Friday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Senate Introduces No Child Left Behind Successor, Houston Chronicle

WASHINGTON (AP) — The one-sized-fits-all national requirements of No Child Left Behind would give way to standards that states write for themselves under legislation Senate Democrats announced Tuesday.

The state-by-state approach to education standards is already largely in place in the 37 states that received waivers to the requirements in exchange for customized school improvement plans. The 1,150-page proposal from Senate education committee chairman Tom Harkin would require some of those states to tinker with their improvement plans and force the other remaining states to develop their own reform efforts. Education Secretary Arne Duncan would still have final say over those improvement plans, and schools would still have to measure students’ achievements.

Setting Special Education Plan Without Parent Input Violates IDEA, Court Rules, The School Law Blog – Education Week

Call it the case of the hard-to-schedule meeting with a parent that may cost a school system some $28,000 in private school tuition.

A federal appeals court has ruled that a school district’s failure to include the parent of a special education student in an individualized education plan meeting that changed the student’s school placement was a denial of a free, appropriate public education under federal law.

Georgia Suspends 20 Juvenile Justice Investigators, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner Avery D. Niles announced Thursday the suspension with pay of 20 DJJ investigators, including the Office of Investigation’s former chief investigator. The disciplinary actions come in the wake of a scathing report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics showing Georgia’s juvenile detention facilities had among the highest rates of sexual abuse reports in the country, which prompted Niles to assign an advisory committee to look into the matter.

America’s Tipping Point: Whites to be Minority in Children Under Age 5 by Next Year, Mail Online

For the first time, America’s racial and ethnic minorities now make up about half of the under-5 age group and will be a majority by this year or next.

That’s according to new census numbers that show a faster shift than expected toward a minority-majority, one where whites will be in the minority by 2043.

Perry Celebrates Christmas in June, Houston Chronicle

A rabbi, several Santas and a group of cheerleaders walked into the governor’s office Thursday …

No joke. The group was there to watch Gov. Rick Perry sign into law a bill he said would allow people of all faiths to exchange holiday greetings and display religious scenes and symbols on public school property without fear of being sued.

House Bill 308 by Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, and Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville – dubbed the “Merry Christmas bill” – says a school district may allow students and staff to offer “traditional greetings” associated with winter celebrations, including “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” and “happy holidays.”

Megan Mikutis

About Megan Mikutis

Megan Mikutis is a second year student at the University of Houston Law Center. She graduated from the University of Houston – Clear Lake in 2012 with a B.A. in Literature. While obtaining her undergraduate degree, Megan tutored undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students in writing while working for the University of Houston – Clear Lake Writing Center. This summer, Megan worked for the Center for Children, Law, and Policy and had the opportunity to compose a policy statement discussing the disproportionate representation of Limited English Proficient students in special education. Currently, Megan serves as the President of the Student Bar Association as well as a member of the Hispanic Law Student Association. Megan is most interested in education and special education issues.

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