NOTE: This course is cross-listed with the Public Affairs (PA) department. Some classes may overlap with the Law School final exam period.
The Supreme Court has famously said that “education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments,” and Americans consistently rank K-12 education as one of the most important issues they want policymakers to address. Yet K-12 education is also one of the nation’s most contentious policy arenas. Education law stands at the center of these policy debates, and in this seminar students will be exposed to the many ways in which K-12 education is shaped by law and policy. Topics to be covered include: the structure of education law and governance; school finance; the interplay of federal, state, and local laws; religion and public schooling; charter schools and school choice vouchers; school boards; segregation; students’ rights; and teachers’ rights and teacher unions. In addition to case law, students will consider policy perspectives on school reform. Several guest speakers are planned, and students will be encouraged to link law and real-world education policy. Students will be required to complete a paper (minimum 25 pages), as well as be active participants in course discussions.