This was "education week" at the Supreme Court, with the justices hearing cases about student privacy and state obligations to fund programs for English language learners. While the former received most of the attention (it involved the strip search of a thirteen-year-old girl, after all), the latter could have greater implications for education policy. At issue was whether Arizona has done enough under a 1974 federal law to provide opportunities to students learning English. But the deeper issue is whether courts should be in the business of telling legislatures how to spend taxpayer dollars. Chief Justice John Roberts wondered aloud whether a district court could say, "You've got to spend this much money on this program, and I don't care what it means for jails, roads, anything else"? That's a great question; we hope other judges start asking it, too.
"Justices Weigh Arizona ELL Case," by Mark Walsh, The School Law Blog, Edweek.org, April 20, 2009