Dick Komer on Espinoza v. Montana & the Bigoted Legacy of Blaine Amendments

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on
LinkedIn
+

On this episode of “The Learning Curve,” Bob & Cara are joined by Dick Komer, Senior Attorney with the Institute for Justice. Komer led the oral argument this week before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the plaintiffs in the high-profile school choice case, Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue. They review the details of the Montana case and the nativist history of the Blaine amendments that remain in nearly 40 states. Komer also compares Espinoza with the recent Trinity Lutheran case, shares his take on the justices’ thinking and the outlook for success, as well as the political challenges that persist even if the plaintiffs prevail.

Stories of the Week: In Tennessee, a contentious new education savings account program for students from low-performing districts is attracting nearly 60 participating private schools. Alaska is considering consolidating 54 school districts into 18 – will this erode communities, or bring about long-overdue cost savings? West Chester, Pennsylvania is using a new online learning program to win back students who left the district for charter-run cyber schools.

Newsmaker Interview:

Richard “Dick” Komer serves as a senior attorney at the Institute for Justice. He litigates school choice cases in both federal and state courts. He is IJ’s resident expert on state Blaine Amendments. Prior to his work at the Institute, Dick worked as a career civil rights lawyer for the federal government, working at the Departments of Education and Justice, as well as at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He ended his government employment as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education. He received his law degree from the University of Virginia in 1978 and his B.A. from Harvard College in 1974.

Commentary of the Week
Thomas B. Fordham Institute: “Espinoza and the myth of values-neutral schooling

Tweet of the Week

Next episode: The next episode will air on January 31st, with guest, Susan Wise Bauer, a homeschool mom, English instructor of writing and American literature at The College of William and Mary, and author of the best-selling book, The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home.

Newslinks:

Receive Our Updates!


Related Posts

AEI’s Ian Rowe on School Leadership, Civic Education, & Upward Mobility

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Ian Rowe, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he focuses on education and upward mobility, family formation, and adoption.

Stanford’s Prof. Clayborne Carson on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Civil Rights Vision & Legacy

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Clayborne Carson, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Centennial Professor of History Emeritus at Stanford University and the Founding Editor of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Journalist Bari Weiss on Fighting Anti-Semitism & the Cancel Culture

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Bari Weiss, former New York Times op-ed editor and writer, and author of How to Fight Anti-Semitism. Bari shares what motivated her to write this book, its reception, and key lessons for teachers and students alike. She also explains why we’re now seeing a rise in anti-Semitism, how educators can best combat it, and the connection she observes between the current upsurge in anti-Semitism and cancel culture.

Institute for Justice’s Michael Bindas on the SCOTUS Oral Arguments

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, who represents the lead plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case, Carson v. Makin.

Dr. Marc Seifer on Nikola Tesla, Pioneer of the Modern Electrical Age

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Marc Seifer, author of the acclaimed biography Wizard: The Life & Times of Nikola Tesla. He reviews what teachers and students should know about the life of Nikola Tesla, the world-renowned engineer, physicist, and inventor who is more widely known nowadays for the electric car and clean energy companies named for him.

Urban Institute’s Dr. Matthew Chingos on the Year of School Choice & the Student Loan Debt Crisis

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Matthew Chingos, who directs the Center on Education Data and Policy at the Urban Institute. They discuss the “Year of School Choice,” the welcome 2021 trend of states across America expanding or establishing private school choice programs; as well as the student debt crisis in higher education.

Author Nicholas Basbanes on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow & the Spirit of American Poetry

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Nicholas Basbanes, author of the 2020 literary biography, Cross of Snow: A Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He shares why poetry - from the Epic of Gilgamesh and Homer to Dante, Shakespeare, Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, and Langston Hughes - may well be the most influential, enduring form of written human expression.

Rutgers Prof. Paul Israel on Thomas Edison, Inventions, & American Patents

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Prof. Paul Israel, Director & General Editor of the Thomas A. Edison Papers at Rutgers University, and author of Edison: A Life of Invention, the definitive biography of America’s greatest inventor. Professor Israel describes Edison’s public and private life, as well as the impact of his world-changing inventions, such as the hot-filament light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion-picture camera.

RespectAbility’s Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi on Empowering People with Disabilities

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, President of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization advancing opportunities so 57 million Americans with a disability can fully participate in all aspects of community. She shares her personal story struggling with dyslexia and ADHD, and what drew her to this cause. She reviews the various kinds of disabilities that people live with, and the strides our society is making to integrate and accommodate disabled citizens into everyday life.

Lipan Apache Tribe’s Pastor Robert Soto on Native American Heritage Month & Religious Liberty

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Pastor Robert Soto, a Lipan Apache religious leader and award-winning feather dancer who has successfully upheld his Native American cultural heritage and religious liberties in federal courts. As the country celebrates Native American Heritage Month, Pastor Soto shares his personal journey as a religious leader and describes the Lipan Apache Tribe.

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s Dr. Bror Saxberg on Learning Science & School Reform

This week on “The Learning Curve,” co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Dr. Bror Saxberg, MD, Vice President of Learning Science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Dr. Saxberg describes his groundbreaking work in the area of learning science and understanding how “working memory” and “long-term memory” can help improve academic excellence and equity.

Award-Winner Prof. David Reynolds on Abraham Lincoln & American Civil War Culture

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with David Reynolds, a Distinguished Professor of English and History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He is the author of Abe: Abraham Lincoln in His Times, selected as one of the Top Ten Books of the Year by The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. Professor Reynolds shares what teachers and students alike should know about the culture of Civil War America, primary education in that era, and the wide variety of influences on Lincoln’s thinking and leadership.

CRPE’s Robin Lake on COVID School Closures & Learning Loss

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Robin Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE), a non-partisan research and policy analysis organization developing transformative, evidence-based solutions for K-12 public education.

Prof. Raymond Arsenault on the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Rides & Civil Rights

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Raymond Arsenault, the John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History at the University of South Florida, and author of several acclaimed and prize-winning books on civil rights, including Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice. He shares how he became interested in researching, writing, and teaching about the Civil Rights Movement.

Match Charter Public School Founder Mike Goldstein on School & Teacher Prep Reform

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Gerard Robinson and Cara Candal talk with Mike Goldstein, the founder of the MATCH Charter School and MATCH Teacher Residency in Boston.

ASU’s Julie Young, Virtual Schooling Pioneer, on Digital Learning during COVID-19

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-host Cara Candal talks with Julie Young, ASU Vice President of Education Outreach and Student Services, and Managing Director of ASU Prep Academy and ASU Prep Digital. They discuss the implications of COVID-19’s disruption of American K-12 education and the future of digital learning.

UChicago’s Dr. Leon Kass on Genesis, Exodus, & Reading Great Books

This week on “The Learning Curve," guest co-host Jason Bedrick and co-host Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Leon Kass, MD, the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus in the Committee on Social Thought and the College at the University of Chicago. Dr. Kass describes the important pieces of wisdom and humanity people today can still learn from reading the Book of Genesis, the topic of his 2003 work, The Beginning of Wisdom.

NYT Best Seller Dr. Kate Clifford Larson on Fannie Lou Hamer & the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement

This week on “The Learning Curve," co-hosts Cara Candal and Gerard Robinson talk with Dr. Kate Clifford Larson, a New York Times best-selling biographer of Harriet Tubman and Fannie Lou Hamer. Kate shares why she has written about these historical African-American figures, and how she thinks parents, teachers, and schools can draw on their lives to talk about race.