Thursday, August 8, 2013

Recent scholarship


Michael B. Katz (Penn) and Mike Rose (UCLA), eds.: Public Education Under Siege (Penn Press 2013)

Public Education Under Siege is a new compilation of essays edited by Michael B. Katz, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor Mike Rose at UCLA's Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. The editors describe Public Education Under Siege as an examination of "why public schools are in such difficult straits, why the reigning ideology of school reform is ineffective, and what can be done about it."  The book is broken into three sections, technocratic educational reform; the intersection of education, race, and poverty; and alternatives to modern school reform.

Ashleigh Barnes (Florida): The Docile Body – Disciplining the Category ‘Child’ Through the CRC’s Rights

Abstract excerpt: While the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has been extensively analyzed since its inception and the category ‘child’ has been critiqued for even longer, it seems the critiques made about the category ‘child’ continue to have limited purchase regarding the CRC’s construction of the category ‘child’. This article critiques the CRC’s articulation of the category ‘child’, the taken for granted/self-evident assumption that children are fundamentally different from adults, and that this ‘difference’ justifies their differential and submissive positioning in relation to adults under the banner of children’s rights. It seeks to examine the vision of the ‘child’ articulated in the CRC by employing a postmodern deconstructionist analysis, which draws heavily on Michel Foucault and Judith Butler.  This article argues that through its vision of the ‘child’ as developing and ‘in care’, the CRC makes possible the regulation and control of childhood. ... The islands of ‘care’ and ‘education’ become the means through which the CRC’s normative childhood characterized by vulnerability and dependency, is enforced and produced. Vulnerability and dependency not only become markers of childhood, but also become firmly rooted norms about childhood. As such, children’s rights remain firmly rooted in notions of paternalism and protectionism opposed to participation.

Kristi L. Bowman (Michigan State): State Takeovers of School Districts and Related Litigation: Michigan as a Case Study

Abstract: In 2011, Michigan changed its emergency financial manager statute drastically, extending the authority of an manager over the local government she or he manages and giving the governor substantially more autonomy when selecting the individuals whose new title, "emergency managers," reflected that their authority was no longer limited to financial matters. These changes gained national attention. Michigan citizens’ resistance and challenges to the state’s new emergency manager statute were substantial, sometimes taking place in courtrooms and, in November, 2012, at the ballot box. At the time of publication, Michigan enacted yet another emergency manager statute, and although that statue curtails emergency mangers’ authority in some respects, it retains many of its predecessor’s shortcomings. The question of the proper role of a state in school districts’ fiscal crises is an important one. Like Michigan, numerous states have been grappling with that question — Indiana, Missouri, and Rhode Island, for example. Accordingly, learning about what has been happening in Michigan provides an exceptional opportunity for legislators, attorneys, academics, and advocates from across the country to reflect on how their own states should assist school districts in fiscal crisis, and when state intervention goes too far.

Edward J. Larson (Pepperdine): Teaching Creation, Evolution, and the New Atheism in 21st Century America: Window on an Evolving Establishment Clause, 82 Miss. L.J. 997 (2013).

Excerpt from the introduction: The legal controversy over teaching creation and evolution in American public schools has generated a steady stream of ever-shifting fact patterns affecting the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution’s Establishment Clause. Decades before the Supreme Court faced such hot-button issues as religious instruction in public schools, release time for religious instruction, posting the Ten Commandments in classrooms, official school prayer, and moments of silence, courts grappled with the role of religion in public education in the context of restrictions on teaching evolution in public school. This Article explores [an] emerging third phase of the creation-evolution controversy, examining (1) how disclaimer lawsuits have impacted the interpretation of secular purpose; (2) the constitutionality of so-called academic freedom statutes; and (3) emerging limits on anti-creationist official acts.

Mariela Olivares (Howard): Renewing the Dream: Dream Act Redux and Immigration Reform (Harv. Latino L. Rev.)

Excerpt from the abstract: This Article explores two areas of current immigration reform — the DREAM Act and the employment-based visa system — and notes parallels between the two communities of targeted beneficiaries. Through this discussion linking the DREAM Act beneficiaries (or “DREAMers”) to areas of high-skilled employment and entrepreneurism immigration visa reform, this Article argues that supporters of the DREAM Act should adopt a new strategy in lobbying and passing the DREAM Act. Because relying on the innocence and good character of the DREAMers has not proven a successful strategy to get the DREAM Act passed into law despite eleven years of effort, this Article asserts that DREAM Act advocates should look to the ongoing employment-based visa reform movement and re-brand DREAM Act beneficiaries as highly-skilled and talented potential Americans who are already contributing to American society. Although scholars and commentators have done significant work in making compelling arguments for the DREAM Act’s passage, this Article provides a completely unique strategy to pass the DREAM Act.


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