From transgender student rights to DACA, pending court cases could impact the future of public education in the United States.
Days after voters elected new school board members in Houston, the Texas Education Agency announced a state takeover due to Houston ISD’s “inability to address long-standing academic deficiencies.” Plaintiffs sued the state agency for violating the Texas and U. S. constitutions, as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, claiming the takeover decision violated Houston residents’ voting rights based on race and national origin. The takeover would be unprecedented in size if the lawsuit proceeds.
The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the Gloucester County school board after the board set a policy barring transgender student Gavin Grimm from accessing bathrooms aligned with his gender identity. The lawsuit claims that this policy violates Title IX and is unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. Although the Supreme Court was set to hear this case in 2017, it was sent back to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals after the Trump administrator rescinded Obama-era guidance protecting transgender students’ rights under Title IX. There are an increasing number of similar lawsuits happening and may possible lead to an eventual Supreme Court decision addressing the full debate.
When Montana passed a bill offering tax credits to those who donate to private school scholarships, the Department of Revenue then limited the use of the scholarship funds for only non-religious private schools, excluding religious schools as recipients, under the argument that the state’s Blaine Amendment prohibits funding religious schools with state money. The scholarship program was struck down by the Montana Supreme Court, but was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. This case highlights the heated debate of separation of church and state as well as the debate of what public funds can be used for.
This trio of cases is not questioning whether the DACA program should continue, but rather if the Trump administration acted improperly when explaining the reasoning behind ending the program.
From Education Dive:
If the Supreme Court decides the administration lawfully ended the DACA program, the immigration statuses of thousands of educators, students and their families will be on the line.
Education remains one of the most common professions in which DACA recipients work, and approximately 228,000 children age 15 and younger were unauthorized immigrants potentially eligible for the DACA program provided they stayed in school in 2016.