Critical topics in education discussed at Martha McCarthy Law and Policy Institute

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Panelists listen to Martha McCarthy, Presidential Professor at Loyola Marymount and Chancellor’s Professor Emerita at IU

Student and teacher protests and recent changes to Indiana’s education law were just a few of the topics discussed at this year’s Martha McCarthy Education Law and Policy Institute.

Teachers, school leaders, attorneys, education law researchers, and others attended the institute, where they engaged in panel discussions and a keynote address by Ken Falk of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana.

“Because IU is a leader in education law, we strive to increase legal literacy in our community and beyond. The institute allows us to do that every year,” said Janet Decker, associate professor in Education and Leadership Policy Studies.

Participants also had an opportunity to learn about a range of education law and policy topics in small groups. A complete listing of the events is on the conference website.

  • Issues that were discussed included:
  • Are education savings accounts changing the school choice paradigm?
  • A year after Hively: Sexual orientation, gender identity, and anti-discrimination law
  • Student walk-outs
  • Teacher strikes/walk-outs
  • Teacher speech on controversial classroom topics
  • How is school choice working out?
  • Indiana education bills from the legislative session: Computer science and diplomas
  • Charter school legislation
  • School policing
  • Indiana legislation on sex education
  • Transgender student access
  • Sexting legislation

Panelists included educational leaders, attorneys, policymakers, and professors, including Martha McCarthy, Presidential Professor at Loyola Marymount and Chancellor’s Professor Emerita at IU.

This is the fifth year that the conference carried the name of Martha McCarthy. Organizers renamed the longtime conference for McCarthy, a faculty member at the IU School of Education from 1975 to 2011 who is nationally recognized as an expert in education law. Her research has covered a variety of education leadership and policy matters, including student engagement, equity in schools, teacher preparation, and religion in schools. In 2018, McCarthy—along with Suzanne Eckes and Janet Decker who are also IU education law scholars—published the 8th edition of Legal Rights of School Leaders, Teachers, and Students.