February 17, 2018
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CCJ 2.306 (Eidman Courtroom)
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Friday's Conference Schedule can be found here.

Panels will be located all day in the Eidman Courtroom.

Note: Teachers can get Continuing Education credit through the State Bar of Texas. Please pre-register with your RSVP.

Saturday, February 17

8:15 – 8:50am: Breakfast for everyone and Registration for Teachers. Location: Jamail Pavilion.

9:00 – 10:30am: Teaching Civic Contestation in Schools. How can and should educators teach controversial issues in schools? This is a perennial question, but one that has heightened salience in these unsettled times. What principles and practices should guide educators’ choices about what to include in the curriculum, and what to leave out as either “too hot to handle” or inappropriate to be treated as something open to debate? How have educators tried to protect themselves or their students when investigating contested topics, and what happens when things go wrong?

Panelists: Curtis Acosta, Dafney Blanca Dabach, Diana Hess

Chair: Randall Kennedy

10:45 – 12:15: Fault Lines in the Constitution. To the extent that the Constitution is taught in middle schools and high schools today, focus is generally placed on two areas: (1) the genius of the Framers in creating a government of divided and balanced powers, and (2) the perfection of the rights accorded to citizens, particularly those embedded in the Bill of Rights. Such anodyne and uncritical approaches to our founding document, however, diminish students' civic capacities. As the panelists will explain, celebratory approaches to teaching the Constitution are both inadequate and inaccurate. Cynthia Levinson and Sanford Levinson, authors of Fault Lines in the Constitution: The Framers, Their Fights, and the Flaws that Affect Us Today, a book for young readers, explain an alternative perspective on the Constitution, focusing on the ways that the structures of our government contribute to dysfunctionalities in American political life. In addition, an educator will provide insights into ways to make civics education more complex and comprehensive.

Panelists: Cynthia Levinson, Sanford Levinson, Aaron Hull, Katherina Payne

Moderator: Meira Levinson

1:30 – 3:00: Schools as Civic Actors. Civic education is traditionally thought of as a subject (like math or science), a set of pedagogies (such as in-class discussion or action civics), or extracurricular learning opportunities (such as student government or debate). But schools also educate civically by modeling civic values and engagement themselves as civic actors. This can prove challenging when teachers, administrators, students, and parents are divided about what their obligations should be. Should schools create “sanctuary campuses” intended to disrupt the school-to-deportation pipeline? How should they respond when students stage school walkouts over civic and political issues, or when students who merely repeat politicians’ statements run afoul of anti-bullying laws? This session will immerse participants in case study discussions about how educators and policy makers are addressing schools’ responsibilities as civic actors in times of upheaval.

Faculty Colloquia Series:
  • Sanford V Levinson
    W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair and Professor of Government, University of Texas
  • Randall Kennedy
  • Meira Levinson
Specific audiences:
  • Texas Law students
  • Prospective students
  • Texas Law alumni
  • Faculty
  • Staff
  • General public

If you need an accommodation to participate in this event, please contact the sponsor listed above or the Texas Law Special Events Office at no later than seven business days prior to the event.