Category Archives: Education

New Article: Public Education Is Vital for Democracy. But It’s Not the Solution to Poverty or Inequality.

New Post: Jennifer C. Berkshire, Public Education Is Vital for Democracy. But It’s Not the Solution to Poverty or Inequality., Jacobin, (March 25, 2023). Excerpt below:

The bipartisan obsession with schooling as an investment in “human capital” in the US since the 1970s has fostered a highly unequal society. We need wide-ranging redistribution to tackle inequality — and to defend public education against right-wing backlash.

I love the poorly educated,” Donald Trump told supporters in Nevada after they helped him notch a decisive win in the state’s 2016 Republican caucuses. The line was typical: dashed off, casually cruel, instantly divisive. And it instantly distinguished Trump from his competitors in both parties. He wasn’t promising his supporters a brighter future, but only if they got more education or retrained for a better job. There was no talk here of “access,” “opportunity,” or “human capital.” Instead, Trump was trashing yet another political norm: the bipartisan consensus, stretching back a half century, that the solution to economic inequality is more and better education.

In his important and timely new book, The Education Myth: How Human Capital Trumped Social Democracy, Jon Shelton chronicles the evolution of that belief, long elevated to the status of common sense. It’s the story of how political elites fell in love with an idea, abandoning a redistributive agenda in favor of education. The result, argues Shelton, has been ever-widening economic inequality and a stark political divide.

New Article: This Penn professor has been offending minorities for years. Will tenure save her?

New Article: Jack Meserve, This Penn professor has been offending minorities for years. Will tenure save her?, Vox, (Feb. 16 2023). Excerpt Below:

At the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, a rare academic event is taking place: The school is attempting to revoke tenure from an endowed professor. Rarer still is the reason. Cases of professors losing tenure are often due to sexual or financial misconduct, but Amy Wax is facing sanction for racist and sexist statements made publicly and privately.

Wax, a lawyer and neurologist who started her career at the solicitor general’s office under Presidents Reagan, H.W. Bush, and Clinton, has become something of a standard-bearer for the right’s war on wokeness — and a confounding case study in the pitched arguments over academic freedom, tenure, and higher education.

New Article: The Impact of Admission Policies on Racial and Socioeconomic Diversity in New Orleans Selective Admission Schools

New Article: Robert A. Garda, The Impact of Admission Policies on Racial and Socioeconomic Diversity in New Orleans Selective Admission Schools, 49(5) Fordham Urban L. J. 1139 (2022). Abstract below:

New Orleans has four schools that determine admission based in part on student performance on academic tests: Lake Forest Charter School, Audubon Charter School, Benjamin Franklin High School and Lusher Charter School. These are among the top performing schools in New Orleans. The racial and socioeconomic composition of these schools is significantly different than the same demographics for the public school population as a whole in New Orleans. Overall, these schools have significantly more white students and significantly less low-income students than the district. Furthermore, there is significant variance in the racial and socioeconomic demographics between these schools. This Essay explores the relationship between the admission practices of these schools and their racial and socioeconomic diversity. It finds that while admission practices partially account for the different demographics, other factors may have a larger impact. It concludes with recommendations to create selective admissions schools that more closely align with the racial and socioeconomic demographics of the school districts these schools serve.

New Book: A Minor Revolution

New Book: Adam Benforado, A Minor Revolution, Penguin Random House (2023). Summary below:

New Article: Families Struggle as Pandemic Program Offering Free School Meals Ends

New Article: Linda Qiu, Families Struggle as Pandemic Program Offering Free School Meals Ends, N.Y. Times, (Jan 2023). Excerpt below:

A federal benefit guaranteeing free school meals to millions more students has expired as food prices have risen. Many families are feeling the pinch.

Like other parents, April Vazquez, a school nutrition specialist in Sioux Falls, S.D., is cutting coupons, buying in bulk and forgoing outings and restaurant meals. Still, a hot lunch in the school cafeteria for her three children is now a treat she has to carefully plan in her budget.

The expiration of waivers that guaranteed free school meals for nearly 30 million students across the United States during the pandemic has meant that families like Ms. Vazquez’s who earn just over the income threshold no longer qualify for a federal program allowing children to eat at no cost.

ABA Human Rights Magazine issue on “Wealth Disparities in Civil Rights”

ABANew ABA Human Rights Magazine issue on “Wealth Disparities in Civil Rights” (Jan. 2023)

  • Introduction by Ezra Rosser
  • Barriers to Racial Wealth Equality by Dr. Regina S. Baker & Dr. Fenaba R. Addo
  • The Contemporary Relevance of Historic Black Land Loss by Dr. Dania V. Francis, Grieve Chelwa, Dr. Darrick Hamilton, Thomas W. Mitchell, Nathan A. Rosenberg, and Bryce Wilson Stucki
  • Abortion Out of Reach: The Exacerbation of Wealth Disparities After Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization by Elizabeth B. Harned & Liza Fuentes
  • Federal Policies Trap Tribes in Poverty by Adam Crepelle
  • America’s Vast Pay Inequality is a Story of Unequal Power by David Cooper & Lawrence Mishel
  • Inequality and Inadequate School Funding by Stephen J. Wermiel
  • Unsupported: Underinvestment in the Care Economy Drives Gender and Racial Wealth Gaps by Amy Royce & Amy Matsui
  • Freedom of Choice for Low-Income Renters Still Elusive as States and Cities Scramble to Confront Housing Voucher Discrimination by Gary Rhoades
  • Pandemic Tax Relief Pummels Child Poverty: Time to Make it Permanent by Francine J. Lipman
  • Reparations can Mitigate Wealth Inequity by Keeshea Turner Roberts
  • Curbing Predatory Lending by James J. Pierson
  • Human Rights Hero: Bishop William J. Barber II by Juan R. Thomas

-A personal thank you to Francine Lipman and Stephen Wermiel for the invitation to right the introduction.

New Article: The Once and Future Promise of Religious Schools for Poor and Minority Students

New Article: Michael Bindas, The Once and Future Promise of Religious Schools for Poor and Minority Students, 132 (Forum) Yale Law Journal (2022). Abstract below:

In Carson v. Makin, the Supreme Court provided the bookend to its 2002 decision in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris. Whereas Zelman held that the Establishment Clause permits the inclusion of religious options in educational-choice programs, Carson held that the Free Exercise prohibits their exclusion. Immediately, the public-school establishment decried the decision as a threat to the public-school system, predicting that it would exacerbate inequalities for poor and minority students and even lead to re-segregation. This Essay responds to those claims. It discusses religious schools’ long history of providing educational opportunity to the most disadvantaged and marginalized students, the public-school establishment’s similarly long history of opposing the opportunity that religious schools have provided those students, and the public-school establishment’s complicity in causing, through residence-based school assignment, the very inequalities that have led such students to seek educational opportunity outside the public schools. The Essay concludes by calling on the establishment to end its hostility to religious schools and abolish its own practice of assigning students to public schools based on residence. Carson presents a chance to pursue a new and truly pluralistic approach to education, one that affords opportunity in all types of schools, whether public or private, religious or nonreligious. The public-school establishment should embrace that possibility if it is truly concerned for the interests of the students it purports to serve.

New Article: A Brief Reflection on the Doctrinal Entrenchment of Inequality: Brach v. Newsom

New Article: Jonathan D. Glater, A Brief Reflection on the Doctrinal Entrenchment of Inequality: Brach v. Newsom, Cal. L. Rev (2022). Introduction below:

In spring 2020, many parents of children in California schools closed during the global pandemic had had enough. A group filed a lawsuit challenging the executive orders requiring compliance with state public health directives that in turn mandated the shuttering of schools. The parents asserted that the closures violated rights protected by the Fourteenth Amendment, the Civil Rights Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The trial court judge sua sponte granted summary judgment to the defendants. On appeal, a panel of the Ninth Circuit reversed the trial court’s decision with respect to the parents of children who attended private schools and upheld it with respect to the parents of children who attended public school. Put slightly differently, a majority of the three-judge panel recognized compelling constitutional interests in education for the parents likely to be more privileged—because of their ability to pay for private education—and denied such protection to parents whose children attended public schools. It is perhaps no wonder that as of this writing, the case is headed for en banc review.

New Book: Trapped In a Maze

New Book: Leslie Paik, Trapped in a Maze How Social Control Institutions Drive Family Poverty and Inequality, UC Press (2021). About below:

Trapped in a Maze provides a window into families’ lived experiences in poverty by looking at their complex interactions with institutions such as welfare, hospitals, courts, housing, and schools. Families are more intertwined with institutions than ever as they struggle to maintain their eligibility for services and face the possibility that involvement with one institution could trigger other types of institutional oversight. Many poor families find themselves trapped in a multi-institutional maze, stuck in between several systems with no clear path to resolution. Tracing the complex and often unpredictable journeys of families in this maze, this book reveals how the formal rationality by which these institutions ostensibly operate undercuts what they can actually achieve. And worse, it demonstrates how involvement with multiple institutions can perpetuate the conditions of poverty that these families are fighting to escape.

Leslie Paik is Professor of Sociology at Arizona State University. She is the author of Discretionary Justice: Looking inside a Juvenile Drug Court. 

New Article: Subversive Legal Education: Reformist Steps toward Abolitionist Visions

New Article: Russell G. Pearce, Sarah Medina Camiscoli, Christina John, Aundray Jermaine Archer, Aron Pines, Maryam Salmanova, and Vira Tarnavska, Subversive Legal Education: Reformist Steps toward Abolitionist Visions, 90 Fordham L. Rev. 2089 (2022). Abstract below: 

Exclusivity in legal education divides traditional scholars, students, and impacted communities most disproportionately harmed by the legal education system. While traditional legal scholars tend to embrace traditional legal education, organic jurists—those who are historically excluded from legal education and those who educate themselves and their communities about their legal rights and realities—often reject the inaccessibility of legal education and its power.

This Essay joins a team of community legal writers to imagine a set of principles for subversive legal education. Together, we—formerly incarcerated pro se litigants, paralegals for intergenerational movement lawyering initiatives, first-generation law students and lawyers, persons with years of formal legal expertise, and people who have gained expertise outside of law schools bring together critical insight about the impact of legal education’s exclusivity and the means by which we have worked to expand access necessary for our survival. The Essay explores the frameworks of movement law, Black feminism, and abolition as impacted people look to reclaim experiences and create tools for subversive legal education that teaches that the law belongs to the people and how they themselves can make and change the law.

In Part I, we explore reformist strategies that address the pervasive racism in legal education and the bar admission system while leaving the institutional framework intact. In Part II, we share four case studies of transformative legal tools; these tools work to subvert legal education from a machine that excludes, extracts, and exploits our communities into a mechanism that educates and liberates our communities. In Part III, these case studies illuminate principles that prioritizes access, transparency, and collective design with impacted scholars and communities. This is a first step toward abolition—a radical reimagination of legal education that makes legal knowledge a right, that democratizes legal power, and that recognizes that the production of legal knowledge, teaching, and scholarship must include those whom the law impacts, consistent with the disability rights activism mantra ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’. For us, abolishing the existing structures perpetuating exclusive enclaves in legal education can assist in other abolitionist struggles, such as abolition of the prison industrial complex; these struggles are tied, not siloed from one another.