Symposium To Explore Federal Right to Education

UVA President Jim Ryan ’92, Harvard’s Martha Minow To Moderate Panels
Kimberly Robinson and “A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy”

Kimberly Jenkins Robinson recently edited “A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy.” Photo by Julia Davis, Illustration by Warren Craghead

October 28, 2020

An online symposium to be held at the University of Virginia School of Law on Nov. 9 will explore whether the United States should recognize a federal right to education and what that would look like.

Two panels of scholars and other experts will discuss issues raised by UVA Law professor Kimberly Jenkins Robinson’s new book, “Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy Regarding a Federal Right to Education.” The event kicks off with remarks by Dean Risa L. Goluboff and Robinson, followed by panels moderated by UVA President James E. Ryan ’92 and former Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. The volume, edited by Robinson, includes chapters from leading education scholars, including a foreword by Minow.

In Robinson’s view, federal intervention is a must because states have failed to address the educational opportunity gap for K-12 students.

“We set [children] up for failure, generation after generation,” she said.

Her first book, “The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways to Equal Educational Opportunity,” was co-edited with Harvard Law School professor Charles Ogletree Jr. and published in 2015 by Harvard Education Press.

Robinson is the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor of Law, and a professor of education at the School of Education & Human Development.


Register for Zoom

2 p.m. EST

Panel 1 | Should the United States Recognize a Federal Right to Education?

  • Kristine L. Bowman, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, College of Education, Michigan State University; Professor of Law, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Peggy Cooper Davis, John S. R. Shad Professor of Lawyering and Ethics; Director, Experiential Learning Lab; New York University School of Law
  • Jason P. Nance, University Term Professor, Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; Associate Director for Education Law and Policy, Center on Children and Families; University of Florida Levin College of Law
  • Eloise Pasachoff, Professor of Law, Agnes N. Williams Research Professor, Associate Dean for Careers, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Moderator: James E. Ryan ’92, President, George M. Kaufman Presidential Professor, Professor of Law, Professor of Education, University of Virginia

3 p.m. EST

Panel 2 | How the United States Can Recognize and Define a Right to Education

  • Derek W. Black, Professor of Law, Ernest F. Hollings Chair in Constitutional Law, University of South Carolina School of Law
  • Carmel Martin, Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education; Former Executive Vice President for Policy, Center for American Progress
  • Rachel F. Moran, Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Irvine School of Law
  • Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor of Law, University of Virginia School of Law; Professor of Education, UVA Curry School of Education & Human Development
  • Joshua Weishart, Professor of Law and Policy, West Virginia University College of Law
  • Moderator: Martha Minow, 300th Anniversary University Professor, Harvard Law School

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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