opportunity and access and create right from the start a system of winners and losers. Are children from families having more difficulties not part of equal protection and opportunity? OF COURSE NOT.
THESE PROGRAMS ARE BEING DEFUNDED AND MADE SELECTIVE WITH EVER-GROWING DISPARITY.
Handing public programs over to religious institutions and tying participation to 'payment by volunteering' is a very neo-conservative policy stance as is JOHNS HOPKINS who controls Baltimore City Hall------all those neo-conservative pols running as Democrats! I dare say that in Baltimore the rule of no EXCESSIVE ENTANGLEMENT BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND RELIGION is being broken. I encourage everyone that may think having a pre-K with your church not a bad thing to think where this leads as it expands to more and more of public schooling. We have Catholic Charities and black churches for example providing for all social services and now schooling with the loss of public sector and with that comes as I always say-----the pay-to-play of social services. We have in Baltimore the Baltimore Education Coalition which is basically a privatization group of Johns Hopkins' corporate non-profits and churches.
WHEN THE ONLY PUBLIC CHOICES COME WITH SOME SORT OF ATTACHMENT OF 'PAYING' WHETHER CASH OR TIME THERE IS A LACK OF PUBLIC OPTIONS!
Lemon v. Kurtzman, 91 S. Ct. 2105 (1971)
Established the three part test for determining if an action of government violates First Amendment's separation of church and state:
1) the government action must have a secular purpose;
2) its primary purpose must not be to inhibit or to advance religion;
3) there must be no excessive entanglement between government and religion.
We're now Head Start of Baltimore City
(formerly St. Jerome's Head Start) and we've grown! We are a child and family development program that enables children from low-income families to be better prepared when entering kindergarten, thereby improving the likelihood of their success in school and in life.
Services Available at Catholic Charities Head Start in Baltimore City
Da’shirah and Patrice are happy to see each other and enjoy learning together in Head Start. Children who attend our Head Start programs in Baltimore City participate in a variety of activities in all areas of child development. We offer a learning environment in which children can develop socially, intellectually, physically and emotionally. The Creative Curriculum promotes hands-on learning. A fundamental element of Head Start is providing basic health care for all children. Children and families also receive mental health services through the program and referrals to community-based providers.
Another important part of the program includes the identification and coordination of community resources that address the social, educational, health and economic needs of families. Each child receives at least one hot meal daily. Parents and children also receive hands-on nutrition education.
We offer your child love, acceptance, understanding, the opportunity to learn, and the opportunity to experience success.
Everything that is public sector paid for with taxes residents pay is now volunteer as all of Baltimore's revenue goes to Baltimore Development Corporation and Johns Hopkins. No Federal money for you without working for it and we will keep the difference thank you very much! These Head Start funds come with the expectation of city matching funds. If a Federal contract for development comes those city matching funds are right there------we never see a corporate executive 'volunteering' by trimming the bushes at his subsidized office building for which he probably pays no taxes.
THIS IS DISGRACEFUL!
Baltimore City Head Start
Volunteer with us!
Head Start is FREE. However, we ask parents and the community to “pay” by contributing their time and talents. The donation of your time and talents helps us provide essential services throughout the year while helping us meet our non-federal in-kind match of 20% of our total funding. Here are some ways you can serve:
Work with the Education team to:
- Assist teachers in or out of the classroom
- Read to children as a group or individually
- Work with children on classroom projects
- Chaperone during field trips
- Present to classrooms about your culture, job, or areas of expertise
- Recruit children and families to the program
- Recruit other volunteers
- Participate on the Classroom and Policy Committees
- Speak about Head Start to the community
- Train/present on various topics
- Assist with meal preparation
- Participate in “family style” meals with the children during breakfast and lunch
- Serve on the Health Services Advisory Committee
- Assist with health screenings, ie: height, weight, dental and vision
- Renovate and decorate the Head Start center
- Assist with Landscaping and yard work
- Clean and maintain classrooms and facility
- Observe the environment for safety
- Conduct playground sweeps
- Check and replenish first aid kits
- Monitor the front desk; ie: greet guests, answer incoming calls, mail, etc.
- Provide clerical support; ie: filing, typing, data entry, etc.
- Provide technical expertise, ie: creating charts & graphs, PowerPoint presentations, etc.
- Research and write information for publication, ie: newsletter, website, Flyers, etc.
- Help plan and organize special events, trainings, meetings, etc.
- Participate in annual program self assessment and community assessment.
States are required by the Constitution to provide Equal Protection-----it is a matter of all people having the same protections regardless of income.
Maryland is pretending they do not have to meet equal protection or opportunity and access laws but they do. Do not allow our rights be taken by simple choice to ignore law! Below you see Maryland has a Support Clause that states a person shall not be compelled to any ministry. I understand that Maryland rules narrowly on the issues of Separation of Church and State but we are exceeding the spirit of this law by leaps and bounds. When public schools are closing by the scores and religious charters and after-school programs are the only schools/organizations in communities----then there is no choice.
My organization is going to court to address as many of these issues as possible. We hope winning one will make the long list topple!
Compelled Support Clause“
[N]or ought any person to be compelled to frequent,
or maintain,or contribute, unless on contract, to maintain, any place of worship, or any ministry....
”mArylAnd deCl. of riGHts Art.36.Education Articles“The General Assembly,at its First Session
after the adoption of this Constitution, shall by Law
establish throughout the State a thorough and efficient
System of Free Public Schools; and shall provide by taxation, or otherwise,for their maintenance. ”mArylAnd Const.Art.VIII,§1.
“TheSchool Fund of the State shall be kept inviolate,and appropriated only
to the purposes of Education. ”mArylAnd Const.Art.VIII,§3
Published: 30-01-2012, 11:20
Equal Protection Analysis
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution declares that no state may “deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Adopted in 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to protect African Americans from discrimination by the states in the aftermath of the Civil War. Since its adoption, the Equal Protection Clause has become one of the most important constitutional provisions for the protection of individual rights. In particular, the Equal Protection Clause has been an important concept in the law of public education.
In that context, the courts have invoked the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to prohibit the segregation of school children by race, to bar sex-based discrimination in educational settings, to guarantee access to the public schools by children whose parents are not legal residents, and to protect gay and lesbian students and teachers from discriminatory treatment. This provision has been very important in ensuring equal educational opportunities in the nation’s public schools, as discussed in this entry.
What the Law Says
By its own terms, the Fourteenth Amendment applies only to state and local governments. The Constitution contains no Equal Protection Clause that applies to the federal government. However, to the extent that the federal government classifies persons or groups in a way that would have violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, courts find that they violate the Due Process Clause. The courts rely on the Fifth Amendment when dealing with the federal government, because its application is limited to this context. The Fourteenth Amendment applies to the actions of states. Perhaps the best example of how this distinction plays out occurred in a case that was resolved on the same day that the Supreme Court struck down racial segregation in public schools in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954). In Bolling v. Sharpe (1954), the Court applied the Due Process Clause in the Fifth Amendment, rather than the Equal Protection Clause, to invalidate racial segregation in public schools in Washington, D.C, because it is under the control of the federal government.
Over the years, the U.S. Supreme Court has applied three standards when examining challenges to governmental actions based on the denial of equal protection. Laws that discriminate against “suspect” classifications of individuals or that infringe on fundamental rights are presumptively void and are subjected to strict judicial scrutiny. Such laws can pass constitutional muster only if they can be shown to be narrowly tailored to meet a compelling governmental interest. The Court has declared these classifications to be suspect under the Equal Protection Clause, namely, race, ethnicity, and national origin or being a foreigner.
At the same time, the Supreme Court has recognized certain “quasi-suspect” classifications: laws that discriminate based on sex or laws that draw distinctions between legitimate and illegitimate children. Laws that discriminate against these quasi-suspect classes of individuals are subject to an intermediate level of judicial scrutiny. Such laws are upheld only if they are substantially related to important governmental interests.
Finally, laws that discriminate against individuals based on other kinds of classifications are subjected to only a minimal level of judicial scrutiny. The courts uphold these governmental actions against an equal protection challenge if they are shown to be at least rationally related to legitimate governmental interests.
Cases Involving Race
Undoubtedly, the most important case in the field of education law to apply equal protection analysis is Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954), in which the Supreme Court struck down segregated school systems in four states. The plaintiffs in Brown contended that segregated schools were not “equal” and that African American students were thus deprived of their right to equal protection of the laws. One issue in Brown was the continuing validity of the “separate but equal” doctrine that the Court had adopted in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson. In Plessy, the Court upheld the constitutionality of a Louisiana law that required railroad companies to segregate their passengers by race in so-called separate-but-equal railroad coaches.
In Brown, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the plaintiff schoolchildren and disavowed the “separate but equal” doctrine of Plessy. “We conclude,” the Court wrote, “that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal” (Brown, p. 495). Therefore, the Court continued, African American children who had been segregated by race in the schools had been “deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment” (p. 495).
Since Brown, the Supreme Court has approved of racial classifications in public education in the context of admitting students to a public law school. In Grutter v. Bollinger (2003), the Court ruled that the University of Michigan Law School had a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that come from a racially and ethnically diverse student body and this justified the use of race as one factor among others in the selection of students for admission to the study of law. However, in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 (2007), a divided Court, in a plurality opinion, struck down race-based school assignment plans in two public school systems, finding that educators had not established a compelling interest to justify the use of race as a basis for assigning children to public schools. Unlike Grutter, in which race was but one factor in a holistic approach to choosing law students, the school systems in Parents Involved used race in a nonindividualized and mechanical way as the decisive factor for determining which students gained admittance to schools.
Cases Involving Other Issues
In another landmark opinion, Plyler v. Doe (1982), the Supreme Court relied on the Equal Protection Clause to strike down a Texas law that permitted public school boards to bar the children of undocumented immigrants from attending the state’s public schools. In Plyler, the Court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment prohibited the state of Texas from excluding the children of undocumented immigrants from the public schools. The Court did not think that the state’s categorization of children created a suspect class. Rather, the Court seemed to categorize the excluded children as a “quasi-suspect” class in subjecting the law to heightened scrutiny. To deny “a discrete group of innocent children the free public education that it offers to other children residing within its borders,” the Court wrote, the state of Texas was required to justify that denial “by a showing that it furthers some substantial state interest” (Plyler, p. 230). In the Court’s view, since Texas was unable to show that it had a substantial governmental interest in excluding the children of undocumented immigrants from the public schools, the statute was unconstitutional.
Equal protection analysis has also come into play in disputes about sex-based discrimination in the context of public education. In Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan (1982), for example, a male applicant to a university nursing program filed suit after he was denied admission solely on his gender. Applying a heightened standard of judicial scrutiny, the Supreme Court held that the university’s female-only admission policy could be upheld only when it was substantially related to an important governmental objective. In a divided opinion, the Court rejected the university’s arguments that its single-sex admission policy was justified as a means of compensating for past discrimination against women and ruled that the policy violated the Equal Protection Clause.
In recent years, lower federal courts have utilized the Equal Protection Clause to assist another category of public school students, gay and lesbian students. In a 1996 case, Nabozny v. Podlesny, the Seventh Circuit was of the opinion that a school board could not allow a gay student to be repeatedly harassed by peers at the same time that it protected other students from harassment. In reaching its judgment, the court did not designate gay students as a suspect or quasi-suspect class, which would have subjected school officials to heightened judicial scrutiny for their actions or inaction. Instead, under the most minimal level of scrutiny, the court observed that discrimination against a gay student in such a way was simply not rational. In a 2003 opinion, Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified School District, the Ninth Circuit reached a similar outcome in a dispute that additionally involved allegations that school officials failed to protect gay and lesbian students from harassment by other students.
Federal courts have also relied on the Equal Protection Clause to protect gay and lesbian teachers from discrimination by their public employers. In Weaver v. Nebo School District (1998), for example, a school board chose not to reappoint a female teacher to her position as girls’ volleyball coach after she revealed that she was a lesbian. The teacher sued, and a federal court ordered the board to offer her the chance to regain her coaching position. The court noted that the teacher’s sexual orientation and the community’s negative response to it had provided no rational basis for removing her from the coaching position and that the board had violated her constitutional rights under the Equal Protection Clause.
See also Bolling v. Sharpe; Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka; Grutter v. Bollinger; Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1; Plessy v. Ferguson; Plyler v. Doe
- Bolling v. Sharpe, 344 U.S. 497 (1954).
- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka I, 347 U.S. 483 (1954).
- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka II, 349 U.S. 294 (1955).
- Flores v. Morgan Hill Unified School District, 324 F.3d 1130 (9th Cir. 2003).
- Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003).
- Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, 458 U.S. 718 (1982).
- Nabozny v. Podlesny, 92 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 1996).
- Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, 127 S. Ct. 2738 (2007).
- Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896).
- Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).
- Weaver v. Nebo School District, 29 F. Supp. 2d 1279 (D. Utah 1998).