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Education Law
West Virginia University School of Law
Taylor, John E.

Education Law Outline
John Taylor
Fall 2015
Standard of Review Chart
Rational Basis
Legitimate state interest that is…
Rationally related.
*Can be hypothesized or ad hoc
Important state interest that is…
Substantially related.
*Needs to be actual – not hypothesized
Strict Scrutiny
Compelling state interest that is…
Narrowly tailored.
*Needs to be actual – not hypothesized
Part I: Equality
Reasons for Education Law:
–        Basic skills
o   Economic sufficiency
o   Democratic citizenship
–        Character education
–        Socialization
–        Create level playing field – social legitimation
–        Safety
–        Social caretaking (food, abusive family situation
–        Locus of the community
Who has authority over education? – the state vs. parents vs. experts (teachers)
Pierce Compromise
Pierce v. Society of the Sisters – Constitutional rights may not be abridged by legislation which has no reasonable relation to some purpose within the competency of the state
–        Reasonable relation = like rational basis review
–        Need rational and reasonable state purpose = legitimate state purpose
The state can require compulsory education but it cannot monopolize it by requiring students to go to public schools.
Constitutional location – 14th Amend. Due Process (substantive)
Modern interpretations – court recognizes the state’s authority to regulate both public and private education, but it also recognizes the interest of parents in controlling their children’s education
–        The state can regulate private schools, but not so pervasively as to make them essentially “public” in all but name
–        Pierce recognized parents’ right to control their children’s education but it has not empowered parents to dictate to the public schools how their kids are to be taught
Brown v. Board of Education – separate is inherently unequal
–        With “all deliberate speed,” but obviously the South didn’t heed this – Gov gets around this by threatening to take away money
–        Opinion is for the desegregation of schools only. However, obviously, this ultimately leads to the desegregation of other facilities as well.
–        No strict scrutiny formula applied in opinion
–        Reasoning: Reliance on social science evidence – to separate students from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority and may affect the child’s motivation to learn
–        Ways to read Brown:
1.      “Color-blindness” – anti-classification reading
2.      “Caste” – anti-subordination reading
Griffin – closing schools to avoid desegregation is unconstitutional
Green – “freedom of choice” plans inadequate; schools have an affirmative obligation to integrate
–        Districts have an affirmative duty to achieve a unitary school system (just saying “we’re no longer actively discriminating” is not enough)
–        6 factors to assess in deciding whether unitary status has been achieved: student attendance patterns, faculty assignments, staff assignments, transportation, school facilities, extra-curriculars
–        Schools should remain under judicial supervision until unitary status is achieved
–        Obligation: do everything practical to end school segregation
De jure segregation – intentional segregation
De facto segregation
Keyes – we need proof of intentional segregation
Keyes presumption = if you can prove [intentional] segregation or discrimination in one aspect of the school district, we’ll give you discrimination for all of the school district – once you have this, Green affirmative duty exists
–        Segregation is only unconstitutional if there is a discriminatory purpose, but courts can presume discrimination in many areas if there is proof of discrimination in one area
Milliken – the scope of the remedial power follows the scope of the wrong
–        This case makes it nearly impossible to prove intentional discrimination in a structure like this one in Detroit (one inner-city district ringed by 53 suburban districts) where we have numerous districts
o   In order to prove intentional discrimination, you must prove conspiracy among the school districts
Interest convergence – the interest of blacks in achieving racial equality will be accommodated only when it converges with the interests of the whites
Era of court-managed desegregation largely at a close now. Courts have “declared victory and gone home.” However, there is considerable evidence that schools are now re-segregating.
Questions being

o subordinate; it matters what you are using race to do; affirmative action is okay
If it’s facially neutral, you must show discriminatory purpose to get strict scrutiny. When racially discriminatory purpose is established, we apply strict scrutiny. However, absent a racially discriminatory purpose, explicit or inferable, on the part of the decisionmaker, the statutory distinction is subject only to rational basis review.
What is a racial classification?
A racial classification occurs only when an action distributes burdens or benefits on the basis of race. A decision maker’s awareness or consideration of race is not racial classification. Designing a policy with racial factors in mind does not constitute a racial classification if the policy is facially neutral and is administered in a race-neutral fashion.
Fisher – A university must make a showing that its plan is narrowly tailored to achieve the only interest that this court has approved in this context: the benefits of a student body diversity that encompasses a broad array of qualifications and characteristics of which racial or ethnic origin is but a single though important element
Poverty – School Finance
Sources of funding:
–        States contribute
–        Federal funding
–        Local taxes
San Antonio – I: (1) Whether the Texas system of financing public education operates to the disadvantage of some suspect class – No; (2) Whether education is a fundamental right – No.
Re I1: Constitutional standard under the Equal Protection Clause is whether the challenged state action rationally further a legitimate state purpose or interest
Equal Protection = rational basis review
State legitimate interest = local control – satisfies rational basis review
Negative rights = keeping the gov from interfering
Positive rights = gov affirmatively supports you/your rights