Thursday, June 13, 2013
Charter Schools, Vouchers, and the Public Good
I recently had a conversation with an acquaintance about a new school voucher law in our state. He was bullish about the benefits of school choice and had the optimistic perspective that a rising tide lifts all boats. I wish that I had had Derek Black’s new essay, Charter Schools, Vouchers, and the Public Good (Wake Forest Law Review, forthcoming), to refer to during that conversation. (Professor Black is a co-editor of this blog.) Professor Black examines the societal impact of charter schools and the consequences of assigning a vital public function to lightly-regulated independent groups. He reminds us public schools were created to realize the common good of an educated citizenry, and public funding allows us to pool our resources to realize that good. Without careful implementation of charter school programs, those resources will be peeled away to go to schools that may have little commitment to achieving diverse student populations. By cherry-picking students who can boost assessments of a charter school’s efficacy, such schools could exacerbate de facto segregation, isolationism, and inequality. See Professor Black’s essay Charter Schools, Vouchers, and the Public Good here.
Judicial Clarity: Giving Teeth to the Application of Federal Disability Laws in Charter Schools
Another author takes on the issue of charter schools, discussing how a charter school program can “reconcile its mission and limited resources with its obligations under federal disability laws.” Sarah Wieselthier (law clerk to Law Clerk to the Hon. Rachel N. Davidson & the Hon. Edith K. Payne, Superior Court of New Jersey), Judicial Clarity: Giving Teeth to the Application of Federal Disability Laws in Charter Schools, 2013 B.Y.U. Educ. & L.J. 67 (2013). Courts are essential, Wieselthier argues, “to ensure that the rights of students with disabilities are protected when they seek to take advantage of the innovative educational opportunities charter schools afford to their non-disabled peers.”
The Unfinished Journey--Education, Equality, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Revisited
Taunya Lovell Banks (University of Maryland) discusses the critical need for “equally resourced, racially and economically diverse public schools classrooms throughout America,” in The Unfinished Journey--Education, Equality, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Revisited, 58 Vill. L. Rev. 471 (2013). The article reproduces Professor Banks’s Martin Luther King, Jr. lecture in January at Villanova University School of Law. Professor Banks notes the retrenchment of segregation in American education and says that part of that failure is that predominately non-white schools have been abandoned by the upper and the middle class. With these factors still present, the nation cannot realize the potential of Brown v. Bd. of Education.
On “Unease” And “Idealism”: Reflections On Pope Benedict XVI's Educating Young People In Justice And Peace And Its Message For Law Teachers
In her new article Lucia A. Silecchia, (Catholic University, Columbus School of Law) discusses what law teachers can learn from Pope Benedict XVI's 2012 message, Educating Young People in Justice and Peace. On “Unease” And “Idealism”: Reflections On Pope Benedict XVI's Educating Young People In Justice And Peace And Its Message For Law Teachers, 27 Notre Dame J.L. Ethics & Pub. Pol'y 569 (2013).The obligation of teaching, Pope Benedict said, extends "beyond mere imparting of knowledge and toward living a life that offers effective witness to all that which they hope their students will become.” Professor Silecchia applies that message to modern legal education: that law schools should seek more than developing technical ability and instead inculcate values of service and becoming effective witnesses for peace and justice.
School's Out Forever: The Applicability of International Human Rights Law to Major League Baseball Academies in the Dominican Republic
To recruit young prospects to play in the major leagues, Major League Baseball runs educational academies in the Dominican Republic. Those academies are structured to help players assimilate to life in the United States. But, just as in any sport, most aspiring players do not make it to the pros. The many young players left behind can end up returning to a life of poverty in the Dominican Republic without a practical education. Ryan S. Hanlon tackles this issue and the potential application of international human rights law to solve it in his student comment, School's Out Forever: The Applicability of International Human Rights Law to Major League Baseball Academies in the Dominican Republic, 26 Pac. McGeorge Global Bus. & Dev. L.J. 235 (2013)).