Kimberly J. Robinson

  • Professor of Law
  • Professor of Education, School of Education and Human Development
  • Professor of Law, Education and Public Policy, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy

Kimberly Jenkins Robinson is a professor at the 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. She is one of the nation’s leading education law experts and speaks throughout the United States about K-20 educational equity, school funding, education and democracy, equal opportunity, civil rights, Title IX and federalism.

Robinson is a prolific scholar who has published two edited books and a diverse array of articles, book chapters and editorials. In 2019, the New York University Press published her edited volume A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy. In the book, Robinson brings 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 book, edited with Professor Charles Ogletree Jr. of Harvard Law School, The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways to Equal Educational Opportunity. In it, scholars analyze the impact of the 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, which held that the U.S. Constitution does not protect a right to education. Scholars also propose innovative federal, state and local reforms for remedying the harms of Rodriguez.

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. She wrote a report published in 2021 by The Learning Policy Institute titled “Education as a Civil Right: Remedying Race-Discrimination and Ensuring a High-Quality Education.” This report analyzes how both federal and state laws fail to protect education as a civil right and recommends how such laws could be reformed to accomplish this goal. In 2022, the Harvard Journal of Legislation published her article “Strengthening the Federal Approach to Educational Equity During the Pandemic.” It examines the educational harms inflicted by the pandemic, critiques the flaws of the federal approach to equity as it responded to the pandemic, and recommends a more impactful federal approach for educational equity for the future.

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 Hogan & Hartson law firm in Washington, D.C. (now Hogan Lovells). She also served as a clerk for Judge James R. Browning of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco. 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.

Robinson is a member of the American Law Institute, a senior research fellow of the Learning Policy Institute and a faculty senior fellow with UVA’s Miller Center. She is a past chair of the Education Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools. Robinson is frequently interviewed by the media and has published editorials in The Hill, Education Week and other news outlets.

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

06/30/2022
06/08/2022
05/26/2022
02/07/2021
01/27/2021
09/01/2020
08/17/2020
Education Law at UVA

Featured Scholarship