McCarthy Institute focuses on legal challenges facing education

Annual IU School of Education event features co-founder of UCLA Civil Rights Project

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The legal challenges with education reform, student speech and LGBT issues are among the hot topics headlining the 2015 Martha McCarthy Education Law and Policy Institute presented by the Indiana University School of Education on Thursday, June 11. Immediately following the institute will be the 50th annual summer barbecue sponsored by the IU School Administrators Association.

Gary Orfield, co-founder of the UCLA Civil Rights Project, will offer the keynote address. Orfield now co-directs the center, whose mission is to create a new generation of research in social science and law, on the critical issues of civil rights and equal opportunity for racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

“Our keynote from Gary Orfield will offer a perspective from someone with immense expertise in the area of educational equity and civil rights,” said Suzanne Eckes, professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the IU School of Education who helped organize the conference. “I think his talk focused on racial equity will resonate with educational leaders in K-12 public schools, private schools and universities.”

Orfield is a distinguished research professor of education, law, political science and urban planning at UCLA. His research has focused on re-segregating schools on ethnic, racial and socio-economic lines. A frequent source for national media stories on racial inequality, he has also served as an expert witness in several key affirmative action court cases, including Grutter v. Bollinger, in which the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the University of Michigan’s affirmative action admissions policy. His research was also cited in the PICS v. Seattle School District case challenging race as a factor in determining enrollment for public schools.

The sessions will start at the Willkie Auditorium, across the street from the IU School of Education’s Wright Building, at 9:30 a.m. Portions of the day’s events will be at the Wright Building.

The day starts with an overview of hot new school legal issues and topics during the just-completed school year. The session includes Dave Emmert of the Indiana School Boards Association. The breakout sessions include a student speech session with McCarthy and an Indiana education reform session that includes state charter school board representatives and Indiana state Rep. Terry Goodin. After Orfield’s address at 1:45 p.m., a 3:15 p.m. panel will focus on LGBT issues. A student showcase of IU School of Education educational law work and a women’s network session conclude the sessions.

This is the second year the conference carries the name of Martha McCarthy. Organizers renamed the longtime conference in 2013 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 and teacher preparation.

A complete listing of the events is on the conference Web page. Registration is free and available online.