9th Annual Quality Education Conference

Last Updated: July 18, 2009

This article appeared in the July 2009 Rural Policy Matters.

This spring, Rural Trust was again a co-convener of the Quality Education Conference, held in Washington D.C. The 2009 theme, “Strengthening Opportunities to Learn in Challenging Economic Times,” addressed some of the common challenges faced in the current economic crisis by attorneys and advocates whose work relates to finance litigation.
In the opening session, Michael Rebell, Executive Director of the National Access Network, reminded the audience that state constitutional and legislative requirements to provide students with a quality education are not diminished by lower state revenues. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that stimulus funding will only fill 40% of budget holes in states. Rebell encouraged participants to continue their advocacy to ensure equitable and adequate school funding and not rely on stimulus.
Conference sessions included a roundup of state school finance news and a keynote address by the Honorable Terry L. Bullock, the Kansas judge who had jurisdiction over both of the two major school finance cases in his state. One session of note was an analysis of the role of vouchers and charter schools in the work of public school reform.
The conference recognized authors of a forthcoming book, A Quality Education for Every Child: Stories from the Lawyers on the Front Line. The book examines some of the most important school finance and educational equity cases and was authored by attorneys doing work related to the cases. Amanda Adler, Director of the Rural Trust’s Rural Education Finance Center, wrote a chapter for the book on rural states’ lawsuits from the perspective of rural people who were involved in the lawsuits and affected by their outcomes. The book, published by the Institute for Educational Equity and Opportunity, will be released in September.

Read more from the July 2009 Rural Policy Matters.