Collaborating to Realize Rights: Lawyers, Community Groups, and Education Reform
Anne Rebecca Newman

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Washington University in St. Louis

Primary Discipline

This project investigates possibilities for collaborative activism between lawyers and community groups advocating for students’ right to a quality education in the context of a recently settled and landmark lawsuit, Williams v. California. Lawyers and community groups have achieved significant policy reform in communities across California, but face limitations that have prompted growing calls for collaborative activism. Yet little is known about how such partnerships might be forged, and why they are not easily created in many areas. This project addresses this gap through a timely study of the implementation of the Williams settlement across several communities, with two approaches. First, extensive qualitative inquiry into the beliefs and practices of community groups and litigators will yield new understanding of the factors that support and thwart collaboration, why some communities leverage their legal rights more than others, and what judicial remedies are amenable to community oversight. Second, philosophical analysis of these findings will then illuminate their civic implications, and how rights claims shape individuals’ participation in education reform movements. By bringing together empirical and philosophical analysis, this study will shed light on conditions that enable community engagement with judicial remedies, and the role of rights claims in civic dialogue about education reform.
About Anne Rebecca Newman

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