Addressing Texas Court Cases

2. Essay – Write an essay, no less than four (4) pages long, double-spaced, that is articulate, well-organized, and grammatically correct (the essay must follow the rules of grammar — be sure to use paragraphs). Use 11 pitch (font size), Times New Roman or Arial font.

Submit your well-developed, well-reasoned, grammatically-correct essay to me at Charles.Chapman@UTRGV.edu no later than Thursday evening at 6:00 PM on October 31, 2019. It must be in a Microsoft Word format. No pdf should be submitted. Simply send me an email with your essay attached as a Microsoft Word document.

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In your own words (but using proper grammar), analyze and address the following:

San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1 (1973), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court held that San Antonio Independent School District’s financing system, which was based on local property taxes, was not an unconstitutional violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause.

The original lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court in San Antonio, Texas. Read https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jrrht to find out more about the lawsuit and what the federal district court decided.

The decision of the federal judges in the district court was appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Read the majority opinion written by Justice Lewis Powell, Jr. at https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/411/1#.

In 1984, a lawsuit was filed in Travis County on behalf of the Edgewood Independent School District, San Antonio, citing discrimination against students in poor school districts. The plaintiffs charged that the state’s methods of funding public schools violated at least four principles of the state constitution, which obligated the state legislature to provide an efficient and free public school system. The defendant in the case was the Texas Commissioner of Education William Kirby. The lawsuit was entitled Edgewood Independent School District et al. v. Kirby et al. Read https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jre02 about Edgewood Independent School District et al. v. Kirby et al.

Read the 2005 Texas Monthly article entitled: “The Equity Myth” at https://www.texasmonthly.com/politics/the-equity-myth/. Then read the 2012 Texas Monthly article entitled “Class Warfare” at https://www.texasmonthly.com/articles/class-warfare/.
Also read: “A look at educational inequality in Texas” in The Texas Tribune at https://www.tribtalk.org/2018/01/29/a-look-at-educational-inequality-in-texas/.

Since Rodriguez, litigation in Texas (especially Edgewood Independent School District et al. v. Kirby et al.) and action by the Texas Legislature have increased awareness of the importance of financial fairness in education. Much can be learned from these efforts, and it is clear that neither fairness nor adequacy alone is enough. Looking forward, Texas must develop a funding system that concentrates on quality and outcomes. The Texas public school finance system should be progressive and student-centered. Texas must set clear expectations/clear standards, correct funding and programming to be compatible with these standards, and recognize the extra support that disadvantaged students need in terms of effective programs.

After you have completed the readings, provide your well-thought out answers to these questions in four full pages:

1. What did the federal district court judges in the San Antonio federal court decide in San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez?

2. What did the Supreme Court decide in the San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez case?

3. What did the Texas Supreme Court decide in Edgewood Independent School District et al. v. Kirby et al.?
4. Based on your reading of “The Equity Myth”, what is that “myth”? Discuss whether the public school education that a student receives at Westlake High School in the Eanes Independent School District in Austin, Texas equals the public school education that a student receives at a Brownsville, Texas high school? (Read about the Eanes ISD at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eanes_Independent_School_District). (Read about Brownsville ISD at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownsville_Independent_School_District).

5. Regarding the diverse quality of public school education in Texas, is there an “education war” between the Texas upper class and upper middle class versus the lower middle class and the poor in Texas? In answering this question, consider that a child from a wealthy Texas family possibly will receive a better education (in quality) than a child from a poor Texas family.

6. Should we strive for in Texas to create a public school system that equally educates the children of the wealthy and the children of the poor?

7. In your own words, should Texans want equal, fair, and effective public school education? If your answer is “yes”, then explain why. If your answer is “no”, then explain why. Provide your thoughtful opinion.

Again, submit your essay to me at Charles.Chapman@UTRGV.edu no later than Thursday evening at 6:00 PM on October 31, 2019. It must be in a Microsoft Word format. No pdf should be submitted. Do not use the OneDrive feature.

Before you start writing your essay, first do the reading of the articles mentioned above. I want your opinion, but I want your educated opinion — not some seat-of-the-pants comments by you, based on nothing more than your own biases or prejudices. If you don’t read the articles and instead you submit an essay filled with nothing more than your guesses, “feelings”, and prejudices, the grade you will receive for such an essay will be devastating for your course grade. I want you to engage in critical thinking and critical writing. If you are unsure about your writing ability, you might want to make use of the services available at the UTRGV Writing Center.

Your essay should be no less than four (4) full pages long. Although your essay must be at least four (4) full pages, please do not submit more than five pages. You do not need to provide citations to any sources that you may have read to develop your thinking regarding the issues mentioned above. I want your essay to be composed of your own original, critical thinking—not a regurgitation of what others have said.

As always, plagiarism will result in an “F” grade on the essay and dismissal from the course—either by you voluntarily dropping the course or your plagiarism being presented to the Dean of Students along with me dropping you from the course.

The essay will be graded on a letter basis by me, using the A, B, C, D, F designations as determined by me, at my discretion. An “A” on the essay will be a 95, a “B” will be an 85, a “C” will be a “75”, and a “D” will be a “65”. Anything below a “D” will be a “zero” (0). I will integrate the letter grade you receive with the numerical scores you receive on the five tests. Your final course grade will be a letter grade: A, B, C, D, or F.

You will not receive the essay back from me. Since it may contain private personal information from you, your essay will be shredded (if I print it) or deleted from my computer (if I just read it after opening it from your email) after the essay has been graded and the grade recorded.

You are required to answer the questions above so that I can assess your comprehension of the material related to the questions, and, as I said, your ability to think and write critically.

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