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Fall 2021 Seminar

Education Advocacy and Systemic Change

Required Clinic Component: Education Law Clinic: Externships (3-5 fall clinical credits). This clinic and course are bundled; your enrollment in the clinic will automatically enroll you in this required course.
Additional Co-/Pre-Requisites: None.
By Permission: No.

Add/Drop Deadline: Early drop of August 2, 2021.
LLM Students: International students on F-1 student visas are required to have Curricular Practical Training (CPT) authorization; LL.M. students are not eligible for CPT.

Exam Type: No Exam.

Each student will present a rounds presentation on a relevant topic in system change legal work in education.

Grading for this course will be based on active involvement and preparation for class discussions and a final student rounds presentation on a topic related to the student’s externship work and the role it plays in the organization’s system change effort.

This course will explore a model of system change in education law that involves stakeholders in identifying system problems, understanding their complexity, understanding solutions, and choosing from a variety of strategies to bring about needed improvements in the educational system. The class will focus on pro-active aspects of system change lawyering, that is, the point in time when lawyers and affected stakeholders have identified a problem and must delve into the complex work of determining what solutions will bring about effective change. Overarching learning goals include: 1) preparing students interested in system change in education to analyze the theory of change operating in the organizations and agencies in which they work 2) introducing students to the process of engaging with affected stakeholders to build consensus around the most effective solutions to complex problems; and 3) exploring the array of strategies that lawyers can use to achieve the sought after solutions.

We will apply this model of change to each of the organizations in which students are placed with an eye towards understanding how the students’ work not only fits into the overall system change goals of their organizations but also responds to the broader concerns of the organizations’ stakeholders. Additionally, we will learn from examples of past system change legal efforts, including those that sought to enforce rights in existence and those that turned to the legislature or public opinion to create new rights. Guest speakers will discuss their work with the class, addressing topics such as the role of politics and media, the level and type of community involvement, the legal rights available at the time decisions were made, and what went into the decision of which strategy to choose for addressing the problem. Readings will include original sources, theories of organizational change, and doctrinal background to the system change efforts we explore.