Category Archives: Education

New Article: “Separate and Unequal: The Dimensions and Consequences of Safety Net Decentralization in the U.S. 1994-2014”

New Article: Sarah K. Bruch, Marcia K. Meyers, Janet C. Gornick, “Separate and Unequal: The Dimensions and Consequences of Safety Net Decentralization in the U.S. 1994-2014,” Institute for Research on Poverty (Aug. 2016).

In this paper, we examine the dimensions and consequences of decentralized social safety net policies. We consider the adequacy of benefits and inclusiveness of receipt for eleven federal-state programs that constitute the core of safety net provision for working age adults and families: cash assistance, food assistance, health insurance, child support, child care, preschool/early education, unemployment insurance, state income taxes, cash assistance work assistance, disability assistance, and housing assistance. In the first part of the paper we examine the extent of cross-state inequality in social provision. We find substantial variation across states; variation that is consistent with policy design differences in state discretion; and at levels equal to or greater than variation across the European countries that have been recognized as having different welfare regimes. In the second section, we turn to an analysis of change over time (1994 to 2014) examining four dimensions of convergence: degree, location of change, direction of change, and scope. We find both decreases (retrenchment) and increases (expansions) of provision, a handful of cases of convergence (decreasing inequality) and divergence (increasing inequality), and a great deal of synchronous change and persistence in the magnitude of cross state inequalities.

News Article: Judge, Citing Inequality, Orders Connecticut to Overhaul Its School System

News Article: Elizabeth A. Harris, “Judge, Citing Inequality, Orders Connecticut to Overhaul Its School System,” New York Times, Sept. 7, 2016.

New Article: “Employment Rights in the Platform Economy: Getting Back to Basics”

New Article: Brishen Rogers, Employment Rights in the Platform Economy: Getting Back to Basics, 10 Harv. L. & Pol’y Rev. 479 (2016).

The employment status of workers for “platform economy” firms such as Uber, Lyft, TaskRabbit and Handy has become a significant legal and political issue. Lawsuits against several such companies allege that they have misclassified workers as independent contractors to evade employment law obligations. Various lawmakers and commentators, pointing to the complexity of existing tests for employment and the costs of employment duties, have responded with proposals to limit platform companies’ liability. This article steps into such debates, using the status of Uber drivers as a test case. It argues that Uber drivers may not fall neatly into either the “employee” or the “independent contractor” category under existing tests. Nevertheless, an important principle underlying those tests — the anti-domination principle — strongly indicates that the drivers are employees. That principle also indicates that proposals to limit platform economy firms’ liabilities are premature at best and misguided at worst.

 

News Coverage: “A Question About Friends Reveals a Lot About Class Divides”

News Coverage: Damon Darlin, “A Question About Friends Reveals a Lot About Class Divides,” New York Times, Sept. 1, 2016.

New Articles: “Recent Trends in Income, Racial, and Ethnic School Readiness Gaps at Kindergarten Entry” & “Overview: Socioeconomic Gaps in Early Childhood Experiences, 1998 to 2010”

New Articles: Sean F. Reardon & Ximena A. Portilla, “Recent Trends in Income, Racial, and Ethnic School Readiness Gaps at Kindergarten Entry” & Daphna Bassok et al., “Overview: Socioeconomic Gaps in Early Childhood Experiences, 1998 to 2010

New Book: “The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases”

Poverty Canon CoverI am excited to announce that The Poverty Law Canon: Exploring the Major Cases (Marie Failinger & Ezra Rosser eds., Univ. of Michigan Press, 2016) is now published and available through both the Michigan Press website and Amazon, etc (the library edition is $95 and the paperback is $39.95).

I have a bit more to say about this book, below, but first I want to highlight the contents of the book.  The book came out of a 2013 conference and features a great group of contributors as can be seen from the chapter list:

 

Introduction – Ezra Rosser

Part I: Victories

When Paupers Became People: Edwards v. California (1941) – Clare Pastore

Remaking the “Law of the Poor”: Williams v. Walker-Thomas Furniture Co. (1965)  – Anne Fleming

Sylvester Smith, Unlikely Heroine: King v. Smith (1968) – Henry Freedman

Legal Services Attorneys and Migrant Advocates Join Forces: Shapiro v. Thompson (1969)  – Elisa Alvarez Minoff

Dignity and Passion: Goldberg v. Kelly (1970) – Melanie B. Abbott

Litigating in the Zeitgeist: Rosado v. Wyman (1970) – Wendy A. Bach

Part II: Losses

A Sweeping Refusal of Equal Protection: Dandridge v. Williams (1970) – Julie A. Nice

Privacy as a Luxury Not for the Poor: Wyman v. James (1971) – Michele Estrin Gilman

A Tragedy of Two Americas: Jefferson v. Hackney (1972) – Marie A. Failinger

Denying the Poor Access to Court: United States v. Kras (1973) – Henry Rose

“The Poor People Have Lost Again”: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez (1973) – Camille Walsh

Part III: The Modern Era

Reflecting and Foreshadowing: Mathews v. Eldridge (1976) – John J. Capowski

Chronicle of a Debt Foretold: Zablocki v. Red Hail (1978) – Tonya L. Brito, R. Kirk Anderson, and Monica Wedgewood

The Movement for a Right to Counsel in Civil Cases: Turner v. Rogers (2011) – Kelly Terry

Public Housing as Housing of Last Resort: Department of Housing and Urban Development v. Rucker (2002) – Nestor M. Davidson

 

As with any effort to put together a list of important cases, there are cases that arguably should have been included and/or excluded; the chapters represent a combination of the importance of the cases and the interests of the contributors.  But I hope this book will be of interest to those interested in poverty or poverty law in the United States.

“The contributors include some of the best academics who write and teach about poverty. The back stories of these cases are multidimensionally interesting—the clients, the legal strategies, the lawyers themselves, the historical and political context, the effect on the law, the backstage of the Supreme Court and the role of the law clerks.” – Peter Edelman

As one of the editors, I want to thank Michigan Press for taking a chance on this book, Marie Failinger for being such a great co-editor, and all the contributors for their patience as this book made its slow way from idea to something that can be picked up.


I want to end on a personal note.  I see The Poverty Law Canon as being closely related to the Juliet Brodie, Clare Pastore, Ezra Rosser & Jeff Selbin, Poverty Law, Policy, and Practice (2014) in that both are efforts to think through and share the connection between poverty and law in a manner that hopefully will appeal to scholars and students.  The books are linked in my mind, and not only because of the work involved.  I dedicated my role on the textbook to my late father-in-law, Mario Castro, and my part of the dedication page of The Poverty Law Canon reads:

To my students and to my colleagues and mentors at American University Washington College of Law, especially Susan Bennett, Claudio Grossman, and Ira Robbins. It is a privilege to get to teach and write in your company.

Thanks for putting up with this long aside, now buy your copy and tell your librarian to do the same!  =)

News Coverage: “From living in cars to UC Davis — one student’s journey”

News Coverage: Joy Resmovits, From living in cars to UC Davis — one student’s journey, L.A. Times, June 27, 2016.

News Coverage: “For Detroit’s Children, More School Choice but Not Better Schools”

News Coverage: Kate Zernike, For Detroit’s Children, More School Choice but Not Better Schools, N.Y. Times, June 28, 2016 [long and good feature article].

Op-Ed: “If Education Is The Cure For Poverty, Then How Do We Make The Antidote?”

Op-Ed: Brad L. Brasseur, “If Education Is The Cure For Poverty, Then How Do We Make The Antidote?

News Coverage: “House Proposes $9M For Teachers In High Poverty Districts”

News Coverage: “House Proposes $9M For Teachers In High Poverty Districts