Law and School Reform


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Six Strategies for Promoting Educational Equity

Jay P. Heubert

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Nearly every effort to reform American public education during the past half-century has involved the law. Partnerships and tensions between lawyers, educators, parents, and scholars have never been more central to the future shape and direction of our schools. This powerful book examines six of the most important and controversial school reform initiatives: school desegregation, school finance reform, special education, education of immigrant children, integration of youth services, and enforceable performance mandates. The contributors—leading authorities in the fields of education and law—examine these reform efforts from the perspectives of law, education, research, and practice. The authors trace the evolution of these reform strategies over time. They also explore ways in which lawyers, educators, scholars, and parents, through improved collaboration, and promising new approaches, can promote school reform and educational equity more effectively in the future.

Assuming no special background, this engaging and accessible book has been written for educators, lawyers, policymakers, parents, and all readers concerned with education in America.

Contributors to this volume:

Jay P. Heubert; Gary Orfield; Molly McUsic; Carola and Marcelo Suarez-Orozco; Peter Roos; Thomas Hehir; Sue Gamm; Martin Gerry; Paul Weckstein.

Jay P. Heubert is an associate professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and adjunct professor of law at Columbia Law School.

“It is rare to find a single volume that addresses the complicated legal debates over educational reform in areas such as desegregation, immigrant education, school finance and special education in a manner that is accessible as well as stimulating to students of educational policy at the undergraduate level. The substantive, critical, multidisciplinary, examination of several current policy issues spurred lively, thoughtful discussion in my educational policy seminar.”—Eva Travers, Professor and Chair, Program in Education, Swarthmore College

"I found Law and School Reform helpful in trying to come to grips with the recent history of American public schools. It was as if a light came on for me when I read this book—it’s the first attempt that I know of to assess the huge changes that took place in education from the 50s to the present through the prism of the shifting relationship between the courts, the federal government and the schools. It’s an extremely useful perspective, and it provides a context to better understand the burning issues facing schools today. It also made me appreciative of how much lawyers accomplished in education reform, and why they needed to do it, since so much of the discrimination that hampered minority and women students was a matter of law and official policy. So 'Bravo’ . . . for a real eye-opener!"—Sarah Mondale, director of historical documentary films for PBS and director of the forthcoming "School: The History of American Public Education"

“Heubert should be applauded for his genuine passion for equity, wise selection of interdisciplinary contributors, and his concerted effort to examine systemic consequences of legal decision making.”—Choice

"This is a superb resource for promoting equity in education. Written by the leading authorities in the field, this important volume provides a half dozen powerful strategies for school reform."—Arthur Levine, President, Teachers College, Columbia University

Winner of a 2000 American Educational Studies Association Critics’ Choice Award
ISBN: 9780300082968
Publication Date: April 10, 2000
448 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4