Education Wars: The Supreme Court and the Public Schools (Online Course)

Schools are often arenas where our most incendiary social and cultural conflicts emerge. The Supreme Court is where many of those conflicts get debated and resolved. In the last century, the Supreme Court has decided cases involving constitutional claims that touch many hot button educational issues – like student rights of expression, racial inequality, due process, censorship, student discipline, and corporal punishment.

In this six-session course, we will examine several specific decisions and their impact on the lives of children. We will also look at impacts on some of the people involved – plaintiffs, attorneys, and justices as well as some of the drama surrounding debates and decisions.

Throughout, we will take a broad perspective on these decisions and consider several key questions including:
• What constitutional rights do students have while in school?
• What authority should school personnel have to limit those rights?
• How expansive should judicial power be over public schools?
• To what extent should the Supreme Court defer to state and local government?

Note: This course is open to current Beacon Hill Seminars members only.  It will run Wednesdays from 10 to 11 AM, April 29 through June 3.

June 3 Class Recording:

May 27 Class Recording:

May 20 Class Recording:

May 13 Class Recording:


May 6 Class Recording:

April 29 Class Recording:


Click here to register
Venue: Online
Meets on: Wednesdays 10:00 am to 11:00 am
Starting: 4/29/2020
Sessions: 6
Class Size:
Teaching Style: Lecture and discussion
Weekly Preparation: 0 - 1 hour
Group Leader Biography:

Paul Kelleher grew up and attended public schools in Worcester, MA. He received B.A. and master’s degrees from Harvard and a doctorate from Teacher’s College-Columbia. In a 35-year career in public education, Paul served as a teacher, middle and high school principal, and Superintendent for Schools in New York and Connecticut. Upon retiring as a superintendent, Paul served for 10 years as the Norine R. Murchison Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Education at Trinity University in San Antonio. Paul is now Professor Emeritus and, devotes himself to leadership development through coaching in local public schools. Paul has written about this work in books and articles on educational leadership.