EDPA 5016 Educational Equality: the Role of Law
This multidisciplinary survey course explores significant recent developments in public K-12 education law, policy, and practice. It covers many issues that are now the focus of polarized national debates. The class will include students from Teachers College, Columbia Law School, and other Columbia University graduate schools. Current and aspiring practitioners are welcome, as are policy analysts, researchers, policy makers, and advocates.
Topics include: (1) growing inequality and segregation based on race, national origin, and socioeconomic status; (2) promoting racial and ethnic diversity and redressing discrimination after Parents Involved and Fisher II; (3) DACA, immigration, and educational programs for English learners; (4) special education and other supports for students with disabilities; (5) discrimination and harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, national origin, religion, and disability; (6) evidence on how choice measures – charter schools, voucher programs, tax supports for private-school tuition – may reduce or promote racial or socioeconomic inequality and stratification; (7) school-finance reform and the legal right to an adequate education; (8) discrepancies in school discipline and the school-to-prison pipeline; (9) high-stakes testing and accountability, including the recently enacted ESSA and testing for tracking, promotion, and graduation; and (10) discrimination in education-related sectors such as housing, credit, and employment.
The course will be multidisciplinary, drawing on sources in law, social science, policy, and education practice. We will consider how to avoid unnecessary litigation and, equally important, how to use the law to advance important educational values and objectives.