Texas Senate Approves Bill to Limit Ticketing Youth

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Texas Senate Approves Bill to Limit Ticketing Youth, Education Week

Faced with a documented pattern of teenagers pushed into the criminal justice system for acting out in class, Texas lawmakers on Thursday advanced a measure to start decriminalizing youthful misbehavior.

The Senate unanimously approved a bill that would limit the practice of issuing tickets for minor classroom offenses. The measure, which still must clear the House, would replace misdemeanor citations with counseling referrals and punishments such as community service performed on the school grounds.

“When you have these tickets, you end up having the kids caught up in the system for little violations that should be taken care of in the school,” Sen. Royce West, a Dallas Democrat who wrote the bill, told The Associated Press.

If this bill passes the Texas House, finally schools will be limited in how they deal with children acting out in class. In too many districts, an infraction as small as writing on a school desk is a state jail felony and is treated as so by the school, instead of dealt with inside the school system. When I was little I remember other students having detention, time out, signing the bad book, or suspensions. While children do need to behave in class so that all students may be able to pay attention and learn, schools can implement discipline programs within their walls, instead of taking the easy way out and calling the police.

To learn more on the matter the rest of the article can be found here.

Minorities, Immigration & Educational Policy in the News

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/03/national/03arizona.html?_r=0

Education Week Snippet: “White House Initiative Targets Education for African Americans” by Lesli A. Maxwell.

President Obama signed an executive order to launch the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. The purpose of the initiative is to help high-school and college-bound African Americans by creating “greater access to a complete and competitive education from the time they’re born all through the time they get a career.”

Click here to see full article for a list of the initiative’s specific goals and more information.

U.S. News and World Report Snippet: “States’ DREAM Acts Could Deter High School Dropouts” by Kelsey Sheehy.

“The Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act [or DREAM Act] provides a path to citizenship for undocumented students who entered the U.S. as children if they graduate from high school, earn a GED, or are accepted to or enrolled in college.

However, the newest version of the DREAM Act does not provide federal financial aid to undocumented students, and allows states to choose whether undocumented students qualify for in-state college tuition rates. Thus far, eleven states have opted to enact their own versions of the DREAM Act and allow undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities including: Texas, New York, California, Utah, Washington, Oklahoma, Illinois, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, and Connecticut.

Educational scholars suggest that providing undocumented students with eligibility for in-state tuition rates through the DREAM Act makes college more affordable. Making college a more attainable goal for students will motivate them to stay in school and deter dropouts.

Click here to see the full article for more information.

A Summary of U.S. Supreme Court 2011-12 Term Decisions Affecting Children & Education

Education Week’s “High Court Highlights” of the 2011-12 term, provides a nice recap of the Supreme Court’s high-profile cases that have left implications on public education, juvenile justice, and more.

IMMIGRATION: Arizona v. United States

  • Court upheld a measure requiring police to determine the immigration status of someone they stop, and reasonably suspect to be illegal. This decision left implications as to how courts will rule on states immigration measures such as laws requiring schools to make determinations about the citizenship status of new students.

HEALTH CARE & FEDERAL SPENDING: National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius

  • Court’s struck down the Medicaid Expansion provision of the Affordable Care Act which left implications on how the Court might rule on statutes adopted under Congress’s spending-clause authority. This includes statutes such as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

JUVENILE JUSTICE: Miller v. Alabama

  • Court held that states may not sentence juveniles convicted of murder under the age of 18 to life-without-parole. Rather, trial courts are to take into consideration their “immaturity, impetuosity, and failure to appreciate risks and consequences.”

BROADCAST INDECENCY: Federal Communications Commission v. Fox Television Stations, Inc.

  • Court held that FCC standards restricting broadcasters from airing television content with expletives and brief nudity, during times when children are likely to be in the TV audience, violated the due process rights of broadcasters.

SOCIAL SECURITY & CHILD BENEFITS: Asture v. Capato

  • Given the Court’s decision to uphold the federal definition of “child,” children born through in vitro fertilization are not guaranteed to receive Social Security survivor’s benefits in the event of a parent’s death.

Click here for more of Education Week’s “High Court Highlights” and additional information.