From your required readings, choose on eSupreme Court case or one educational policy pertaining to English language learners. In a 500-750 word essay, discuss the effect that this case of policy has h

76 Kappan December 2015/January 2016 is required in the perfor- mance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces.

It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cul- tural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his en- vironment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is de- nied the opportunity of an education. But in 1973, in San Antonio Independent School District v.

Rodriguez, the Supreme Court held that access to public education was not a consti- tutional right under the U.S.

Constitution. In another case, Chinese- American students with limited English language profi ciency claimed the San Francisco school district’s failure to provide language accommodation and support for them violated the U.S.

Constitution and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Find- ing in favor of the students, in Lau v. Nichols (1974), the Supreme Court focused not on the constitutional question but on the Civil Rights Act.

Congress codifi ed much of the decision shortly thereafter by passing the Equal Educa- tion Opportunities Act. Denying children an education because of the actions of their parents is not legal.

The right to a public educa- tion for those who are not U.S. citizens, legal residents, or living with their parents is not a clear and stable issue.

Children who enter the U.S.

illegally with or without their parents are at the heart of this question. Let’s begin with the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, where the court declared state laws denying access to public schools based on race to be unconstitutional under the Equal Protection clause:

Today education is per- haps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demon- strate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It cratic system of government and . . . the primary vehicle for transmitting the values on which our society rests. . . . In sum, education has a funda- mental role in maintaining the fabric of our society.” The Court noted that, if the state intends to deny such a benefi t, it should have a suffi ciently valid reason. The Court found that denying children an education, not due to their own actions, but the actions of their parents, was not suffi ciently compel- ling to deny children this important public benefi t. In Martinez v. Bynum, 461 U.S. 321 (1983), the U.S.

Supreme Court ruled (8 -1) on another Texas statute intended to close the school- house doors to nonresident children. The student was a U.S. citizen by birth. But, when he was a young child, he and his parents moved to Mexico, where his parents were citizens. When he was eight years old, he returned plyler case In 1982, in Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court held (5-4) that school districts could not deny access to a public education to resident children whose parents had entered the U.S. illegally. The case arose as a challenge to a 1975 Texas statute that withheld state funds from public school districts for expenses related to educating children who had not been legally admit- ted into the U.S. The statute also authorized public school districts to deny enrollment to such children (Tex. Educ.

Code Ann. 21.031). The Court held that access to edu- cation, while not specifi cally a federal constitutional right, was a signifi cant state benefi t.

The Court said education “has a fundamental role in maintaining the fabric of our society” by preparing citizens to participate in a democracy.

“[T]he public schools [are] a most vital civic institution for the preservation of a demo- JUliE UnDERWooD (Julie.

[email protected]) is a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

UNDER THE LAW Supreme Court guards education for undocumented immigrants By JULIE UNDERWOOD Although access to education is not a federal constitutional right, the U.S. Supreme Court said education is still a signifi cant state benefi t and should not be denied to resident children. Comments?

Like PDK at www. V97 N4 77 to Texas to live with his sister and attend public school. He was denied tuition-free admis- sion because of a state statute (Tex. Educ. Code 21.031) that denied tuition-free access to students who were not living with their guardians or par- ents for the primary purpose of accessing an education.

Unlike the statute in Plyler, this statute did not single out undocumented children but was written to apply to all.

The U.S. Supreme Court up- held the statute as a bona fi de residency requirement intend- ed to protect the resources of the local school district. The Court stated, “The provision of primary and secondary education, of course, is one of the most important functions of local government. Absent residence requirements, there can be little doubt that the proper planning and op- eration of the schools would suffer signifi cantly. Thus a district must offer services to all students who reside within its boundaries, unless they are there without the support of their parents or guard- ians solely for the purpose of receiving an education.” other efforts During the 1990s, the education rights of undocu- mented PreK-12 students came into question in several state proposals. California and New York considered state provisions that, con- trary to the holding in Plyler, would have foreclosed access to undocumented students.

The California initiative, Exclusion of Illegal Aliens from Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, was part of the Save Our State propo- sition, passed by California voters in 1994. A federal court issued an injunction against the law in League of United Latin Amer. Citizens v. Wilson in 1995. The litigation was abandoned when Califor- nia elected a new governor, Gray Davis. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a similar provision in 1996 as part of the proposed Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. However, it was removed from the fi nal legislation.

In 1996, a federal statute, the Personal Responsibil- ity and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, passed, precluding undocumented higher education students from applying for federal fi - nancial aid and student loans.

Further, the Illegal Immigra- tion Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act prohibited states from offering in-state tuition to undocumented stu- dents. In response, starting in 2001, legislation has been introduced that would offer undocumented higher educa- tion students conditional residency and access to public higher education on par with other students. The Develop- ment, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act allows undocumented minors of good moral char- acter who were younger than 16 when they entered the country and who have lived in the U.S. for at least fi ve years to have lawful perma- nent resident status upon graduation from high school.

DREAM students also would qualify for federal fi nancial aid and in-state college tu- ition. It has been introduced regularly but Congress has not passed it. Preserving education rights in the current political envi- ronment has been challeng- ing, particularly for undocu- mented students. There are a number of anti-immigration lobbies and associations. The Federation for American Im- migration Reform regularly provides its estimates of the costs of educating undocu- mented children and unac- companied undocumented children in the public schools.

They suggest that these costs are an unreasonable drain on state and local budgets. In this era of declining public education resources, this strategy may appeal to voters, school board members, and administrators. If the cur- rent U.S. Supreme Court was called upon to uphold the 5-4 decision in Plyler, court watchers are uncertain about the outcome. K Coming to America Julie Underwood A friend’s mother once asked me, “Where do your people come from?” I was without a ready answer. My ancestors came from lots of places. I come from a long line of mixed heritage.

My grandparents were all born within the United States. Each story predates Ellis Island. I come from a line of ambiguous family names . . . Underwood, Gilley, Kohlmorgan, Dearth, Bertram, Sims, Arndt, Gold, Hill, Morgan, Deadman. One great-great-grandparent left Eastern Europe during the times when emigration was possible for people of her heritage.

She found her way to the heart of the Midwest. For another great-grandparent, the origin of that branch of the family tree is basically unknown.

My “growing up” family adopted the heritage of Midwesterners.

We are the example of the melting pot — not the kind of melting pot that becomes a stew where the ingredients are readily identifi able but the puree where all the pieces blend to form a new identity.

That mixed heritage is the heart of diversity in our nation. In my opinion, our nation’s racial and ethnic diversity is a great strength. The Gilley family Thanksgiving 1954. Copyright ofPhi Delta Kappan isthe property ofSage Publications, Inc.anditscontent may not becopied oremailed tomultiple sitesorposted toalistserv without thecopyright holder's express writtenpermission. However,usersmayprint, download, oremail articles for individual use.