Paul L. Caron
Dean


Monday, October 7, 2019

Student Loans Exacerbate Racial Wealth Gap

Stalling Dreams: How Student Debt is Disrupting Life Chances and Widening the Racial Wealth Gap:

Selling Dreams CoverThe student loan system, designed to provide greater access to higher education and fill gaps in students’ ability to pay, has turned into a debt sentence for more and more borrowers. It’s a story blending some well-intended actors and policy, some nefarious and predatory financial actors, for-profit education factories, and growth in education costs far exceeding inflation due in large part to declining public investments. This report focuses on the consequences. What changed trajectories is this system establishing for generations of young adults? How has this changed the future for young people? What are the long-term effects of this burgeoning debt crisis? What is its cascading impact on financial well-being, families, and society? How does it affect young people differently by race and ethnicity? This report begins to take up these critical questions. Any solutions must address these issues.

The current higher education financing regime sediments and exacerbates inequality, and student loans adversely affect the Black-White racial wealth gap. Black students—and students at for-profit universities, who are more likely to be students of color—often face the greatest challenges as they try to finance their degrees with student loans. They take on more loans, amass higher amounts of loans, and experience greater difficulty in paying off loans. Frequently without family financial wealth to support repayment and facing ongoing discrimination in the labor market, Black borrowers are much more likely to experience longterm financial insecurity due to student loans. Would anybody knowingly design a system where, two decades after starting college, many Black borrowers still are paying on virtually all of their student loans, while for the typical White borrower, a minimal debt burden remains? Would anybody knowingly design a system whereby 38 elite colleges have more students who come from families in the top 1 percent than students who come from the bottom 60 percent? Elite colleges, to be sure, historically served upper-class White males, yet access gained by women and students of color has created only a lukewarm diversity in the context of today’s higher education financing regime.

This report highlights how student loans often create a long-term debt burden that blocks wealth accumulation, rendering mobility more fragile and impeding long-term security, particularly for young Black borrowers. While the crisis has grown nationally for all groups in recent years, the data below underscore that Black students are particularly harmed by the current student loan system. The role of higher education financing in contributing to the racial wealth gap and its widening are detailed in this report. ...

Black students are more likely than their White peers to take on student debt, to take larger amounts of loans, and to have debt decades after pursuing higher education.15 In a cohort of students starting college in 1995-1996 and followed for 20 years, 43 percent of White students did have to take any student loans compared to just a quarter of Black students. Among all students, not just student loan holders, the median total for undergraduate loans for Black students was 3.5 times greater than for their White peers and about 3 times more for total federal loans overall including graduate loans.

The typical Black student borrower took out about $3,000 more in loans than their White peers; yet 20 years after starting school, the typical Black borrower owed about $17,500 more than their White peers (see Figure 1). In that time, nearly half of White borrowers were student debt free (49 percent), while just a quarter of Black borrowers were able to pay off all of their loans (26 percent).

Figure 1

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October 7, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Week 2 Highlights Of The Dan Markel Murder Trial

  • Markel SuspectsRepeated phone calls between Adelson family and defendants on day of Markel's murder
  • $41,000 in cash deposits in Katherine Magbanua’s bank account  and $17,000 in checks to Maganua from Donna Adelson and the Adelson Institute after Markel's murder
  • Testimony of Charlie Adelson's ex-girlfriend
  • Testimony of Wendi Adelson's ex-boyfriend
  • Testimony of Louis Rivera
  • Case may go to jury on Wednesday

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October 7, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Federal Judge: University Of Iowa Administrators May Be Personally Liable For Again Violating A Christian Student Group's Constitutional Rights

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  Inside Higher Ed, Judge (Again) Finds Iowa Violated Christian Group's Rights:

Iowa Logo (2019)In January, a federal judge ruled that the University of Iowa violated the First Amendment rights of a group called Business Leaders in Christ by de-recognizing it because its “statement of faith” bans those in LGBTQ relationships from leadership roles.

On Friday, the same federal judge in Iowa issued a very similar ruling involving a similarly situated Christian student group at the university. But this decision goes further: it finds that Iowa administrators could be held personally liable for damages because they should have known better than to treat the second group that way after the ruling in the earlier case. ...

Judge Rose's analysis of the InterVarsity case largely mirrors her findings in the Business Leaders in Christ case; broadly, she finds that the university violated the group's rights to free speech, freedom of association and freedom of religious exercise. Her analysis focuses not on whether the human rights policy was constitutional, but on whether university officials applied the policy equitably to all groups. She concludes that they did not, in ways that unfairly discriminated against InterVarsity.

The biggest difference between the two cases, though, comes in the judge's conclusion about liability for campus administrators. In the business leaders' case, the court determined that university officials deserved qualified immunity, because "the university's compelling interests in the human rights policy, along with the university setting," differentiated that case from previous legal precedents that prohibit "selective application of a nondiscrimination policy."

The InterVarsity case was different, Rose ruled. Once the judge ruled as she did, issuing the preliminary injunction in the business leaders' case in January 2018, Iowa officials were bound by precedential federal law not to "selectively enforce its human rights policy against a religious student group." But that's precisely what they did, Rose said, in de-registering InterVarsity that June.

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October 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

My Last Visit Home

Salem 3My wife and I returned to my boyhood home of Salem, Massachusetts for the funeral on Friday of Claire Dionne, who was my late father's companion for 14 years after my mother's death until his death in 2007.  We stayed in touch with Claire over these twelve years, and she often visited us (with my Aunt Carol) in California (at first during my summers teaching in San Diego, and later in Malibu). 

It struck me that this was likely my last trip to Salem, as there is nothing there to draw me back.  As we drove past my childhood haunts, I couldn't help but think about my 3,309-mile, 62-year journey from Salem to Malibu and the enormous role luck and providence have played in my life.  I would not change a thing: the gut-wrenching lows and the thankfully more frequent euphoric highs, and everything in between, have molded me into the person I am today.  But I wish my parents could have lived to see the man I have become — still deeply flawed, but much different than the person they last saw at age 34 and age 49.

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October 6, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Saturday, October 5, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

AALS 'Meat Market' (Faculty Recruitment Conference) Concludes Today

Law.com, Help Wanted: Law Schools Need Professors:

AALS (2018)Anyone want to become a law professor? Anyone?

The largest annual entry-level law school hiring event kicks off Friday in Washington, but the scene at the host hotel will likely be more subdued than the frenzied atmosphere from a decade earlier. The number of candidates vying to become doctrinal legal academics is about half what it was 10 years ago, a phenomenon observers attribute to an overall drop-off in law school hiring as well as an increase in the credentials schools seek in new professors.

At the same time, more law schools are hiring new faculty this year, according to the Association of American Law Schools, meaning it’s something of a buyer’s market for would-be profs. In fact, 111 law schools have advertised open positions this cycle, the highest number in at least four years. Last year, 90 schools posted available jobs in advance of the hiring conference. ...

Just 334 people submitted FAR forms in the first distribution this year, down from 662 in 2010, according to data compiled by Sarah Lawsky, a professor at Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law who tracks the law school hiring market at PrawfsBlawg.

Lawsky

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October 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

In The Salary Race, STEM Majors Sprint Ahead But Liberal Arts Grads Eventually Catch Up

New York Times op-ed:  In the Salary Race, Engineers Sprint but English Majors Endure, by David Deming (Harvard):

For students chasing lasting wealth, the best choice of a college major is less obvious than you might think.

The conventional wisdom is that computer science and engineering majors have better employment prospects and higher earnings than their peers who choose liberal arts.

This is true for the first job, but the long-term story is more complicated.

The advantage for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors fades steadily after their first jobs, and by age 40 the earnings of people who majored in fields like social science or history have caught up.

This happens for two reasons.

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October 5, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, October 4, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Emory Faculty Committee Meets Today To Decide Fate Of Law Prof Who Used 'N-Bomb'

Daily Report, Confidential Report Sets Stage for Emory Law Prof’s Hearing Over N-Word:

Emory Law (2018)A confidential report by Emory University administrators recommending that a law professor’s suspension be continued without pay for as long as two years for using a racial epithet will play a key role in a hearing to determine his academic fate.

The university Faculty Hearing Committee convenes Friday to decide whether to accept the conclusion of a report by Emory’s Office of Equity and Inclusion that professor Paul Zwier violated the university’s discrimination and harassment policy last year or to reinstate him.

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October 4, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Pepperdine Year In Review (2018-19)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

48 Law Schools Now Accept The GRE For Admissions (The Latest Are Montana, Penn State-Dickinson)

GREMontana and Penn State-Dickinson are the latest law school to accept the GRE (joining American, Arizona, Boston University, Brooklyn, Buffalo, BYU, California-Western, Cardozo, Chicago, Chicago-Kent, Columbia, Cornell, Dayton, Florida International, Florida State, George Mason, Georgetown, Harvard, Hawaii, John Marshall (Chicago), Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Northwestern, Notre Dame, NYU, Pace, Pennsylvania, Penn State-University Park, Pepperdine, Seattle, SMU, South Carolina, St. John's, Suffolk, Texas, Texas A&M, UC-Irvine, UC-Davis, UCLA, USC, Virginia, Wake Forest, Washington University, and Yale).  Two law schools (Georgia and UC-Berkeley) allow students enrolled in another graduate program to submit the GRE.  (George Washington has rescinded its use of the GRE because it has not done a school-specific validation study.)   Two non-U.S. law schools — Peking University School of Transnational Law (China) and Hamd Bin Khalifa University Law School (Qatar, in partnership with Northwestern) — also accept the GRE.

Five law schools accept the GMAT for law school admissions — two outright (Cornell and Penn) and three (Chicago, Georgia and UC-Berkeley) for students enrolled in another graduate program.

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October 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Texas Prof Wants to Fail His Students For Using GroupMe Chat. But What Is Cheating In Our Tech Age?

Chronicle of Higher Education, A Professor Wants to Fail Students for Sharing Information in an Online Chat. But Has Tech Changed What Qualifies as Cheating?:

GroupmeJohn Kappelman alerted about half of the students in his online anthropology course to their “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day” last Thursday. The reason: More than 70 had participated in a class GroupMe, in which information regarding lab and exam answers had been shared.

“My disappointment arises from the fact that the rules for the class are clear,” wrote Kappelman, a professor in the departments of anthropology and geological sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. “Students are not permitted to ask about, discuss, or share information related to exams and labs.”

Because every student had “signed and submitted a course honesty agreement,” according to Kappelman’s email, he recommended that every student in the GroupMe chat receive an F, and he referred the case to the dean of students.

“Faculty have the ability to set expectations for their classes, including what, if any, collaboration or information-sharing is acceptable,” Sara Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the dean wrote in a statement. Kappelman declined to comment as the investigation continues.

The decision to extend punishment to every student in the chat raises questions of fairness for those who had it muted or never checked it.

More broadly, the scandal highlights the difficult issue of expanding technology in the classroom, students in the Google generation who view the free exchange of information without citation as not problematic, and faculty members who are wary of the use — and perceived abuse — of new digital tools.

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October 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Case Western Tax Prof Is Still Teaching At 92 Years Old

Cleveland.com, Case Western Reserve University Law Professor Still Teaching at 92 Years Old:

GabinetYou know that saying, “when you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life?”

Well, at 92 years old and still teaching four days a week, Professor Leon Gabinet is the true embodiment of that.

“I think at 92, I must be the oldest living professor,” Gabinet said, laughing.

News 5 checked with the American Association of University Professors, and while we're told the data around professor's ages isn't maintained, a spokesperson couldn't immediately think of professor above that age still teaching.

Gabinet teaches federal income tax law at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law — a place he has been a fixture since 1968. ...

“You would think going into a federal income tax class that it was going to be really dry and boring,” said law student Jess Ice. “But I laugh every class. I just have a great time. He has forgotten more about tax than I’ll ever learn in my life.”

It’s true — Professor Gabinet, at 92, has much of the tax code memorized by heart. And still, he spends hours before each of his classes every week reviewing materials and getting prepared. ...

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October 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Dorf: The Myth Of The Professor Uninterested In Teaching

Michael C. Dorf (Cornell), The Myth of the College or University Professor Uninterested in Teaching:

From time to time I hear from former students. Whether they are reporting on their successes (or much less frequently, their challenges), seeking a reference for a job, or asking for my advice on a case on which they're working, I'm almost always glad to hear from them—although my policy with respect to advice on cases is to help only with matters that they are handling pro bono and then only if they've cleared my involvement with the client and/or the lead attorney. Occasionally, a student will write a simple note of thanks, which is invariably gratifying. Sometimes the note of thanks is a backhanded compliment, as in "I'm surprised that something I learned in your class turns out to be useful in practice."

Very occasionally I receive a note like the one I was incredibly gratified and humbled to receive last week, from a recent graduate just generally thanking me for my guidance. When that sort of thing happens, I usually feel some regret at not having done the same for the teachers and mentors who were instrumental in my own intellectual and professional development. ...

My own experience as a student turns out to be fairly typical. I had great teachers who were also great scholars. I had not-so-great teachers who were great scholars. I had great teachers who were not-so-great scholars or not scholars at all. And I had not-so-great teachers who were not scholars or not-so-great scholars. There was for me, as in general, no correlation between teaching and scholarly acumen.

And yet, a widely believed view holds that, at least in research universities like the ones I attended and have taught at for my entire career, top scholars are at best indifferent to teaching. I want to push back on that view, at least a little. Before doing so, however, I should acknowledge the more-than-a-kernel of truth that underwrites the view: Research universities appoint, tenure, and otherwise reward people based chiefly on their scholarship, paying substantially less attention to teaching and other duties of the job (such as service via committee work), thereby creating incentives for faculty to prioritize their research over their teaching.

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October 3, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Does Meritocracy Stall Social Mobility, Entrench Undeserving Elites, And Undermine Higher Education?

Chronicle of Higher Education, Does Meritocracy Stall Social Mobility, Entrench an Undeserving Elite, and Undermine Trust in Higher Education?:

That seems to be the emerging bipartisan consensus. “On the evidence we have, the meritocratic ideal ends up being just as undemocratic as the old emphasis on inheritance and tradition,” writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. “Our supposedly meritocratic system is nothing but a long con,” declares Alanna Schubach, a college-admissions coach, in Jacobin. “Merit itself has become a counterfeit virtue, a false idol,” argues Daniel Markovits, a professor of law at Yale University, in a new book, The Meritocracy Trap (Penguin Press). “And meritocracy — formerly benevolent and just — has become what it was invented to combat. A mechanism for the concentration and dynastic transmission of wealth and privilege across generations.”

An attack on meritocracy is invariably an attack on higher education, where meritocrats get sorted and credentialed. So the turn against meritocracy prompts big questions. Has meritocracy in fact failed? Is it time for universities to rethink the definition of merit, and, more broadly, higher education’s role in American life? Are meritocracy’s critics too sweeping in their indictment? Is it still — flaws and all — the fairest way to organize society? If we do away with it, what comes next?

We put these questions to 10 scholars and administrators from across the academy. Here are their responses.

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October 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Speaking Out Against Student Evaluations Of Teaching

Inside Higher Ed, Speaking Out Against Student Evals:

Questioning what student evaluations of teaching actually measure, various institutions have already said they won't use them in high-stakes personnel decisions or as the primary measure of teaching effectiveness.

Now the American Sociological Association and 17 other professional organizations, including the American Historical Association, are urging all colleges and universities to do the same.

"Because these instruments are cheap, easy to implement, and provide a simple way to gather information, they are the most common method used to evaluate faculty teaching for hiring, tenure, promotion, contract renewal and merit raises," reads a new statement from the sociological association, endorsed by other scholarly groups.

Despite these evaluations' "ubiquity," however, "a growing body of evidence suggests that their use in personnel decisions is problematic." The statement cites more than a dozen studies finding that students' evaluations are weakly related to other measures of teaching effectiveness, used in statistically problematic ways and can be influenced by factors such as times of day and class size. It notes that both observational and experimental research has found these evaluations to be biased against women and people of color, and says that adjuncts are particularly vulnerable in a system that depends on them for teaching performance data.

Given these "limitations," the association "encourages institutions to use evidence-based best practices for collecting and using student feedback about teaching."

More specifically, the association recommends that questions on student evaluations should be framed as "an opportunity for student feedback, rather than an opportunity for formal ratings" of teaching effectiveness. It nods to Augsburg University and the University of North Carolina at Asheville, which have both revised their evaluation instruments and renamed them (as the university course survey and the student feedback on instruction form, respectively), to emphasize the difference between feedback and ratings.

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October 2, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

To Tweet, Or Not To Tweet. That Is The Question (For Law Professors)

Following up on my previous post, Tax Prof Twitter Census (2019-20 Edition) (Updated):  Law.com, To Tweet, or Not to Tweet. That Is the Question (for Law Professors):

TwitterLaw professors are trained to share their thoughts in lengthy, exhaustively footnoted journal articles. So it makes sense that the legal academy as a whole was initially reluctant to embrace Twitter, a medium that forces users to be concise and where the conversation can be bare-knuckled.

But it seems law professors are finally coming around to Twitter. A recent census of law professors on Twitter found that at least 1,310 are on the platform, which represents an increase of more than 500% from 2012, when just several hundred were tweeting.

More law professors have jumped on the Twitter bandwagon as they have watched early adopters use the platform in a variety of ways: From promoting their own work or offering commentary on the news of the day to connecting with others in their field or even engaging with the general public, said Bridget Crawford, a professor at Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, who compiled the data. ...

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October 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

July Bar Pass Rates Trending Up, After Years of Decline

Law.com, July Bar Pass Rates Trending Up, After Years of Decline:

It’s too soon to pop the champagne, but early results from the July 2019 bar exam are largely positive. A majority of the jurisdictions that released results in September reported increases in their pass rates. That’s welcome news for legal educators, who have been struggling to reverse declining pass rates for the past five years.

Officials with the National Conference of Bar Examiners had predicted that pass rates would rise due to an increase in the national average score on July’s Multistate Bar Exam, which is the 200-question multiple-choice portion of the exam that accounts for half of a test-takers s core in most jurisdictions. (States can assign different weights to the MBE.)

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October 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

University Of Florida Law School Continues Its Rise In Student Quality And Rankings

The University of Florida Levin College of Law continues its extraordinary rise in student quality and rankings:

 

Median LSAT

Median UGPA

US News Rank

Fall 2015

157

3.50

48

Fall 2016

160

3.60

41

Fall 2017

161

3.69

41

Fall 2018

163

3.72

31

Fall 2019

164

3.80

?

UF Law Celebrates 110th Anniversary With New Culverhouse Challenge:

University of Florida Levin College of Law is pleased to announce its third annual Culverhouse Challenge in honor of the 110th anniversary of UF Law.

Hugh Culverhouse, from the UF Law Class of 1974, has committed to a 10:1 match of 1,000 donations of $110, for a total gift of $1.1 million to fund student scholarships. ...

In addition to his own generous gifts, Culverhouse has spurred several fundraising challenges at UF Law, generating millions of dollars in new student scholarship support.

In 2017, Culverhouse initiated a challenge to the UF Law community to raise $1.5 million to match his $1.5 million commitment. His gift was then matched by the university, resulting in $4.5 million in new scholarship support. In 2018, Culverhouse joined with UF Board of Trustees Chairman Mori Hosseini, who each committed $500,000 to match $1 million in donations from alumni and friends. Once again the university matched their gifts, resulting in $3 million in new scholarship support.

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October 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Rankings, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Subscribing To TaxProf Blog

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October 1, 2019 in About This Blog, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller: Patent Bar Exam Pass Rates Have Been Declining Alongside State Bar Exam Pass Rates

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), Patent Bar Exam Results Have Been Declining Alongside State Bar Exam Pass Rates:

Bar exam pass rates have fallen and remained relatively low for several years [from ~80% in 2009 to~70% in 2018]. ... [P]atent bar pass rates have declined in recent years alongside state bar pass rates [from ~60% in 2009 to~48% in 2018]. ...

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October 1, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

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October 1, 2019 in About This Blog, Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 30, 2019

Is An MBA Still Worth It?

Following up on my previous post, WSJ: More Universities Close Their Full-Time MBAs Programs, Shift To Online:  Wall Street Journal:  Is an M.B.A. Still Worth It?, by Andy Kessler:

MBA 2[S]hould you get a master’s in business administration? These days a lot of people are rethinking that question. Applications are down, even at HBS and GSB (that’s Stanford’s Graduate School of Business—get with the lingo). The number of GMAT test scores sent to two-year, full-time M.B.A. programs has plummeted since 2015. Last year 70% of two-year M.B.A. programs saw declining enrollment; in 2014 it was only one-third. Rats deserting a sinking ship?

Before I really pile on, it’s worth mentioning that there are a few decent reasons to go. The first is pedigree. If you want to get a job on Wall Street or in private equity, you pretty much need an M.B.A.—a golden ticket. ... Another reason to go is the networking. ...

But—you knew this was coming—man oh man is it expensive. HBS tuition is now $73,440 a year. Total costs are estimated at $110,740 if you’re single and more than 150 grand if you’re married with two children. That excludes the cost of your MacBook, let alone forgone wages. You’d better get that Wall Street job. ...

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September 30, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Williams & Connolly Defends Weil Gotshal Against Tax-Bungling Allegation

New York Law Journal, Williams & Connolly Defending Weil Gotshal Against Tax-Bungling Allegation:

Weil  Gotshal & MangesWeil, Gotshal & Manges has brought in Williams & Connolly partner John Villa to defend it from allegations of unethical conduct related to advice it gave financial services firm Perella Weinberg Partners over the tax treatment of two executives’ deferred compensation.

Ex-Perella investment bankers Michael Kramer and Derron Slonecker, who are represented by Lisa Solbakken of Arkin Solbakken, accused Weil earlier this month of failing to disclose that the deferred-compensation forms at the center of their dispute with Perella didn’t comply with tax laws. Perella’s withholding of more than $10 million in deferred comp from the departed bankers was therefore invalid, they argued. ...

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September 30, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Week 1 Highlights Of The Dan Markel Murder Trial

TaxProf Blog Weekend Roundup

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Open Offices Distract Us From Deep Work

New York Times op-ed:  Open Offices Are a Capitalist Dead End, by Farhad Manjoo:

WeOne story from WeWork’s inevitable blow-up: Our offices offer few spaces for deep work.

What was We thinking? That’s the only question worth asking now about the clowncar start-up known as The We Company, the money-burning, co-working behemoth whose best-known brand is WeWork.

What’s a WeWork? What WeWork works on is work. The We Company takes out long-term leases on in-demand office buildings in more than 100 cities across the globe (lately, it’s even been buying its own buildings). Then We redesigns, furnishes and variously modularizes the digs, aiming to profitably sublease small and large chunks of office space to start-ups and even big companies. Well, profitable in theory: The We Company lost $1.7 billion last year. ...

WeWork’s Ikea-chic, couch-and-bench-furnished open office aesthetic has also become a cultural template, the sitcom backdrop for a new generation’s workplace travails. We’s founders and investors now often position their company as a workplace innovator — in forcing workers from different companies to work very closely together, We was not only a business marvel but, they suggested, also a feel-good, Goopy force for planetary collaboration and unity. ...

How did so many people put so much money into something so many were warning would end up so badly? What was We thinking?

And then it hit me: We wasn’t thinking.

WeWork? Not really. WeCan’t! We’reTooDistracted!

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September 29, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

California To Require Mandatory Implicit Bias Training For All Attorneys By 2022

Los Angeles Times, California May Soon Push Doctors and Lawyers to Confront Their Biases:

Doctors, nurses, lawyers and court workers in California may soon be asked to confront their prejudices under a trio of legislative proposals that are headed to the desk of Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The Legislature passed the final bill on Thursday, one of two approved this week that would mandate implicit bias training as a continuing education requirement for many medical professionals and court workers.

AB 242:

Summary. Requires the State Bar to establish a curriculum for all attorneys on the implicit bias against certain protected groups that is common in society, and authorizes the Judicial Council to develop training for all judges, subordinate judicial officers, trial court managers, supervisors, and other court staff who routinely interact with the public on implicit bias.

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September 29, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Saturday, September 28, 2019

This Week's Ten Most Popular TaxProf Blog Posts

  1. Bryan Camp (Texas Tech), Lesson From The Tax Court: The Functional Definition Of 'Return'
  2. Enjuris, Law School Enrollment by Race & Ethnicity
  3. Matthew Smith (U.S. Treasury Department), Danny Yagan (UC-Berkeley), Owen Zidar (Chicago) & Eric Zwick (Chicago), Capitalists in the Twenty-First Century, 135 Q. J. Econ ___ (2019)
  4. Tallahassee Democrat, Five Years After Dan Markel's Murder, Trial Of Two Suspects Begins Today
  5. Fatih Guvenen (Minnesota), Gueorgui Kambourov (Toronto), Burhanettin Kuruscu (Toronto), Sergio Ocampo-Diaz (Minnesota) & Daphne Chen (Econ One), Efficiency Gains from Wealth Taxation
  6. Bryce Clayton Newell (Kentucky), 2019 Meta-Ranking of Flagship US Law Reviews
  7. Washington Post, How Excel's Automatic Data Formatting Can Cause Errors In Published Research
  8. Derek Muller (Pepperdine), A Few Thoughts On Free Casebooks For Law Students
  9. Symposium, Mindfulness and Well-Being in Law Schools and the Legal Profession, 48 Sw. L. Rev. 199-412 (2019)
  10. Sahar Aziz (Rutgers), Identity Politics Is Failing Women in Legal Academia, 69 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2019)

September 28, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Tax, Tax News, Weekly Legal Ed Roundup, Weekly Tax Roundup, Weekly Top 10 TaxProf Blog Posts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Florida Coastal Law School Asks ABA To Reconsider Its Request To Shed For-Profit Status

Jacksonville Daily Record, Florida Coastal School of Law's Next Chapter:

Florida Coastal (2017)Twenty-three years after it was founded, Florida Coastal School of Law is seeking to change its corporate tax status from for-profit to not-for-profit.

The school has filed with the American Bar Association an Application for Acquiescence in a Substantive Change in Program or Structure.

The application was denied at its first review in August, but the school, with the ABA’s approval, is submitting additional information for reconsideration, said Florida Coastal President Peter Goplerud.

The intent is to change the perception of the school’s corporate structure. “Rightly or wrongly, there is a cloud over for-profit education. We think that some of our competitors use our tax status against us in student recruitment,” Goplerud said. “The time is right to send a positive message to our prospective students and to our alumni and move forward in a way that will provide even more opportunity for success,” he said.

The proposed change in tax status would not change the school’s business model, however. “As a matter of good business, every law school in the country has to make a profit or they can’t survive. I was dean of three other law schools before I came to Florida Coastal. At each university, the law school was essentially required to make a surplus to turn over to the university,” he said. ...

[Llow passage rates got the ABA’s attention. ...  Florida Coastal hit its lowest Bar pass rate – 25% - in February 2017. 

Florida Coastal Bar Passage

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September 28, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium: Law Schools In The 21st Century

Duquesne Law SchoolSymposium, Behind the Classroom: An Examination of Law Schools in the 21st Century, 57 Duq. L. Rev. 1-118 (2019):

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September 28, 2019 in Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 27, 2019

Weekly Legal Education Roundup

Inauguration Of Pepperdine University President Jim Gash

Gash 2This has been quite a week at Pepperdine as we celebrate the Inauguration of Jim Gash, former Associate Dean for Strategic Planning and External Relations and Professor of Law at Pepperdine Law School, as President of Pepperdine University. Jim is one of my dearest friends, and I am thrilled for him, for Joline, and for Pepperdine. Here are the remarks I delivered at Wednesday's ceremony:

On behalf of the deans of Pepperdine’s five schools, I want to congratulate Jim Gash on becoming our eighth president. All presidents bring unique backgrounds and experiences to the position, and Jim is the first to come to the presidency as a faculty member and administrator at one of the five schools.

In his twenty years at the School of Law, Jim made enormous contributions to our rise in prominence. Jim joined an unranked law school, and he leaves behind a school poised to take its place among the nation’s top fifty law schools.

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September 27, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education, Pepperdine Legal Ed | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Challenges To Legal Education, Clinical Legal Education, And Clinical Scholarship

Peter A. Joy (Washington Univ.), Challenges to Legal Education, Clinical Legal Education, and Clinical Scholarship, 26 Clinical L. Rev. 237 (2019):

This essay analyzes the challenges to legal education and what those challenges may mean both to clinical legal education and to clinical scholarship. Since the Great Recession, several law schools have closed, some have merged, and still other law schools approved by the American Bar Association (ABA) have been found out of compliance with ABA Accreditation Standards and either have been directed to take specific remedial action, have been placed on probation, or have lost ABA-approval. While enrollment has rebounded at some law schools, other law schools have continued to experience much smaller entering classes than the entering class in Fall 2010. These developments should be part of the conversation about clinical legal education and clinical scholarship, and this essay examines the effects of the Great Recession on law schools’ budgets, staffing, law school admissions, and overall enrollment.

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September 26, 2019 in Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Reflections On Elitism After The Closing Of A Clinic: Justice, Pedagogy And Scholarship

Jennifer Lee Koh (UC-Irvine), Reflections on Elitism After the Closing of a Clinic: Justice, Pedagogy and Scholarship, 26 Clinical L. Rev. 263 (2019):

Western State Logo (2019)In this Essay, I reflect upon my experience directing the Immigration Clinic at Western State College of Law for nearly a decade, including my decision to close the Clinic after financial crisis put the law school’s ability to continue operating in serious jeopardy in the Spring of 2019. The Essay focuses on the themes of pedagogy and the viability of non-elite law schools, teaching and doing social justice in the clinical context, and the integration of theory, doctrine and practice in legal scholarship. By memorializing a portion of the Clinic’s work, the Essay seeks to give voice to stories that might otherwise go unheard during a time of institutional crisis.

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September 26, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

The 'Pink Ghetto' Pipeline: Challenges And Opportunities For Women In Legal Education

Renee Nicole Allen (St. John's), Alicia Jackson (Florida A&M) & DeShun Harris (Memphis), The 'Pink Ghetto' Pipeline: Challenges and Opportunities for Women in Legal Education, 96 U. Det. Mercy L. Rev. 525 (2019):

The demographics of law schools are changing and women make up the majority of law students. Yet, the demographics of many law faculties do not reflect these changing demographics with more men occupying faculty seats. In legal education, women predominately occupy skills positions, including legal writing, clinic, academic success, bar preparation, or library. According to a 2010 Association of American Law Schools survey, the percentage of female lecturers and instructors is so high that those positions are stereotypically female.The term coined for positions typically held by women is “pink ghetto.” According to the Department of Labor, pink-collar-worker describes jobs and career areas historically considered “women’s work,” and included on the list is teaching. However, in legal education, tenured and higher-ranked positions are held primarily by men, while women often enter legal education through non-tenured and non-faculty skills-based teaching pipelines. In a number of these positions, women experience challenges like poor pay, heavy workloads, and lower status such as by contract, nontenure, or at will. While many may view this as a challenge, looking at these positions solely as a “pink ghetto” diminishes the many contributions women have made to legal education through the skills faculty pipelines. Conversely, we miss the opportunity to examine how legal education has changed and how women have accepted the challenge of being on the front line of educating this new generation of learners while enthusiastically adopting the American Bar Association’s new standards for assessment and student learning.

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September 26, 2019 in Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship, Tax, Tax Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1)

Identity Politics Is Failing Women In Legal Academia

Sahar F. Aziz (Rutgers), Identity Politics Is Failing Women in Legal Academia, 69 J. Legal Educ. ___ (2019): 

Journal of Legal Education (2018)Two universal truths about patriarchy: it’s global and it’s tenacious. As women in legal academia, we are not shielded from the consequences of this reality.

Starting from this premise, my contribution to this important (yet perennial) discussion on gender (in)equity in legal academia is framed around three points. First, formalistic identity politics grounded in immutable characteristics is failing our generation of women (and women of color in particular) in the legal profession, including in the academy. Second, women who have managed to overcome the hurdles imposed by patriarchy to reach official leadership positions are as subject to institutional capture and conflicts of interest as their male counterparts. Third, the politics of civility in law schools is a patriarchal tool deployed to constrain women’s ability and willingness to radically reform existing systems of inequality.

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September 26, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (3)

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

George Washington Backs Away From 'Colonial' Mascot After Students Say It Represents 'Genocide And Racism'

GWU Seems To Be Moving Away From Controversial Colonial:

ColonialThe term “Colonial” used to grace (or disgrace, depending on where you fall) mugs, expensive T-shirts and community spaces across George Washington University’s downtown D.C. campus.

However, that tradition seems to be changing.

Student groups have been advocating for the transition for some time now. On one side of the argument, GWU fans and alumni say that the term is traditional and respectful of the university’s origins. (GWU was founded through congressional charter, and the term “Colonial” was used as homage to American colonists.)

Those that want to leave the outdated term behind say that it is representative of ethnic violence, genocide and racism.

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September 25, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (4)

Law School Enrollment By Race And Ethnicity

Enjuris, Law School Enrollment by Race & Ethnicity (2018):

On average, the 2018 law school class was more racially diverse than the 2017 class. Every race and ethnicity that the ABA tracks through the ABA Annual Questionnaire increased by at least 6.1%. This includes Hispanics, Native Americans or Alaska Natives, Asians, Black Americans, Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders, and Whites.

Ejuris3

Ejuris2

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September 25, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

AccessLex: Law School By The Numbers

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Indiana Launches Nation's First Law School Family Office Practice Program

Maurer School of Law Launches First Family Office Practice Program in United States:

Indiana (2017)The Indiana University Maurer School of Law has launched a program that trains students interested in working for family offices and firms with family office service practices. The law school will be the first in the United States with a program focused specifically on this growing area.

"The number of family offices in the U.S. is increasing at a dramatic rate," said Austen L. Parrish, Maurer School dean and the James H. Rudy professor of law. "They are capable of conducting sophisticated transactions that were traditionally the province of big companies or private-equity firms, and they also provide a complete range of traditional estate-planning, real estate, tax-planning and wealth-advising services."

Family offices are estimated to hold assets exceeding $4 trillion, and a significant number of the most prestigious law firms have established family office practices, Parrish said. "By capitalizing on this trend, the Maurer School of Law will help meet the growing demand for lawyers by offering a wide range of courses, placements and mentoring experiences," he said.

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September 24, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

AccessLex: What Do We Know About Law Student Indebtedness?

AccessLex, What Do We Know About Law Student Indebtedness?:

One of the most frequently asked data questions posed to AccessLex is “What is the average debt of a law school graduate?” Although it is a straightforward question, the answer is a bit nuanced and can vary depending on the data source.

When approached for law school debt figures or preparing the AccessLex Legal Education Data Deck, our team references the two main sources of information on law student indebtedness—the U.S. Department of Education’s National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS) and U.S. News & World Report (USNWR). ...

According to the most recent NPSAS data, law school students who graduated in 2015-16 and used loans to finance their education borrowed an average of $134,250 in undergraduate and graduate school debt. With interest, the average cumulative amount they owed at graduation was $142,870 (Figure 1). Borrowers made up roughly 72 percent of the 2015-16 law school graduate cohort (Figure 2).

AccessLex

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September 24, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Symposium: Mindfulness And Well-Being In Law Schools And The Legal Profession

Symposium, Mindfulness and Well-Being in Law Schools and the Legal Profession, 48 Sw. L. Rev. 199-412 (2019):

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September 24, 2019 in Legal Ed Conferences, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Muller: A Few Thoughts On Free Casebooks For Law Students

Derek Muller (Pepperdine), A Few Thoughts on Open-Source or Free Legal Casebooks:

Professor Brian Frye is a tireless advocate (among others) for open-source legal casebooks. Casebooks are costly for students—even rented or used casebooks can run students into the thousands of dollars over three years.

To this day, I feel ashamed to say I haven’t taken advantage of open-source casebooks or developed my own materials. I thought about some of the barriers to entry. ...

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September 24, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, September 23, 2019

WeWork’s Adam Neumann As A Millennial Jobs Prophet: The Search For Fulfilling Work

Wall Street Journal op-ed:  The Loan Wait for a Millennial Prophet, by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Captain ClassWeWork’s Adam Neumann Was Right About One Thing: Someone Needs to Reinvent Work

Until recently, Adam Neumann, the co-founder and chief executive of We Co., had a talent that many on Wall Street found baffling. People loved throwing money at him. ... This month, ahead of a proposed initial public offering, the skeptics finally pulled the fire alarm. ... [How did he raise so much money?]

The 40-year-old Mr. Neumann is by all accounts an exceptional salesman. But I suspect there’s another, deeper reason for his investor appeal.

For about a decade, the business world has been bracing for the arrival of what might best be described as the “Millennial Prophet.” At a time when young, brash, visionary CEOs have disrupted nearly everything, it only seems logical that one of them will solve the biggest challenge of all—reinventing work itself. In Mr. Neumann, these investors may have thought they had their man.

The conventional modern view of what it means to have a job, and how that relates to having a life, hasn’t changed much in 100 years. In fact, it dates all the way back to another wildly ambitious CEO, Henry Ford.

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September 23, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cornell Medical School Raises $150m To Fund Full-Ride Scholarships (Tuition, Housing, Food, Books) For Entering Students Who Qualify For Financial Aid (50% Of Class); $50m More Needed To Fully Fund Program

Following up on my previous posts (links below):  New York Times, Cornell’s Medical School Offers Full Rides in Battle Over Student Debt:

Cornell MedAll costs — tuition, books, housing and food — will be covered for those who qualify for aid, adding Cornell to a growing list of institutions trying to ease the way for doctors-to-be.

Doctors can be among the highest-earning professionals in the country, but they are also among those saddled with the most student loans. The average medical student who graduates with debt owes $200,000, with several years of modest pay ahead as a resident or fellow, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Concerned that young doctors were being driven by financial pressures to become specialists rather than practice pediatrics or family medicine, some prominent universities have begun using major gifts from donors to relieve students from having to borrow to pay tuition.

On Monday, Cornell University went even further. Its medical school, Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, announced that all students who qualify for financial aid will get a full ride: All costs will be covered by scholarships, including tuition, room and board, books and other educational expenses. ...

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September 23, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Five Years After Dan Markel's Murder, Trial Of Two Suspects Begins Today

MarkelTallahassee Democrat, Dan Markel Murder: Trial Begins Monday, 5 Years After Slaying of Distinguished FSU Law Professor:

Any one of the 750 people who received a jury duty summons for this week could end up helping to decide the outcome of one of Tallahassee’s most high-profile murder cases.

Starting Monday morning, groups of potential jurors will be assessed 50 at a time by prosecutors and the attorneys for Katherine Magbanua and Sigfredo Garcia, who are both accused of killing Florida State law professor Dan Markel five years ago.

The murder of the prominent legal scholar in his garage in broad daylight has transfixed the Tallahassee community since 2014.

But the 2016 arrests of three unlikely suspects from South Florida with seemingly no known ties to Markel, and the wicked murder-for-hire plot they are accused of carrying out, turned the case from one of the city's most-enduring mysteries to a true crime drama.

Assistant State Attorney Georgia Cappleman said she expects to begin her opening statements by Thursday. It will be the start of finding closure for Markel’s friends and family. “There is something unusual about that,” she said. “Five years is a long time to resolve a case. So we’ll be happy to get a resolution.” ...

Markel was shot and killed July 19, 2014, in broad daylight inside his Betton Hills garage in what investigators say was a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by the family of his ex-wife Wendi Adelson.

Her brother and mother, Charlie and Donna Adelson, have been implicated in the murder by investigators. No one in the family has been charged and they have denied any involvement through their attorneys.

Magbanua is the accused conduit between the alleged killers – Garcia and his childhood friend Luis Rivera – and the family, which was upset over a custody battle between Markel and Adelson.

Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:

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September 23, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

USPTO: Ohio State University Can’t Trademark ‘The'

Following up on my previous post, The Ohio State University Seeks To Trademark 'The': Cleveland.com, Ohio State University Can’t Trademark ‘The,' and It’s Partially Marc Jacobs’ Fault:

Ohio StateThe word “the” doesn’t belong to Ohio State University, and it’s sort of Marc Jacobs’ fault, according to a letter a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office sent Wednesday to a university attorney.

The office rejected an attempt by Ohio’s flagship university to trademark the word, stylized as “THE” in all caps, in ways that signify its association with the school on T-shirts and hats.

The letter cites two reasons. One is that the Marc Jacobs fashion line beat the university to the punch, seeking to trademark “the” on May 6 for its use on handbags, knapsacks and other items. Ohio State didn’t file its application until Aug. 8.

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September 22, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Excel's Automatic Data Formatting Can Cause Errors In Published Research

Washington Post, An Alarming Number of Scientific Papers Contain Excel Errors:

ExcelA surprisingly high number of scientific papers in the field of genetics contain errors introduced by Microsoft Excel, according to an analysis recently published in the journal Genome Biology.

A team of Australian researchers analyzed nearly 3,600 genetics papers published in a number of leading scientific journals — like Nature, Science and PLoS One. As is common practice in the field, these papers all came with supplementary files containing lists of genes used in the research.

The Australian researchers found that roughly 1 in 5 of these papers included errors in their gene lists that were due to Excel automatically converting gene names to things like calendar dates or random numbers. ...

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September 22, 2019 in Legal Ed News, Legal Ed Scholarship, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)