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April 21: Federal commission studying education finance disparity

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  • 04-21-2011
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IDEA Director or Research and Policy to provide testimony before the U.S. Education Department's Equity and Excellence Commission

The U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission will host a town hall meeting today in San Jose to examine disparities in meaningful educational opportunities for students. 

Prior to the town hall, the commission will hold a hearing which will include testimony from UCLA IDEA. Sophie Fanelli, IDEA director of research and policy, will share findings from the latest Educational Opportunity Report, titled Free Fall: Educational Opportunities in 2011, and discuss another area of research -- Linked Learning.

Established earlier this year, the commission is made up of 27 members from a range of backgrounds, including education, tax, law, government, business and civil rights. Its purpose is to help the federal government increase educational opportunity by improving school funding equity.

The commission, which will hold a series of town halls to gather public input, will examine disparities in educational conditions and opportunities that engender achievement gaps among minorities and low-income students.

Participating in today's town hall are Stephen Chen, commission's executive director, U.S. Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for the Office of Civil Rights within the education department. Presentations will also be made by John Affeldt, managing attorney of the nonprofit Public Advocates and lead counsel in Williams v. California, a class-action lawsuit filed in 2004 alleging that the state and various agencies had failed to adequately provide students--especially those in low-income neighborhoods--with learning materials, qualified teachers and safe and secure environments.

For more information on the Equity and Excellence Commission, visit


Town Hall Information:

WHEN: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight

WHERE:  San Jose City Hall, located at 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose

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