Parental Choice in K-12 Education (SC)

Section 1, Fall 22

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 11/16
Credits: 1
Days* Date Time Room
  • M
  • T
  • W
  • R
  • M
  • T
  • 09/12/2022
  • 09/13/2022
  • 09/14/2022
  • 09/15/2022
  • 09/19/2022
  • 09/20/2022
  • 1800-2000
  • 1800-2000
  • 1800-2000
  • 1800-2000
  • 1800-2000
  • 1800-2000
  • WB129
  • WB129
  • WB129
  • WB129
  • WB129
  • WB129
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

In 1991, a public and private school choice program emerged in Minnesota and Wisconsin, respectively. Thirty-one years later, 44 states and the District of Columbia have a public charter school law that governs the education of 3.4 million students – most of whom are lower-income students of color – and 31 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia have a private school choice law. Each school choice program has received bi-partisan support over the years, although private school choice programs receive more support from republicans compared to democrats. Polling data consistently identify support for both choice models. However, courts have been asked to weigh in on the constitutionality of each school choice program since the 1990s. Most legal challenges to the constitutionality of charter schools have been upheld by state courts. Regarding private school choice programs, the results are mixed. Some state courts have ruled against those programs while others have upheld them. On the federal level, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a voucher program in Cleveland, OH (2002), a tax credit program in Montana (2020), and a tax credit program in Maine on June 21, 2022. Nevertheless, public and private school choice programs remain one of the most contentious issues in K-12 education. Why? Because they raise fundamental questions about the role of schools in a democratic society, social justice vs. market-based principles, separation of church and state, and issues associated with race, gender, and socioeconomic status. With this said, what accounts for the growth of school choice programs? The answers to this question will come from a practitioner’s perspective. In this course, we will examine the following: (1) historical and contemporary controversies surrounding school choice programs; (2) executive, legislative, and judicial decisions that influences school choice; (3) research about the effectiveness and weaknesses of school choice on student outcomes; and (4) the role of interest groups and philanthropy in state and federal school choice politics.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Final Type (if any): None
Description: None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Students will be required to submit a final paper (8-10 pages) via EXPO by noon on October 14.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: Yes
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes: The last class session on Sept. 20th will be taught by UVA Law faculty member, Prof. Kimberly Robinson.

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
ABA Seminar
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Tuesday, September 13, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Thursday, September 22, 11:59 PM