- California appeals court says state’s teacher tenure law doesn’t violate Equal Protection Clause, similar suits pending in NY, Minn. [ABA Journal, Neal McCluskey/Cato, earlier on Vergara case]
- Maryland to local school district: no, families can’t opt out from standardized tests, we might lose federal funds [Jeremy Bauer-Wolf, Frederick News-Post]
- Teachers fearful as disorder spreads in St. Paul, Minn. schools [Joanne Jacobs, background on feds’ role]
- Somerset County, N.J.: “It’s ‘harassment’ for a sixth-grader to criticize vegetarianism to a vegetarian classmate” [Eugene Volokh]
- UK agency reverses decision to downgrade rating of pre-school for not teaching cultural diversity [Guardian]
- Schools have rules, but only up to a point: “NY moves to allow illegal immigrants to teach in public schools” [Malia Zimmerman, Fox News]
A proposed change in the law school accreditation standards that would lift the ban on students receiving academic credit for paid externships has drawn a lot of comment—and much of the comment is in opposition to lifting the ban.
Under the current standards, law students are barred from receiving both credit and pay for an externship. But the governing council of the ABA Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar has approved for notice and comment a proposal that would eliminate the ban.
Comments on the proposal are here; for a student-eye recounting of the possible advantages of the proposal, scroll (h/t Ilya Somin) to the fifth letter in the series, by Peter Donohue, editor in chief of the George Mason Civil Rights Law Journal.
It is somewhat surprising (in a good way) to find the ABA inviting such a shakeup of the way things are done in legal academia, and less surprising to find many faculty resisting.
Just as other licensed professionals typically have an incentive to resist competition from alternative providers — lawyers to resist the incursions of paralegals, physicians those of RNs and pharmacists, and so forth — so professional educators have an incentive to resist competition from on-the-job training. That helps explain why the organized providers of government-licensed education are so keen to draw and enforce boundaries in this area: nothing for which the student gets paid should count toward obligatory time spent in education. And yet some employers would bid significant sums for the work efforts of lawyers in training, and that compensation in turn could make a dent in the typically high cost of obtaining a law degree. “Any proposed changes will come back to the council for final consideration in March.”
- Constitutional right to teach children in a foreign language: the story of Meyer v. Nebraska, 1922 [Dave Kopel]
- Court to address Indian law issues in three cases this term: right of counsel in tribal courts, conditions of removal from tribal to federal courts, tax authority on former tribal land [Daniel Fisher]
- As constitutional conservatives go, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are at odds on Lochner. Why that’s important [Roger Pilon]
- 2013 Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Shell decision hasn’t killed off Alien Tort cases, especially not in Ninth Circuit [Julian Ku/Opinio Juris on rejection of certiorari in Doe v. Nestle, background John Bellinger/Lawfare]
- Textbook-resale case from 2013 term, Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, is coming back for a ruling on fee award standards in copyright cases [ArsTechnica]
- High court will review federal court’s jurisdiction to resuscitate denied class certification [Microsoft v. Baker, Ninth Circuit ruling; Fisher]
- “Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh: If You Don’t Want To Be Tracked, Turn Off Your Phone” [Motherboard/Vice on stingray surveillance]
More of people’s reading is being done on Facebook these days, yet Overlawyered has only a few thousand followers there. So please go like us now if you haven’t and recommend us to friends. Our Facebook page tends to share several items a week, mostly about interesting cases, a mix of our own posts and stories published elsewhere (versions of which usually turn up in this space in roundups or otherwise, but why not see them first there?)
The best way to see more Overlawyered on Facebook, and to spread the word, is to directly share our blog posts yourself, whether or not our Facebook page has done so. If you “tag” Overlawyered when you post something, we’ll see that you’ve done this and maybe even send you some Facebook readers.
While we’re at it, I’ll urge you to like my personal Facebook author page, which will get more of my writings to show up on your timeline, most though not all of them on legal subjects. I also have an active personal FB page, mostly aimed at persons with whom I have in-person or professional connections (but all are welcome to “follow”).
Finally, if you’re on Twitter, follow Overlawyered there (as well as @walterolson) if you still haven’t. The Cato Institute, with which both I and Overlawyered am associated, has a gigantic Twitter and Facebook presence with multiple sub-accounts specializing in topics like educational freedom, trade, activities on campus, the journal Cato Unbound, and so forth.
- Libertarians warned about this: New Jersey’s broad “anti-bullying” law used to silence 15 year old student’s political tweets [Robby Soave, Reason]
- “New proposal would put armed, retired cops in New Jersey schools” [NJ.com]
- Chapters ostensibly agreed, though their leeway to refuse not clear: “University of Alabama quietly testing fraternity brothers for drugs” [Al.com]
- About time Congress noticed: Sen. James Lankford asking questions about Department of Education’s Dear Colleague letter [FIRE]
- Schools vigilant against danger of grandparents reading aloud to class without background checks [Lenore Skenazy]
- No helicopters in sight: German preschool/kindergartens send kids as young as three to camp in woods [WSJ]
- Los Angeles and New York City school officials got same anonymous threat, but only L.A. closed schools [Ann Althouse]
On Jan. 11, the Supreme Court hears what may well be the most important case of the term. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, 10 teachers have challenged a state requirement that they support political causes with which they disagree and that hurt their students.
At issue is a kind of law that exists in 25 states which forces public-sector workers either to join a union or pay an amount that covers the cost of the union’s collective bargaining. For California teachers, that means annual dues of about $1,000 or “agency fees” of about two-thirds that amount.
— Ilya Shapiro and Jason Bedrick, Orange County Register. More: Shapiro and Jayme Weber, The Federalist; Richard Epstein, Robert Alt first, second (empirical evidence that unions can do well even when nonmembers not obliged to pay agency fees), third (stare decisis) posts, George Will. Earlier on Friedrichs and its predecessor cases Harris v. Quinn and Knox v. SEIU. A contrary view: New York Times editorial.
Bay Area progressives are fond of blaming new-arriving rich techies for the dizzying rise in San Francisco housing costs. Yet the trail just as plausibly leads back to the door of some of the same people doing the demonizing, who have resisted the building of serious new housing capacity in the city. [Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic]
Like me, Friedersdorf was also struck by the story (told on public radio’s This American Life) of a San Francisco after-school program’s school musical, an anti-“gentrification” propaganda effort, which trained kids as young as six to go on stage in a production portraying their parents’ class as moral monsters. Shouldn’t that wait for college?
- “5th Circuit Court Rejects ‘Disingenuous’ DOJ Anti-School Choice Lawsuit” [Jason Bedrick at Jay Greene’s blog]
- HHS urged to exclude biography, oral history and some other ventures in humanities research from IRB (Institutional Review Board) review of human subjects experimentation [National Coalition for History comments, earlier]
- Revere, Mass. schools punish high school cheerleader for a tweet about immigration [Eugene Volokh]
- Education Law Center, which has pursued long-running Abbott litigation demanding higher New Jersey expenditures on urban schools, describes $18,208/pupil Newark as in “extreme chronic fiscal distress” [Jim Epstein, Reason]
- “NEA’s $131 Million Influence-Buying Spree” [RiShawn Biddle, Dropout Nation]
- Yale’s gender studies program seems well pleased with the protests, and why not given likely infusion of funds/staff? [compare Robert Tracinski linked earlier] Still time to un-burn things down? Yale investigation finds “no evidence” to back frat party racism charge [Washington Post]
- Scotland: “Propaganda being used in our schools to sell Named Person scheme” [Jenny Hjul/The Courier (Dundee), earlier]
“Ahmed Mohamed, the Irving teenager who made national news after he was suspended for bringing a clock to school, is seeking $15 million in damages from the city of Irving and the Irving school district.” After the handcuffing incident in September, in which public opinion sided strongly with the youngster, he was widely praised for his interest in science, appeared on Good Morning America and was invited to the White House; his lawyers now say, however, that Mohamed’s “reputation in the global community is permanently scarred.” [Sacramento Bee via Sam Ro (“Now you know for sure he’s an American.”)]