Martha McCarthy Education Law and Policy Institute – The Importance of Legal Literacy to Educational Goals

The role of religion in public schools and new laws passed by the Indiana state legislature were just a few of the topics covered at the School of Education’s annual Martha McCarthy Education Law and Policy Institute held at the Maurer School of Law on May 20. 

Dean Morrone welcomed attendees followed by an opening panel discussion on how legal literacy promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in public educational institutions.  Panelists Suzanne Eckes, Susan S. Engeleiter Professor of Education Law, Policy, & Practice, University of Wisconsin; Ed Darden, Senior Program Officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Laura Fonseca, Director, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, Maurer School of Law; and Jeff Butts, Superintendent, Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township, IN addressed this important issue from administrative, K-12, higher education, scholarly, and policy perspectives.    

Participants then chose from one of five breakout sessions that covered:

  • Indiana education law updates
  • Special education
  • Educator expression
  • Student expression
  • Affirmative action in higher education

Finally, Martha McCarthy, Presidential Professor at Loyola Marymount and Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus at IU, provided the keynote speech on the U.S. Supreme Court pending decisions about religion and public schools.

The Institute was attended by teachers, school leaders, attorneys, education law researchers, and others interested in increasing their legal literacy. Registration was free for all students, faculty, and staff at IU.

A complete listing of the events, presenters, and other IU education law resources are available on the conference website

At the conclusion of the event, Institute coordinators announced upcoming virtual Institute programming: a discussion with University of South Carolina law professor Derek W. Black concerning his recent book Schoolhouse Burning: Public Education and the Assault on American Democracy. IU education law students will participate in a book study and the free event is open to the public to attend.  The virtual discussion will occur on October 20, 2022 at 7:00 pm ET.  Please sign up for updates at the conference website

This is the tenth 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.