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The School Law Institute

About Us

The School Law Institute at Columbia University is a national education program available for graduate credit, on a non-credit basis, and in some states for continuing education credits.

The Institute brings to Teachers College a diverse collection of the nation’s leading authorities on education law, policy, and practice.  It explores significant recent developments in school law and their impact on policy and practice at the federal, state, district, and school levels. For over 25 years at Harvard and Columbia, this five-day summer Institute has provided policy analysts, policy makers, researchers, new and career educators, and charter-school professionals (board members, administrators, and teachers) with the knowledge and skills they need to advance their educational agendas and minimize legal problems.

Under the guidance of Teachers College Professor of Law and Education Jay Heubert and Massachusetts Department of Education General Counsel Rhoda Schneider, Institute participants enjoy stimulating, informative, and often inspiring conversations that draw on the multi-disciplinary perspectives of law, policy, and practice.  Participants learn from an unusually diverse and interesting group of peers, including: scholars, policy analysts, school administrators, teachers, policymakers, advocates, and lawyers from around the U.S. and the tri-state area.

In 2017, the Institute will convene from July 10-14 in comfortable, air-conditioned conference space at Columbia Law School. Ninety-minute sessions will include presentations, large group discussions, small-group work, case studies, and simulations. Faculty will be available to talk with participants throughout the week. Frequent refreshment breaks will provide additional opportunities to continue discussions begun in class.  

Who Should Attend?

The Institute addresses the needs and explores the perspectives of policy makers, policy analysts, advocates, attorneys, journalists, and graduate students interested in public K-12 education.

It also addresses the interests and needs of new and career practitioners in public education: building- and district-level administrators, school board members, education-department personnel, guidance counselors, union representatives, teachers and guidance counselors, special education and bilingual/ESL staff, journalists, school lawyers, and advocates interested in public education.  It focuses on traditional public schools as well as on charter schools, which are subject to many of the same federal and state laws that apply to traditional public schools.

Participants may earn three graduate credits through Teachers College whether or not they are TC degree candidates. They may also be eligible for continuing education credits. New York participants are not eligible for continuing legal education credits, but legal professionals from other states may be.

Participants can expect to...

  • Acquire up-to-date knowledge on a variety of significant new developments and trends in school law;
  • Discuss the relationships between law and educational policy, including the ethical, educational, administrative, political, and financial questions that frequently accompany legal disputes; and
  • Consider strategies for advancing core educational objectives, avoiding unnecessary legal problems, and promoting sound educational decision-making.