Public-Sector Structural Reform in K-12 Education Seminar

The United States is in the midst of a massive restructuring of public-sector service delivery and regulation, particularly as they relate to the governance and management of its public schools. Staffed by broadly interdisciplinary teams of accomplished professionals, the most successful of the new federal, state, and local education organizations are replacing decades-old public bureaucracies and interest group politics with “learning organizations” committed to using public problem solving techniques to accelerate adult and institutional, as well student learning.

This Public Education Policy Seminar and Practicum originates at Columbia Law School, and attracts upper-level graduate students in law, business, education, and policy from Harvard, Michigan, NYU, Penn, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Yale, and other universities for a full semester of intensive engagement with each other around transformational change in public education. Second and third-year law students may take the course either in the fall semester or the spring semester. 13 units of credit are awarded, and all of the credits are graded, with the grades transferring to Michigan Law School.

Participants in the program take part in a rigorous and rewarding learning experience, including:

(i) An engaging interdisciplinary seminar in the design, regulation, governance, democratic accountability, and transformation of K-12 school systems and allied public- and social-sector organizations; [4 credits]

(ii) Comprehensive skills training in team-based problem solving, managing multidimensional (legal, operational, etc.) projects to specified outcomes in complex environments, client counseling, and effective communication [2 credits]; and

(iii) A high-priority project designing and implementing legal and policy solutions to a complex problem at the core of a client public- or social-sector organization’s mission to improve the educational outcomes and life chances of children. [7 credits].

The Program Offers:

* Intensive experiential learning on interdisciplinary teams and cutting-edge projects

* Deep engagement in public education improvement strategies and debates

* Panels and field trips interacting with prominent education leaders

* 1:1 mentoring, K-12 education career support, and networking opportunities

* Merit scholarships for exceptional students

* Challenging, fun, and meaningful work helping to improve kids’ learning and lives

Admission to the course is by application. A limited number of $25,000 scholarships are available for exceptional students to apply to their law school tuition in return for a commitment to spending time after graduation and judicial clerkships in a public or nonprofit job in the education sector.

For more information, including a course FAQ, names of Michigan Law students who have taken the previous version of the course, or lists of past projects in which students have engaged in the Course, please email [email protected] or Professor Amy Sankaran at [email protected].

*This description was adapted from Columbia Law School’s own course description, which can be found on Columbia Law School’s web site: (search on L8016).