Education Week - October 16, 2013 - (Page 21)

goVERNMENT & poLITICS Texas Race Flags Education Issues on 2014 Electoral Horizon Democratic hopeful Davis touts topic in declaring run By Andrew Ujifusa Texas Democratic Sen. Wendy Davis’ decision to enter the state’s gubernatorial race in 2014, and the emphasis placed on education in her kick-off speech earlier this month, portends the wealth of elections next year that will test the staying power of education policies pushed by Republican governors following the 2010 race. There are only two gubernatorial elections this year—in Virginia and New Jersey—and no upcoming elections for state superinten- dent. But in 2014, there will be 36 gubernatorial elections. Thirty-one governors are eligible to run for re-election; seven are either term-limited or, like Texas gop Gov. Rick Perry, won’t seek another term. There will also be eight states holding elections for state superintendent. At stake will be a variety of policies affecting education, from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011 overhaul of collective bargaining for public employees including teachers, to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s handling of the financial crisis that has afflicted Philadelphia’s public schools. (Both are Republicans.) Many governors also could find the Common Core State Standards tricky to deal with given opposition in some states, said Maria Ferguson, the executive director of the Center for Education Policy at George Washington University. “Education rears its ugly head in elections in ways that are hard pretty to predict,” she said. K-12 Filibuster Although Ms. Davis burst onto the national scene this year with her filibuster of a Texas bill—subsequently enacted—that places new restrictions on abortion rights, it’s not the first time she single-handedly has attempted to stop legislation favored by Republicans. In 2011, she filibustered a proposed $4 billion reduction in state funds to public education through a change in the state’s school funding formula. She said her filibuster ultimately led to a special session of the legislature to resolve the matter. Ms. Davis, who was elected to the Texas Senate in 2008, highlighted that filibuster in her Oct. 4 campaign announcement, casting it as her attempt to protect the state’s chronically underfunded schools. “Making education a priority creates good jobs for Texans and keeps Texans on top,” she said in her announcement. Although the funding reduction was ultimately approved by lawmakers, Ms. Davis said in a December 2011 interview with The Texas Politics Project, an information hub on state government hosted by the University of Texas at Austin, that her filibuster led to the PAGE 26 > School-Related Cases Factor in Supreme Court’s First Week Back By Mark Walsh Evan Vucci/AP The government shutdown did nothing to keep the U.S. Supreme Court from opening its term on schedule last week, with the justices turning away several significant education appeals and hearing arguments in two cases being watched by school groups. The high court and lower federal courts are operating on the judicial branch’s pool of money collected from court fees. The courts were expecting to be able to continue through at least mid-October, which means the Supreme Court should be able to hear arguments this week in a major case about Michigan’s state constitutional prohibition on the consideration of race in education. (See Education Week, Oct. 2, 2013.) On Oct. 7, the justices dealt with the many appeals that had piled up over the summer, turning away, among others, cases involving police drug-detection dog “sniffs” of student backpacks, the participation of school resource officers in questioning of students, and student religious speech at a graduation ceremony. All were declined without comment. Drug-Sniffing Dogs In the dog-sniff case, the justices declined to hear the appeal of a Missouri family who challenged a 2010 operation by sheriff ’s deputies at Central High School in Springfield, Mo. Students in some classrooms were required to exit the room but leave behind their purses and backpacks. The deputies then ushered in a drug-sniffing dog. A student identified as C.M. and his parents challenged the procedure as an illegal seizure under the Fourth Amendment. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, in St. Louis, earlier this year unanimously upheld the action of the school district and the sheriff’s department, including because there was substantial evidence of a drug problem in the district’s schools. In the appeal to the Supreme The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013-2014 term opened last week, despite the federal government shutdown. The justices rejected appeals in cases concerning drug-detection dogs in schools and student religious speech, among others involving education. They also heard arguments in campaignfinance and agediscrimination cases being watched by educators. Court in Burlison v. Springfield Public Schools (Case No. 12-1423), C.M. and his parents said the dogsniffing procedure subjects students to a “police state environment instead of a nurturing place conducive to learning.” Questioning Students In another case involving law-enforcement tactics in the schools, the court declined to take up an appeal involving whether a student is in police custody when he is questioned by a school administrator in the presence of a school resource officer about misconduct. The Kentucky Supreme Court ruled 4-3 in April that a high school student’s statements to an assistant principal about giving prescription pills to other students had to be suppressed in a criminal proceeding because the student had not been given a Miranda warning. In addition to facing school discipline, the student was charged with felony possession and dispensing of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. The Kentucky high court’s decision overturned that conviction. The state’s appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court in Kentucky v. N.C. (No. 13-123) was joined by the National School Boards Association and its Kentucky affiliate. They argued that the decision threatens school safety and discipline because there are many times when the questioning of students by an administrator with the involvement of a school resource officer could end up as either a matter of school discipline or criminal law. And in the area of religion in the public schools, the justices declined to hear an appeal on behalf of a New York state 8th grader who was barred by school administrators from concluding her graduation speech at a public middle school with a Christian blessing. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City, ruled in January that because the Taconic Hills Central School District directed the graduation ceremony and reviewed student speeches, the inclusion of the student’s Christian message might reasonably be perceived as endorsement of religion by the middle school. The student’s appeal in A.M. v. Taconic Hills Central School District PAGE 26 > EDUCATION WEEK | October 16, 2013 | | 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - October 16, 2013

Sequester May Linger, Some Fear
Parent-Sparked Charter Faces Challenge to Deliver
Pa. Texting Furor Shows Difficulties Facing IT Leaders
Educators Launch Startups; See Steep Learning Curve
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Teachers Use Social-Emotional Programs to Manage Classes
Ind. Districts, AG File Suit Over Federal Health-Care Law
Hospital Partnership Provides Trainers for School Sports
Mass. Enterprise Targets Inadequate Preschool Facilities
Blogs of the Week
Tablet-Computing Initiatives Suffer Major Setbacks
Charter-Campaign Aftershocks Continue
Texas Race Flags Education Issues On 2014 Electoral Horizon
School-Related Cases Factor in Supreme Court’s First Week Back
Lights On, Nobody There As Ed. Dept. Weathers Shutdown
Blogs of the Week
KEVIN MEUWISSEN: Teachers as Political Actors
ANDRE BENITO MOUNTAIN: Easing Social Studies Through Turbulent Times
JUDY WALLIS: A Call to Teachers: Don’t Forget the Joy
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
DEBORAH STIPEK: Using Accountability to Promote Motivation, Not Undermine It

Education Week - October 16, 2013