On Friday, January 24, Penn Law’s Journal of Constitutional Law hosted the “Educational Equality and the Constitution in the Twenty-First Century” Symposium. The JCL spent about eight months putting this event together, and had weekly meetings since late October to make sure the symposium ran smoothly. Brandon Harper, the editor-in-chief of the JCL explained that he “wanted to have a relevant and thought provoking discussion on a topic that not only scholars and practitioners would be interested in, but something that would touch our own students here at the law school.”
There were three panels: one discussing Fisher v. University of Texas, one discussing legal challenges in public education, and another discussing economic preferences and the future of affirmative action. The second panel featured Mark Rosenbaum of University of Michigan Law School, David Sciarra of Education Law Center, William Koski of Stanford Law School. Key issues of discussion included educational equity issues for disadvantaged kids, the lack of a national unity in regards to equality in education, racial inclusion and inclusion by class in education, and how to implement quality teachers in all kinds of schools. Audience members included lawyers from the area, law students, and even other kinds of Penn students. One Penn Graduate School of Education student, Naoko Sato, came specifically to the second panel to “hear about education policy in grades K-12,” which was pertinent to her studies. The event and subsequent question and answer session created a dialogue that was well received by both audience members and panelists.
At Penn law today a symposium about education equality and affirmative-action debating Rick Sander this afternoon #placenotrace— Sheryll Cashin (@SheryllCashin) January 24, 2014
“Theres a correlation b/w states doing a better job of funding relative to student needs &their academic performance” David Sciarra #pennlaw— Jillian Gutstein (@JillianGutstei1) January 24, 2014
“We have 50 states of education from a legal construct. The states run this system. We don’t have a national system.” David Sciarra #pennlaw— Jillian Gutstein (@JillianGutstei1) January 24, 2014
“In 2014,60 years after Brown v. Board of Education,we still dont have a vocabulary of equal educational opportunity”Mark Rosenbaum #pennalw— Jillian Gutstein (@JillianGutstei1) January 24, 2014