My past work, Beyond Bias: Cultural Capital in Anti-Discrimination Law (published in the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review) looked at the role of parental cultural capital in producing racial inequality in special education, and my most recent work, Education as Property (published in the Virginia Law Review), analyzed school district and prosecutor media narratives to explain the construction of a “crime” committed by parents who transgress school attendance boundaries. She showed how property tax school funding together with geographic-restricted attendance drives districts to treat public education as private property, an entitlement from which they can legitimately exclude black and brown families and children.

Currently, I am working on a project titled “Stealing” Education. This project offers the first comprehensive 50-state examination of the “crime” identified in my previous piece. I examine the competing justifications for aggressively pursuing education thieves, and highlight one aspect of this problem: how residents in predominately-white school districts employ racial dog-whistles in the form of supposedly race-neutral reasons for why school district borders must be heavily policed. I show how, even though suburban residents rarely speak in explicitly racial terms, they rely on well-worn “cultural” stereotypes associated with black parents, black children, black crime, and black neighborhoods as an additional reason – on top of fiscal reasons and appeals to “local control” – to argue that their school district needs to exclude outsiders – who “just happen” to be poor and Black.

Bibliography

LaToya Baldwin Clark, Education as Property, 105 Va. Law Rev. 397 (2019). link

LaToya Baldwin Clark, Beyond Bias: Cultural Capital in Anti-Discrimination Law, 53 Harvard C.R.-C.L. Law Rev. 381 (2018). link

LaToya Baldwin Clark, Book Review of Schooling Girls, Queuing Women: Multiple Standpoints and Ongoing Inequalities by Helen A. Moore, 86 Soc. Inquiry 127 (2015). link

LaToya Baldwin Clark, The Problem with Participation, 9 Mod. Am. 20-39 (2013). link

Prudence Carter and LaToya Baldwin Clark, Social Reproduction, in Encyclopedia of Diversity in Education (James A. Banks, ed., 2012). link