Kimberly J. Robinson

  • Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor of Law
  • Professor of Education, Curry School of Education
  • Professor of Law, Education and Public Policy, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Kimberly Jenkins Robinson is the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law as well as a professor at both the School of Education and Human Development, and the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. She is an expert who speaks throughout the United States about K-20 educational equity, equal opportunity, civil rights and federalism.

In 2019, the New York University Press published the edited volume “A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy.” In that book, Robinson brought together some of the nation’s leading law and education scholars to examine why the United States should consider recognizing a federal right to education, how the United States could recognize such a right and what the right should guarantee. In 2015, Harvard Education Press published her co-edited book with Professor Charles Ogletree Jr. of Harvard Law School, “The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways to Equal Educational Opportunity.” Contributing scholars analyzed the impact of the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, which held that the Constitution does not protect a right to education. Her scholarship has been published widely in leading journals, including the Harvard Law Review, the Stanford Law & Policy Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the North Carolina Law Review and the Boston College Law Review.  

A member of the American Law Institute, Robinson serves on the advisory boards for both Georgetown University’s Edunomics Lab National Education Resource Database on Schools, and the Gates Foundation’s Intradistrict Resource Inequity Project. 

She is the 2016 recipient of the Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law from the Education Law Association for “Disrupting Education Federalism,” which was published in the Washington University Law Review.

Before Robinson began her career as a professor, she practiced law in the General Counsel’s Office of the U.S. Department of Education and as an education litigation attorney with the law firm Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells). She also served as a clerk for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 

Robinson graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and with a B.A. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia, where she was an Echols Scholar and a recipient of the University Achievement Award.

Education

  • J.D.
    Harvard Law School
    1996
  • B.A.
    University of Virginia
    1992

Forthcoming

Education and the 100-Year Life: The Linchpin for Enjoyment, in Law and the Hundred-Year Life (2023).

Works in Progress

Books

The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways to Equal Educational Opportunity (edited with Charles J. Ogletree), Harvard Education Press (2015).

Book Chapters

Education Federalism: Why It Matters and How the United States Should Restructure It, in The Oxford Handbook of U.S. Education Law, Oxford University Press, 115-134 (2021).
A Congressional Right to Education: Promises, Pitfalls, and Politics, in A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy, NYU Press, 186-207 (2019).
An American Dream Deferred: A Federal Right to Education, in A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy, NYU Press, 327-338 (2019).
The Essential Questions Regarding a Federal Right to Education, in A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy, NYU Press, 1-32 (2019).
A Proposal for Collaborative Enforcement of a Federal Right to Education, in What Is Right for Children? The Competing Paradigms of Religion and Human Rights, Ashgate, 205-228 (2009).
Education, Discrimination in: Overview, in The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion, University of Chicago Press, 295 (2009).

Articles & Reviews

Strengthening Educational Equity through the Federal Response to the Pandemic, 59 Harvard Journal on Legislation 35-100 (2022).
Disrupting Education Federalism, 92 Washington University Law Review 959-1019 (2015).
The High Cost of Education Federalism, 48 Wake Forest Law Review 287-332 (2013).
The Past, Present and Future of Equal Educational Opportunity: A Call for a New Theory of Education Federalism (reviewing Ryan, James E, Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America) 79 University of Chicago Law Review 427-466 (2012).

Reports & Datasets

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

The Hope of Ketanji Brown Jackson's Nomination, Richmond Times-Dispatch (March 24, 2022).
Inequitable Schools Demand a Federal Remedy (with Charles J. Ogletree), 17 Education Next 55 (2017).
Neglecting the Broken Foundation of K-12 Funding (with Charles J. Ogletree), 35 Education Week 26-27 (May 18, 2016).
Brown at 60: The ‘Pay Later’ Approach to U.S. Education, Richmond Times-Dispatch (May 18, 2014).

Current Courses

All Courses

Law, Inequality, and Education Reform
Education Law Survey
Race, Education and Opportunity

 

IN THE NEWS

06/08/2022
05/26/2022
02/07/2021
01/27/2021
09/01/2020
08/17/2020
Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy Regarding a Federal Right to Education

Featured Scholarship