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Judge Who Ordered Texas to Educate Undocumented Students Dies

| 4 Comments

U.S. Senior District Judge William Wayne Justice, who more than a quarter century ago ordered Texas to educate undocumented children, died on Oct. 13, according to an Associated Press story that I just read today (hat tip to Colorin colorado).

After Mexican immigrants filed a lawsuit in Tyler, Texas, in 1977, Judge Justice ordered Texas school districts to provide a free K-12 education for undocumented children. Appeals in the case led to the 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Plyler v. Doe, which ruled that all school districts are obliged to give children who reside in this country a free education, regardless of their immigration status.

In another case affecting children from immigrant families, Judge Justice ruled just last year that Texas had to revamp programs for English-language learners at the secondary level. An appeal by the state to that decision is pending.

Update: The Austin American Statesman published an article this month about Judge Justice's legacy.

4 Comments

Re. Judge Who Ordered Texas to Educate Undocumented Students Dies:

He's going to have an honor escort of undocumented Latino baby angels welcoming him at the pearly gates.

I appreciate Andre's comment. Judge Justice's contributions to the education of English language learners should be recognized and celebrated.

I appreciate what the judge did. This fight is still an uphill battle. Almost all school districts in the Rochester, NY area ask for Birth Certificates and passports on their websites. When people complain, the districts plead ignorance or are openly defiant. The law isn't being followed.

I think that this man's work should be remembered for years to come. The children should not lose a chance at being educated because of documentation issues. This judge was smart enough to know what really mattered.

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