New Article: Joshua E. Weishart, Transcending Equality Versus Adequacy, 66 Stan. L. Rev. 477 (2014). Abstract below:
A debate about whether all children are entitled to an “equal” or an “adequate” education has been waged at the forefront of school finance policy for decades. In an era of budget deficits and harsh cuts in public education, I submit that it is time to move on.
Equality of educational opportunity has been thought to require equal spending per pupil or spending adjusted to the needs of differently situated children. Adequacy has been understood to require a level of spending sufficient to satisfy some absolute, rather than relative, educational threshold. In practice, however, many courts interpreting their states’ constitutional obligations have fused the equality and adequacy theories. Certain federal laws express principles of both doctrines. And gradually, more advocates and scholars have come to endorse hybrid equality-adequacy approaches. Still, the debate persists over seemingly intractable conceptual precepts and their political and legal ramifications.
Tracking the philosophical origins and evolution of equality and adequacy as legal doctrines, I explain the significance of their points of convergence and argue that the few points of divergence are untenable in practice. Equality of educational opportunity should not be interpreted as pursuing equal chances for educational achievement for all children, because that ideal is infeasible. Nor should educational adequacy be interpreted as completely indifferent to objectionable inequalities that can be feasibly curtailed. Properly conceived, equality and adequacy are not merely congruent but reciprocal. That is, children are owed an education that is adequately equal and equally adequate.
Photo Copyright Ezra Rosser 2013
Given that so many law professors come from either Yale or Harvard (or occasionally an elite NYC school), this article might be interesting: Jennifer Gersten, We Don’t Talk About It, Yale Daily News Magazine, Nov. 7, 2013 [about Socio-economic class at Yale].
My own related take, that many of the readers of this blog may have already seen, is in this law review parody.
The new president of Yale, Peter Salovey, also made this topic the focus of his freshman address.
N.Y. Times: Eduardo Porter, In Public Education, Edge Still Goes to Rich, N.Y. Times, Nov. 5, 2013.
New Event from others at my school: Student Debt and Education Justice. March 19, 2013 at American University Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C.
Borrowers owe over $1 trillion in students loans. Default rates top 15% for loans taken to attend for-profit colleges, many of which provide poor educational programs. Students who default on loans—regardless of whether their job prospects improved after enrolling in the course— experience a host of negative consequences, including destroyed credit scores, wage and Social Security garnishments, lost security clearances and a debt burden that cannot be discharged, even in bankruptcy. Defaulting students lose the very economic mobility they sought through post-secondary education. The debt burden cripples low-income communities, undermines access to education, and poses a danger to the larger economy.
The Women and the Law Program’s new Student Debt and Education Justice Project will address the causes and consequences of student debt, particularly for low-income students. Join us for an inaugural panel as we explore how legal regulation and public policy governing higher education and student debt might be reformed or improved so that low-income borrowers are more likely to benefit from, rather than be harmed by, enrolling in institutions of higher education. Speakers include:
- Chris Kirkham, The Huffington Post
- Deanne Loonin, The National Consumer Law Center
- Joseph Mais, The Institute for College Access and Success
- Libby Masiuk, Senate HELP Committee
- Spiros Protopsaltis, Senate HELP Committee
- Tobin Van Ostern, Center for American Progress
For a full program and to register online, click here.
New Article: Derek W. Black, Civil Rights, Charter Schools, and Lessons to be Learned, 64 Fla. L. Rev. 1723 (2013). Abstract below:
Two major structural shifts have occurred in education reform in the past two decades: the decline of civil rights reforms and the rise of charter schools. Courts and policy makers have relegated traditional civil rights reforms that address segregation, poverty, disability, and language barriers to near irrelevance, while charter schools and policies supporting their creation and expansion have rapidly increased and now dominate federal policy. Advocates of traditional civil rights reforms interpret the success of charter schools as a threat to their cause, and, consequently, have fought the expansion of charter schools. This Article argues that the civil rights community has misinterpreted both its own decline and the rise of charter schools. Rather than look for external explanations, civil rights advocates should turn their scrutiny inward. And, rather than attack charter schools, they should learn from them.
New Article: Barry Friedman & Sara Solow, The Federal Right to an Adequate Education, 81 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 92 (2013).
-Thanks to Concurring Opinions for the heads up!
(Bad) Op-Ed of note: Nicholas D. Kristof, Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy, N.Y. Times, Dec. 7, 2012. And here is a response from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The nicest thing that can be said about the op-ed is that it covers a lot of ground . . .