LAW 282

Education Law & Policy

Constitutional & Public Law, Critical Race Studies, Public Interest Law

For more than a century, law and the legal system have played a major role in the shaping of public education in the United States.  Repeatedly in that history lawmakers, teachers, students and their families have grappled with the question of the appropriate role of government in education, of the proper and/or most effective means by which change in education is effected, and of the best policies to promote equality of opportunity.  This class will examine the development of education law and policy. Topics to be covered include: equity in access to education and the disparate, adverse effects of educational policy choices - especially those made in response to the pandemic - on students who belong to groups historically denied or afforded only limited access to educational opportunity; the purposes of public education and the balance between the rights of parents and family to control the education experience, on the one hand, and the authority of the state to ensure that the purposes of public education are achieved, on the other; and students’ rights to freedom of expression and the tension between those rights and the need for school administrators to maintain a safe learning environment.

Access to a quality education will be examined by analyzing disputes arising at every stage of the education process, from issues regarding practices that may engender a “school-to-prison pipeline” to ongoing debates over race-conscious policies, K-12 teacher tenure, school sports, the unmet needs of English language learners, the misuse of the special education system, the impact of the burgeoning charter school movement, and the implementation of the new federal "Every Student Succeeds" Act.

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