Another Race Institute at UVa

Kimberly J. Robinson, UVa Professor of Law. Official Photo

by James C. Sherlock

Fund it and they will come.

The Daily Progress reports that thanks to a $4.9 million gift from an anonymous philanthropist, a new “Institute” has been launched at UVa’s School of Law.

The new organization, the Education Rights Institute, plans to

“find ways to improve K-12 education and help educators address the obstacles that face disadvantaged students.”

Staff have been hired and the institute’s first projects are already in development. There will be a star-studded roll out on October 16th.


Hold that thought while you read about the Institute’s leadership, goals and intentions.

Intentions.  The new Institute plans, according to its Director, Law Professor Kimberly J. Robinson, to:

“Produce a video newsletter where we will take research findings and make them into short videos so that they’re easily digestible by the public, and then we’ll pair that with reports that synthesize research about issues related to a high-quality education, Title VI and issues related to a federal right to education.”

Translation: They are going to make cartoon versions of issues in education based upon “synthesized research.” Presumably from UVa’s School of Education, which hosts a half dozen “Centers and Labs” on those subjects and in which Ms. Robinson is also a Professor.

I should mention that the very busy Professor Robinson is also the director of the Center for the Study of Race and Law at the law school.

That should strip away any illusions created by the rhetoric (see second goal below) about where the new Institute will focus its efforts.

Let’s see how they plan to ensure the philanthropist is going to get his or her money’s worth.

Three goals

“‘The first goal is to elevate scholarship about a federal right to education and the absence of any guarantee in the United States for high-quality education that enables students to be college- and career-ready and engaged citizens,’ Robinson said.

Translation: Emulate at the federal level the guarantee in Article 8 Section 1 of Virginia’s constitution. Look how well that has worked in this state in the decades it has been in place. We won’t hold our collective breaths until the new “scholarship” will “elevate” that example.

“The second goal is to recognize the elements of a high-quality education, research opportunity gaps “based on race, class and ZIP code” and identify federal resources available to help achieve a high-quality education.”


    • “Recognize the elements of a high quality education.”  The project hired two recent graduates of UVa’s ed school to do that. Perhaps Success Academy methodology will make the cut. Probably not. The researchers would risk career suicide.
    • “Research opportunity gaps based on race, class and zip code.” Pretty sure that subject is already exhaustively researched and published. But perhaps those two freshly minted ed school grads can take it to a new level. Maybe they will buck the ed school/public education unions system? Nah. See career suicide above.
    • “Identify federal resources” means join the cacophony of lobbyists to send more money into the bottomless pit which is much of U.S. American urban education led by radicals, grifters and incompetents.

The third goal is to help school districts understand their obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color or national origin of recipients of federal financial assistance.”

Translation: Sue. This is a law school project after all. They finally got to the bottom line.

Of interest to all of us is what, exactly, the lawsuits will seek as redress from the courts to help students. Some options:

  • Objective, not subjective, performance standards for schools.
  • Federal or state takeover of individual school divisions that routinely do not meet those objectives.
  • Elimination of DEI staff to free up speech, innovation, time and money for actual education.
  • Elimination of gender, race and SEL courses in favor of academics.
  • Strict attendance enforcement.
  • Establishment of discipline and order in the schools.
  • Charter schools.
  • Vouchers.
  • Year-round school after cleanup of the mess.

Sorry, lost my head.

Perhaps they will recommend the federal Department of Education establish a Civil Rights Division. Oh, that’s right, there is one.

A leftist galaxy of stars at the roll out.  

Welcoming Remarks

  • Risa Goluboff, Dean, Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law and Professor of History, University of Virginia School of Law
  • James E. Ryan ’92, President, University of Virginia
  • Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, Inaugural Director, Education Rights Institute; Martha Lubin Karsh and Bruce A. Karsh Bicentennial Professor of Law

Keynote Address – Na’ilah Suad Nasir, President, Spencer Foundation

Ms. Nasir served as Vice-Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion at the University of California, Berkeley. Her keynote should be riveting.

Q&A moderated by Kimberly Jenkins Robinson

“Moderated” is an interesting word with UVa’s DEI world assembled.

Bottom line: I have spent much of the last 18 years of my life examining K-12 education in Virginia and advocating relentlessly and publicly for improving the educations of poor minority kids.

I have focused on demonstrated successes in achieving that goal. I have found some charter management organizations that produce superb results with the exact populations that the educational and legal left purport to champion.

Yet those same people have with considerable success actively ignored those results and instead engaged in relentless pursuit of an oppressor/victim narrative and the positing of minority children as unteachable in math, reading, science, history and civics using traditional pedagogy.

They have even actively opposed the maintenance of safe and orderly school teaching environments and the enforcement of attendance laws as somehow racially biased.

In other words, they challenge the standards of schooling, not just the methods. They therefore naturally oppose accountability under existing standards.

Fine, do it.

But present examples of widespread and sustainable success in the implementation of your ideas. They have not, and do not intend to do so. It is the narrative, not results, that they are selling.

The donor is perfectly entitled to pay for this nonsense. But his money has assembled academics with no track records of success in actually improving K-12 education. Indeed, the ideas they support have destroyed educational opportunity for a generation.

They remain heedless of the costs of their failures. We should not.