Advanced Leadership Initiative Think Tank: Is Education a Civil Right?

  • 1:30 to 4:30 pm

On the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that education is not a right guaranteed by the Constitution, the United States faces the economic and social consequences of its failure to ensure educational opportunity for all. Education is widely considered an underpinning for social mobility, a means for narrowing income inequality gaps, and the basis for economic growth and competitiveness. Since children and students of color suffer disproportionately, some have called education “the civil rights issue of our times.” During our part of the Advanced Leadership Initiative’s Think Tank, we will explore some innovative programs and policies that promise to increase opportunity and open doors for previously excluded and/or underserved students.

The following portions of the Think Tank are free and open to the public:

Friday, April 26th, 1:30 to 4:30 pm
Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall
Harvard Law School


1:30 – 1:45 – Introduction to Legal Cases
Speaker: Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Harvard Law School

1:45 – 2:30 – Keynote Address: The State of Education as a Right Today
Speaker: Professor Kimberly Robinson, University of Richmond School of Law

2:45 – 4:30 – Preparing Students for a Diverse and Changing World: Action, Innovation and Law in America’s Public Schools


  • Susan Eaton, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice, Harvard Law School
  • Leticia Smith-Evans, Assistant Counsel, Education Practice Legal Defense Fund, NAACP
  • Willie Barney, CEO, Empowerment Network, Omaha, NE
  • Scott Thomas, Executive Director, Magnet Schools of America
  • Gregg Roberts, World Languages Dual Immersion Specialist,Utah State Office of Education

Saturday, April 27th,8:30 am – 12:45 pm
Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall
Harvard Law School


8:30 – 8:45 –Opening Comments from the Co-Chairs: Big Innovations as a Path to Change; Pushing the Law and Opening Opportunity from the Bottom-Up


  • Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Ernest L. Arbuckle Professor, Harvard Business School
  • Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education

8:45 – 9:45 –Panel 1: Educational Opportunity through Institutional Innovations: Addressing the School Dropout Crisis and Skills Deficits for Urban Youth


  • Sandra Lopez Burke, Vice President & Executive Director, City Year Boston
  • Mark Edwards, Executive Director, Opportunity Nation
  • Brad Toney, Corps member at the JFK Elementary School, City Year Boston
  • Jan Rivkin, Professor, Harvard Business School, Co-Chair, U.S. Competitiveness Project

10:00 – 11:30 –Panel 2: Reinventing High School: How P-Tech Blends Open Access, 21st Century Skills, and Jobs via a Public High School/Community College/Employer Partnership (and Why President Obama Wants to Take It Everywhere)


  • Rashid Davis, Founding Principal, P-TECH (Pathways in Technology, Early College High School) Brooklyn, NY
  • Junghyun Kym, Assistant Principal, P-TECH
  • Stanley Litow, Vice President of Corporate Citizenship, IBM & President, IBM International Foundation
  • Claudette Saddler, Parent of P-TECH student
  • Radcliffe Saddler, 10th grade student, P-TECH
  • Jamilah Seifullah, Mathematics teacher, P-TECH

11:30 – 12:00 – Superintendent Carol Johnson, Boston Public Schools

12:00 – 12:45 – Town Hall Discussion (Closing Speaker to Be Announced)

Wrap-up with Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter, and Advanced Leadership Fellows

Action Steps: What Can/Should Advanced Leaders Do?


Friday’s event is the Houston Institute’s contribution to the YWCA’s Stand Against Racism movement. Stand Against Racism is a national day of action to raise awareness that racism still exists in our communities and we cannot ignore or tolerate it. This year’s Stand Against Racism will take place April 26-30, 2013. More than 165 Boston organizations have registered to date.