This seminar focuses on the growing role of state and federal courts in improving the ability of schools to prepare students for college, the workforce and effective participation as citizens. Students will read court cases, published legal policies regarding education, and proposed legislation related to school reform.
The first part of the seminar addresses the trend of increased litigation involving schools, with an emphasis on alternatives to litigation.
The second part of the seminar examines the opportunities for lawyers to become personally involved in school reform, particularly in the making of national state and local educational policy. Lawyers as school counsel, school administrators, elected officials, volunteers, experts, and concerned parents all play an important role in improving schools.
Students will be expected to write a thoughtful, well-researched legal paper on a contemporary legal problem that schools face. The students' problem-solving skills will be brought to bear on identifying in this paper whether the schools have been presented with real conflicts or perceived conflicts that are based on false choices. Not only is the student expected to carefully describe the legal issues, and apply pertinent legal and scholarly research, this seminar calls on the student to find the right balance between accountability and flexibility, equity and excellence, deference to educators and the court's duty to enforce the laws.