Compiled by Jaimie Woo, a Summer 2012 Leadership Conference Education Fund Intern
Racial Profiling Difficult to Prove, Experts Say
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold a key provision of Arizona’s immigration law has faced criticism from opponents. Although the court struck down three provisions that targeted illegal immigrants, the provision that requires officers to check the immigration status of anyone they stop or detain as long as they have “reasonable suspicion” of illegal status still presents many challenges for facing the potential threat of racial profiling. Legal experts warn that these lawsuits take time and are difficult to win. “At least six months or a year,” said David Harris, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. A case against a Maricopa County (Ariz.) sheriff demonstrates the challenges in pursuing lawsuits claiming racial profiling by police officers. Due to the county’s strict immigration enforcement and routine roundups, the Justice Department sued and a group of Latinos filed a separate class-action lawsuit. Although the claims began in 2007-2008, the case is only now scheduled for trial this month.
ACLU Alleges Michigan School District Violated Students’ ‘Right to Learn to Read’
The Washington Post
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) makes an unprecedented case in charging the state of Michigan and a Detroit area school district for their failure to adequately educate children. The ACLU class-action lawsuit says hundreds of students in the Highland Park School District are illiterate, struggle behind grade level, and receive no assistance required by state law. A 1993 Michigan state law requires that public school students who demonstrate low reading proficiency need to be provided with “special assistance.” The most recent state test scores for Highland Park schools show that 65 percent of fourth-graders and 75 percent of seventh-graders were not proficient in reading. Sara Wurfel, press secretary for Gov. Rick Snyder, R. Mich., says the administration is working to address the “long overdue academic crisis.” The lawsuit addresses the nation’s growing concern over early literacy.
‘Looking for Rats in Ratholes’
The New York Times
A federal judge has overturned a provision of the Obama administration’s rules for evaluating career-training programs that receive federal student aid. In an editorial, The New York Times advises the Department of Education to revise regulations that both for-profit and nonprofit career training programs had to meet in order to remain eligible for federal student aid. Along with loan payments and income standards, one of the three requirements obliges 35 percent of graduates to be repaying their loans. The regulation was intended to prevent for-profit schools from burying students with loans that they would never be able to repay. In order to make the industry more accountable, The Times suggests the department return to court and provide a better explanation for the 35 percent threshold. It also encourages the department to reconsider provisions that allow programs to remain eligible for aid.