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Elevating Equity and Justice

Ten U.S. Supreme Court Cases Every Teacher Should Know

Elevating Equity and Justice takes you on a journey through ten U.S. Supreme Court opinions involving public schools. Why these ten? Because they delve into some of the most important topics and situations educators face every day. Covering the landscape of both civil rights (discrimination) and civil liberties (individual freedom and privacy), Bob Kim provides insight into how educators might be able to support students who are at risk or face unique challenges or needs, as well as a sense of how each case impacts schools and education today, including more recent legal developments.

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Elevating Equity and Justice is just what the civic-minded activist in you is looking for—an accessible and engaging guide to connect your teaching to the times we live in, providing insight into ten United States Supreme Court cases that impact schools and teaching. Some of the cases will be familiar to you and some will not. Why these cases? They cover the landscape of both civil rights and civil liberties, exploring topics and situations teachers and administrators face every day. Plus they’re interesting—they involve real problems of real people who are raising legal and policy issues thorny and weighty enough to have reached the highest court in the country. To read them is to take a mini course in the history of education in our nation and in the civil rights and civil liberties issues that educators and students encounter on a daily basis.

Robert Kim, an education policy expert and former civil rights lawyer, has spent much of the last two decades focused on the rights of students, as well as the legal rights and obligations of schools and educators. In Elevating Equity and Justice, Bob takes a deep dive into ten cases of historical impact, providing background and information on each as well as an explanation of why it is important to know them. He brings the source material to life without overwhelming you with “legalese” and dos and don’ts.

For each case, Bob provides a summary of the judicial opinion; some interesting history or perspective about the case, including more recent legal developments; the implications for educators and schools; classroom and community voices that provide insight from real teachers dealing with these topics; tips for how to be proactive; and a short list of resources to further your knowledge about the case or the topics covered in it. 

Reading these ten cases certainly won’t address every situation educators encounter. Chances are you’ll be drawn to reflect on what these cases mean for your teaching practice or your school. How can they help you address the needs of a particular student? What civic lessons do they teach? What values do they impart? Elevating Equity and Justice helps educators consider the needs of all of their students and elevates the discussion, teaching, and practice of equity at school. 

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