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WV Law Review Symposium to Explore the Right to an Education

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An upcoming symposium at WVU Law will focus on the legal right to an education.

The West Virginia Law Review’s Education Law Symposium begins at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 21. and continues at 8:30 a.m. on Feb. 22. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

“This symposium is very timely given last year's teacher strikes as well as the current education legislation before West Virginia’s legislaturesaid Blair Wessels, Editor-in-Chief of Volume 121 of the West Virginia Law Review. “We hope that guests leave the symposium with a renewed interest in education law and an appreciation of our state's educational law history.”

Two of the topics the Education Law Symposium will explore are Pauley v. Kelly  and the Recht Decision.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the landmark Pauley v. Kelly decision in which the West Virginia Supreme Court recognized education as a fundamental constitutional right. 

Following the principles set forth in Pauley, the late Judge Arthur Recht issued what became known as the Recht Decision. It declared the state’s school funding system unconstitutional and led to improvements in public education, including higher standards and a more equitable funding formula.

Former West Virginia governor Bob Wise, founder of the Alliance for Excellent Education, will discuss the Recht Decision and how it relates to current education trends at 11:15 a.m. on Feb. 22.

Derek Black, a law professor from the University of South Carolina, is delivering the symposium’s keynote address during lunch on Feb. 22. He will focus on the historical motivations for the right to education in West Virginia and their impact on other states.

Other symposium topics include the 2018 teacher strikes; recent trends in state education rights litigation; the future for equity in education; and education law in higher learning.

Panel discussions will be led by education law and policy experts from the University of North Carolina, University of Kentucky, Temple University, University of Memphis, Gonzaga University, University of Louisville, University of Maine, University of South Carolina, and West Virginia University. There are also panelists from the Education Law Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Law School Admissions Council.

The Education Law Symposium is offering Continuing Legal Education credits for members of the West Virginia State Bar. Registration for CLE is $75.

For more information on the 2019 West Virginia Law Review Symposium, please visit





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