Section Description Provided by Instructor
During the last century, many great barriers to equality and many important efforts to overcome such barriers have involved the law. At a time when more people recognize continuing problems of inequality and discrimination in our society, students in this interdisciplinary survey course will explore and debate important law-based efforts to promote educational equality and consider how experience to date can inform future policy and practice. Topics will include: addressing segregation and concentrated poverty; testing and classification, including the standards movement, the recently reauthorized ESEA, and system accountability; testing that has high stakes for individual students through its use in decisions about student tracking, promotion, and graduation; the needs and rights of English-language learners; school-finance reform and the right to an adequate education; discrimination, harassment, and verbal abuse based on race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability; and how law and policy can help identify and address the needs of students with disabilities.
This course is also offered through Teachers College, and the class will include students who bring to the course perspectives from education, public policy, social-work, and journalism as well as law. The course is different from some CLS courses in that it explores not just the law but also multidisciplinary perspectives grounded in policy, social-science research, theory, and education practice. It is therefore best suited to students who wish to take an interdisciplinary approach to the subject matter.