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Teachers College, Columbia University
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The School Law Institute

JULY 9-13, 2018

About Us

The School Law Institute at Columbia University is a course and national professional-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. Annually for 30 years at Columbia and, before it, Harvard, this five-day summer Institute has provided aspiring, new, and experienced K-12 educators of all kinds, policy makers, researchers, policy analysts, and charter-school professionals (board members, administrators, and teachers) with the knowledge and skills they need both to avoid legal problems and to use the law to advance their most important educational priorities.

Under the guidance of Teachers College Professor of Law and Education Jay Heubert and Massachusetts Department of Education General Counsel and Senior Associate Commissioner Rhoda Schneider, Institute participants enjoy stimulating, informative, varied, and often inspiring learning activities. All draw on the multi-disciplinary perspectives of law, policy, and practice. For each topic we study, we will examine what the law requires and forbids. We will also consider non-legal aspects of sound policy and practice: the educational, administrative, ethical, political, and financial issues that legal disputes typically raise but typically do not resolve. Participants will interact with and learn from an unusually accomplished and diverse group of participants and nationally prominent presenters from around the U.S. and the tri-state area.

This year, the Institute will convene from July 9-13 at Columbia Law School. A required course packet, including up-to-date materials on each topic, will be available for purchase in mid-June. Eighteen 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 is designed to address the needs of aspiring, 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-school educators, researchers, and board members, who are subject to some but not all of the 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 education policy and practice, 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.