Law & Public Policy Blog

De-Prioritizing Social Studies Education Was a Huge Mistake

Noelia Rivera-Calderón, Law & Public Policy Scholar, JD Anticipated May 2019 As a former middle school teacher, I can’t resist starting with a little pop quiz: In which core school subject can you learn to distinguish between fact and opinion, analyze international relations, practice media literacy and source analysis, understand differing points of view and bias, consider how history has impacted race relations, and be trained to become civically and politically involved? Which core school subject (not counting the “non-core,” …

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Joint Filing and Tax Reform

Hope Kildea, Law & Public Policy Scholar, JD Anticipated May 2019 With the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), the federal legislature grappled with changes to some fundamental aspects of our tax system. Talks of eliminating deductions for charitable contributions, medical expenses, and student loan interest put into question the values reflected in our tax code. One area of our tax structure that was not addressed through the TCJA was filing status. The Internal Revenue Code …

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Nigeria Must Do More To Protect Its Children

Miriam Abaya ’17, Law & Public Policy Fellow  In April 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped from a boarding school in Chibok, Nigeria by Boko Haram. The kidnapping sparked the global social media campaign #BringBackOurGirls. Today, 163 girls have either escaped or been released, leaving 113 unaccounted for. Nigerian parents have pled and protested, demanding that the Nigerian government do more to find their daughters. Four years later, on February 19, 2018, Boko Haram insurgents kidnapped 110 girls in Dapchi, adding …

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Reflections on Race and School Discipline

Noelia Rivera-Calderón, Law & Public Policy Scholar, JD Anticipated May 2019 We all know we are doing school discipline wrong. We see the statistics on racial disparities in discipline: Black and Latino students are suspended and expelled at significantly higher rates than white students. When it comes to finding solutions, though, well-intentioned but misguided policies from all points in the political spectrum—from zero tolerance to suspension bans—end up leaving us little better than we started, taking one step forward and …

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Price of Innocence: Philadelphia’s 30% Bail Fee

Cameron Redfern, Law & Public Policy Scholar, JD Anticipated May 2019 There are currently 6,700 people in Philadelphia’s jails. Of those individuals, 30% are being held pre-trial – one in four are being held on a cash bail amount that they are unable to pay. 8.1% of Philadelphia’s jail population is being detained because they cannot afford to pay $5,000 or less. The cash bail system is purported to serve the purpose of ensuring the reappearance of defendants and keeping …

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Safe Injection Sites in Philadelphia: Caring About People, No Matter What

Jasper Katz, Law & Public Policy Scholar, JD Candidate May 2019 In 2016, 907 people died as a result of heroin overdoses in Philadelphia. In 2017, that number is projected to hit 1,200. As a response to these tragedies, Philadelphia recently decided to move forward in creating a safe injection site (SIF), a place where people who use drugs can do so under medical supervision in case of an overdose. Philadelphia has some of the cheapest and purest heroin available, …

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Why Philadelphia Needs Just Cause Eviction Protections

Lisa Burns, Law & Public Policy Scholar, JD Candidate May 2018 In 1893, the great American journalist Talcott Williams lauded the promise of Philadelphia, which he called “not a city of palaces for the few, but homes for the many.” Williams’s egalitarian vision of the city was based on the iconic Philadelphia row houses that allowed workers of all classes to own their own homes inside the city limits. The possibility of middle- and working-class individuals’ homeownership in one of …

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The Cruelty of Ending Temporary Protected Status

Shannon McGuire, Law & Public Policy Scholar, JD Candidate May 2019 Eight years ago last week, a 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti, killing anywhere from 220,000-300,000 people, displacing over a million from their homes, and leading to a cholera outbreak. In 2016, Hurricane Matthews devastated the country’s recovery efforts. The endless struggles Haitians have endured from these natural disasters make reports about the President’s vulgar and offensive comments about countries like Haiti even more painful. Yet many are not familiar …

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Homelessness in Philadelphia: A Few Suggestions

Lee Begelman, Law & Public Policy Scholar, JD anticipated May 2019 It’s officially 2018, and the East Coast started off the year competing for a record. Unfortunately for those of us who live on the East Coast, the record being sought after was for “Longest Streak of Days Below Freezing.” Fortunately, I guess, we ended up tying for third-longest streak. Nevertheless, it’s been mightily cold in Philadelphia so far this winter, and its only mid-January. But while most of us …

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Ajit Pai’s Defense of Net Neutrality Repeal Fails to Make Good Arguments

Devon Roberson, Law & Public Policy Scholar, JD anticipated May 2019 “The FCC just voted to restore the long-standing, bipartisan approach to protecting Internet freedom.” This was the official word from the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Twitter account, announcing the repeal of the 2015 regulation codifying “net neutrality” into law. “The internet wasn’t broken in 2015,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said. “We weren’t living in a digital dystopia.” This is true. But what Mr. Pai seems to be forgetting is …

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