The 1982 U. S. Supreme Court case of Plyler v. Doe, which made it possible for undocumented children to enroll in Texas public schools, was a watershed moment for immigrant rights in the United States. The Court struck down both a state statute denying funding for education to undocumented children and a municipal school district's attempt to charge an annual $1,000 tuition fee for each undocumented student to compensate for the lost state funding. Yet while this case has not returned to the Supreme Court, it is frequently contested at the state and local level.
In No Undocumented Child Left Behind, Michael A. Olivas tells a fascinating history of the landmark case, examining how, 30 years later, Plyler v. Doe continues to suffer from implementation issues and requires additional litigation and vigilance to enforce the ruling. He takes a comprehensive look at the legal regime it established regarding the education of undocumented school children, moves up through its implementation, including direct and indirect attacks on it, and closes with the ongoing, highly charged debates over the Development, Relief, and Education for Minors (DREAM) Act, which aims to give conditional citizenship to undocumented college students who graduated from US high schools and have been in the country for at least five years.
Listen to Michael Olivas on WYPF 88.1 FM
, as he takes a look back 30 years to the Supreme Court case that made it possible for undocumented children to enroll in public schools and the highly-charged political and legal battles that have ensued.
1 Why Plyler Matters
2 The Story of Plyler v. Doe: The Education of Undocumented Children and the Polity
3 The Implementation of Plyler v. Doe
4 The Political Economy of the DREAM Act and the Legislative Process: Doe Goes to College
5 Conclusion: The Discourse and the Danger (or, Why Plyler Should Have Been Decided on Preemption Grounds)
About the Author
"No Undocumented Child Left Behind is without doubt a valuable book. The book makes an important stride... a well-written, crisp narrative about a past Supreme Court case that remains in effect in the present."-Luis F.B. Plascencia,Latino Studies
"Olivas makes a technical legal argument with an appeal to both compassion and common sense."-Zocalo Public Square
"Olivas presents an overview of the political, educational and legislative context of the Plyercase in a clear and concise manner, and starts each chapter with a short story or testimony to engage and connect with readers, while remaining rigorous, focused on the topic and well-documented."-Language Policy
"Provocative and wise, Michael Olivas’s important book challenges all of us to carefully consider how our nation’s core values are reflected both in the way we educate immigrant children and treat noncitizens in our midst. Authored by one of the nation’s foremost experts on immigrant education, this definitive study will be the starting point for any informed inquiry into contemporary debates on education and immigration. It will, as well, provide many an insight into the complicated politics that surround immigration policy in our federalist system.” -Victor C. Romero,author of Alienated: Immigrant Rights, the Constitution, and Equality in America
"Highly readable, relevant, and well documented."-Library Journal
“Michael Olivas is a passionate storyteller who knows the saga of Plyler v. Doe first-hand and skillfully recounts an important chapter in the history of immigration law and the Constitution.” -Peter Schuck,co-editor of Understanding America: The Anatomy of an Exceptional Nation
"University of Houston law professor Michael A. Oliva's brief book on the 1982 Supreme Court case decision, Plyer v. Doe, which ruled a Texas provision that allowed school districts to charge tuition to undocumented schoolchildren was unconstitutional, is a fascinating legal analysis of the effect of the decision and how it has withstood legal challenges in the thirty years since the high court handed down the decision." -Jon Reyhner,Southwestern Historical Quarterly
"Highly readable, relevant, and well documented."-Nancy Almand,Social Sciences
"Prominent legal scholar Michael Olivas provides...informed and insightful commentary on the complex nature of immigration, education, and the collision of these two highly charged issues."-The Review of Higher Education