WWS Calendar

Law-Engaged Graduate Student Seminar: Parents as Private Attorney Generals: How does the Rationing of Resources affect Contention against Schools?

Nov 16, 2016 12:00PM to 01:20PM
438 Robertson Hall


Restricted to Princeton graduate students, faculty, and fellows
Rebecca Johnson, Sociology
Current graduate students, fellows, and faculty only, please. 
Each seminar features law-related papers or practice job talks presented by graduate students from many disciplines.
Contact Leslie Gerwin, lgerwin@princeton.edu
From the author:  The Supreme Court recently granted cert in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, a case that highlights a tension in the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA): school districts have limited resources that they must ration between allstudents but the IDEA and other "tagged" entitlements grant parents a means to attempt to direct resources towards a particular child through private enforcement mechanisms. In the paper,  I use comprehensive data on IDEA enforcement activity to explore this tension between districts' need to ration resources and parents' ability to protest this rationing. First, I show that state-level legislation that results in fewer resources earmarked for special education students leads to an increase in private enforcement activity against districts. Then, using a California policy change that created a discontinuity where some districts received extra resources intended for students with tags of need other than special education, I show results that suggest that private enforcement may contribute to a "leaky pipeline" where resources directed towards students with one tag leak out to students with a tag associated with stronger private enforcement powers.  I am hoping to do fieldwork and interviews to supplement these results in the coming months, so very much appreciate any and all feedback!

Rebecca Johnson is a third-year PhD student in Sociology and Social Policy, with a demography specialization. Before Princeton, she researched topics at the intersection of medical ethics and law at the National Institutes of Health's Department of Bioethics and obtained a B.A./M.A. from Stanford University. Her research interests, supported by an NSF graduate research fellowship, include the impact of disease advocacy groups on U.S. health policy, the relationship between law and distributive justice, and changes to professional authority.