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Two Supreme Wins for Children

It’s obvious that the failure to pass the repeal of the Affordable Care Act is a win for millions of children. But what you might have missed is that the Supreme Court ruled for kids this week as well.

The Supremes unanimously found federal law (IDEA) requires schools to provide special education services sufficient to allow students to make academic progress. The defendant in the case, a Colorado school district, disagreed.

“I can’t even believe that this is really a question for the court to wrestle with,” Gary Mayerson, a civil rights lawyer and board member of Autism Speaks, told the Washington Post

In their inflammatory argument, the Douglas County School District made the claim that they were obligated only to provide children enrolled in special education a menu of services that offered nothing more than a trivial educational benefit. The Court, however, rebuked the District saying “a student offered an educational program providing merely more than de minimis progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all.”

In a world where the U.S. Secretary of Education is unfamiliar with the IDEA and a U.S. Supreme Court nominee argues in favor of precedent in Education even if it is “de minimis”, we applaud the bipartisan and unanimous ruling of the current U.S. Supreme Court. 

Its uncanny how the Supreme Court’s opinion embodies what plaintiffs in Pennsylvania have been arguing about the method of funding education in Pennsylvania.  The question of whether students have a right to adequate funding for that education is now before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Their decision could be handed down any day. 

While the legislature plays dodge ball with the responsibility for education funding, many of Pennsylvania’s children attend schools that fail to meet academic standards in large measure due to a lack of resources. Federal and state laws are different and circumstances in cases can be wildly dissimilar. But the sentiment and logic of the Supreme Court’s decision is a big win for kids that we hope can be replicated by the impending decision of the PA Supreme Court.  

Two wins in one week is pretty good.  But the fight for a quality education is a battle many students spend an entire 12 years fighting.  The Supreme Court found for children based on a federal statute. The case in Pennsylvania is seeking the court’s assistance to uphold the constitution for our children.  Whether we win in court or not, we us must continue to make the case for quality education. It’s an argument we can’t afford to lose.


Speak your mind about quality pre-K! Join us Tuesday, March 28 and speak directly to your state legislators about how they can support young children and their families.

Contact Shirlee for more info:


“We have to do some soul-searching internally to determine whether or not we are even capable of functioning as a governing body,” Representative Kevin Cramer, Republican of North Dakota, upon the withdrawal of the bill to repeal ACA.



Finally—a party for everyone! Join us May 16th at the new Museum of the American Revolution for PCCY’s Public Citizen of the Year Celebration

Party Party Party!

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“Skills beget skills. Investments today increase the stock of future skills, which in turn increases the return to future investments.” Nobel laureate and economist James Heckman, explaining that the benefits of interventions with young children go beyond immediate results.