Can Schools Sue the State Legislature? YEP!

An Editorial by Anthony Dallmann-Jones, Editor of, and contributor to, Fixing Public Education [See image below]

This story just broke in District Administration magazine, a periodical that goes to 65,000 educational administrators in the USA. Read it then think on the implications. My thoughts are below the encapsulated piece from DA.

Arizona schools win $1.6 billion in court fight with state
by Matthew Zalaznick on Fri, 07/11/2014 – 2:26pm
Monday, July 14, 2014 azcentral.com

Arizona’s public schools are due an additional $317 million in funding for the coming budget year, a court ruled Friday,
a decision that could cost the state an extra $1.6 billion over the next five years.

But the court left undecided Friday the fate of $1.3 billion in back payments that schools argue they’re due for unpaid costs related to inflation.

The ruling comes after the state Supreme Court last year ruled the Legislature failed to honor the direction voters gave in 2000, when they approved a ballot measure calling for annual inflation adjustments to the school-funding formula.

Read more » http://www.districtadministration.com/news/arizona-schools-win-16-billion-court-fight-state [You will have to sign up, but no cost and if you subscribe you will stay current about the national scene in education. It is a good professional mag.

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An Editorial Opinion from Dr. Anthony Dallmann-Jones of the JEM Group:

Arizona has landmarked a big one! The schools of the state have unified in not only instituting a suit against the state legislature but also WINNING one. This is a huge precedent! Think on this a minute: Has Arizona succeeded in accomplishing a valuable example for other concerned state school groups? Can state schools unite on other causes, say, ones that would eliminate the legislature’s hold on dictating curriculum? Or standards? Or high-stakes testing? Or restoring bargaining rights?

There has been a lot of complaining across the country of how the states – those with Republican governors in particular, have decimated the power base of educators to hold the state accountable for making deleterious decisions about something they know little about: Classrooms.

I encourage state school organizations to begin investigating the possibilities of bringing suit to prevent legislatures from meddling in curriculum and teachers’ rights…a power they never should have had in the first place. It has been a slippery slope, a creeping menace – this invasion of classrooms by politicians…particularly those politicians who have corporate connections with big businesses who not only have a vested commercial – and sometimes exploitative – interest, regardless of what is best for students.

In the same vein, and as a supplementary investigation, links between these politicians and corporations who invest heavily in their “re-election campaigns” should be researched. Might be interesting to see what really drives some educational decisions by state legislators.

Teachers know what is best for kids much better than congressional representatives. As Lynn Stoddard, one of the authors of FIXING PUBLIC EDUCATION, stated, “Sitting in a seat for 12 years does not make you an expert on education.”
Thanks for reading,

Anthony Dallmann-Jones, PhD, Editor and Contributor

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