Strengthening the Federal Approach to Educational Equity during the Pandemic
Kimberly Jenkins Robinson is the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law as well as a professor at both the School of Education and Human Development, and the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy at the University of Virginia. She is an expert who speaks throughout the United States about K-20 educational equity, equal opportunity, civil rights and federalism. She is the editor of A Federal Right to Education: Fundamental Questions for Our Democracy (NYU Press 2019) and co-editor with Charles J. Ogletree Jr. of The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways to Equal Educational Opportunity (Harvard Education Press 2015). She is a Senior Research Fellow with the Learning Policy Institute and a Faculty Senior Fellow at the Miller Center at the University of Virginia.
Strengthening the Federal Approach to Educational Equity during the Pandemic provides a timely analysis of three issues of great national significance for education and the United States. First, it synthesizes research regarding the pandemic’s educational harms through the 2020-21 school year, including learning losses and the disparate impact of the pandemic on particular subgroups groups of children. It concludes by noting that the disproportionate adverse impact of the pandemic on vulnerable subgroups should lead federal intervention to prioritize educational equity. Second, it describes the federal legislative and executive response to the pandemic and critiques how this response may impact educational equity. Finally, after explaining a comprehensive theory for education federalism that prioritizes educational equity, the article proposes how the federal response to the pandemic should be strengthened to advance a coherent and consistent approach to education federalism that focuses on educational equity.