Paul L. Caron
Dean




Sunday, June 6, 2021

Leiter Questions ABA's Proposed Accreditation Standards Relating To Racism, Bias Training

Following up on my previous posts:

Brian Leiter (Chicago), Call by ABA For Comments on Significant Proposed Changes to Standards Pertaining to "Non-discrimination and Equal Opportunity" and "Curriculum":

As a threshold matter, the ABA should have to explain why the existing standards were not more than adequate, especially since some of the proposed changes will impose substantial costs on schools and seem ill-supported by evidence.

(1)  Proposed changes would replace previous language requiring "concrete action" and "reasonable efforts" related to diversity, to a standard that demands "demonstrat[ing] progress."   What does "progress" mean?  ...

(2)  The proposals impose a substantial new burden on schools to collect and maintain data that will be both costly and time-consuming, and will almost certainly require schools to hire additional administrative staff (see esp. 206-3 and 206-4). ...

(3)  Recommended actions that would demonstrate "progress...under the Standard" would include (206-5) "Diversity, equity, and inclusion training."   This raises two concerns.  First, there is evidence that such "training" is not effective, and can even be counter-productive.  Second, and even more seriously, such training will almost certainly violate the academic freedom rights of faculty at many (probably most) schools by demanding conformity to a particular ideology about "diversity," its meaning, and its value.  ...

(4) The proposal suggests making the new "diversity, equity and inclusion" standard a "core" standard, such that failure to comply with it would be grounds for public shaming of schools and ultimately loss of accreditation.   Given the uncertainties about what constitutes satisfaction of this standard, and the subjective judgments that will be necessary, it seems risky in the extreme to make it a "core" standard.

(5)  The proposed curricular reforms all relate to requiring law schools to "provide training and education to law students on bias, cross-cultural competency, and racism."   Moreover, law schools must provide this "training and education" at the start of law school and at least once before graduation!   This prompts a few questions and concerns: ...

https://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2021/06/leiter-questions-abas-proposed-accreditation-standards-relating-to-racism-bias-training.html

Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink