Girls Dropping Math? Blame Teachers

An op-ed by Cass Sunstein. The U.S. has a pressing need to increase the number of well-educated graduates in science, technology, engineering and math, pretty much everyone agrees…But why, exactly, aren’t more girls focusing on math and science?…A new study…indicates that much of the problem lies with biased primary school teachers, who have major and enduring influences on female achievement. That’s really hard to prove, but Victor Lavy of the University of Warwick and Edith Sand of Tel Aviv University found a way by studying children in Israel.

After Controversial Attendance Study, Committee Will Discuss Privacy

After University President Drew G. Faust referred the discussion of news that researchers had photographed thousands of students last year without their knowledge to an electronic oversight committee, that body is discussing the broad implications related to privacy and expects to report back to her by the end of the term…“The committee has not been charged with investigating or reporting on the attendance study,” the chair of the group, Harvard Law School professor John C. P. Goldberg, wrote in an email last month. He added that the “study served as a springboard for general discussions among committee members about privacy interests that may be at stake when classrooms are observed.”

Lawyers are dealing with changing rules on college sexual assault

As colleges grapple with the recent publicity over campus sexual assaults and violence, so, too, are lawyers dealing with the complicated legal issues involved in filing and investigating grievances. The problem, some lawyers say, is that due process has been abandoned in campus disciplinary procedures that address student-on-student sexual misconduct claims…There’s a sense among some law school faculty that Harvard should have pushed back on the OCR finding, particularly regarding due process rights for the accused, says professor Elizabeth Bartholet, one of the signers. “There are many university leaders who have a problem with the policy. Harvard could have provided an important leadership role in terms of challenging the government. I think [universities] are very nervous and are acting incredibly timidly,” says Bartholet, who serves as faculty director of the law school’s Child Advocacy Program.

A Case for Opening Schools to Worship

An op-ed by Noah Feldman. Can New York City bar religious worship in its school buildings? This very basic question about the First Amendment has been hotly contested in the courts for years — and the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to announce Monday whether it will take the case. If it does, as I expect it will, the case will probably be a landmark in constitutional law. It poses perfectly the tension between the free exercise of religion on the one hand and the nonestablishment of religion on the other. Getting it right won’t be easy for the court, because there’s no one right answer.

Black Studies Matters

Will the Black Lives Matter movement succeed? The entire country waits with bated breath to hear that question answered. And although pundits and protestors alike have compared Black Lives Matter to the civil rights movement generally in order to evaluate and predict the future of the contemporary demonstrations, a specific branch of that earlier campaign deserves additional attention…Bradley sees some promise in smaller reforms that have been made in Ferguson’s municipal government, as well as in the few policy goals—like putting cameras on police officers—that have begun to emerge. McKenzie Morris [`15], president of the Harvard Black Law Students Association, expressed hope to the HPR that these policies would take hold. “The police cameras, in my opinion, are the first tangible step through which people are trying to get to the main goal, which is accountability,” she said. “That is the main policy goal out of all of this: a true checks and balances system that does not currently exist.”

Texas County Refuses To Accept Federal Checkpoint Drug Cases

A border county in Texas with two U.S. Border Patrol highway checkpoints is refusing to prosecute drug cases previously sent to it from those checkpoints. The county—and all four states bordering Mexico—wants funding from Washington, D.C. to handle cases that federal prosecutors decide to send to state courts…Jennifer Chacón at the University of California Irvine School of Law said the Texas case isn’t unfolding in a vacuum. “What we are seeing is part of a broader set of developments that have been caused by Congressional choices about funding law enforcement, particularly along the southern border,” she said…“It is telling that we see this in Hudspeth County, in the state of Texas, a state that has drug laws aligned with the federal government’s zero tolerance approach,” she said from Cambridge, Mass., where she is a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School.

Obama’s Expected Keystone Pipeline Veto Is Likely to Be the First in a Wave

Wielding the weapon of his pen, President Obama this week is expected to formally reject a Republican attempt to force construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. But in stopping the transit of petroleum from the forests of Alberta to the Gulf Coast, Mr. Obama will be opening the veto era of his presidency…Jody Freeman, director of Harvard’s environmental law program and a former senior counselor to the president, said there was no doubt that Mr. Obama would veto such an effort if Republicans got it through Congress.

Calpine, Harvard Law Professors Defend EPA Carbon Plan (registration)

Natural gas power company Calpine Corp. and a group of Harvard University law professors on Thursday told the D.C. Circuit that the EPA must be allowed to finalize its greenhouse gas reduction plan for existing power plants before any legal challenges may be decided. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan has been challenged by coal mining company Murray Energy Corp., along with a variety of states and other industry groups. They have alleged the agency lacks the authority to issue the rule and that the rule would harm their economic health. But in separate amici briefs, Calpine and Harvard law professors Richard Lazarus and Jody Freeman said the EPA is on firm ground.

Penn law professors join critics of university sexual assault policies

A group of professors from the University of Pennsylvania Law School have added their voices to the debate about how best to ensure fairness as universities strive to respond to sexual violence. The open letter by 16 professors acknowledges that sexual assault is a serious concern, but criticizes revised procedures adopted by the university Feb. 1…“More and more people are seeing that there are competing interests and values … that need to be brought into the discussion,” says Janet Halley, a Harvard Law professor who was among those who signed a similar letter in October objecting to revised policies at Harvard University.

Judge Issues No Final Decision on Divest Lawsuit

A Massachusetts Superior Court judge on Friday did not issue a final decision on motions by Harvard and the state Attorney General’s office to dismiss a lawsuit suing the University to divest from fossil fuels…The student complainants, for their part, said they were optimistic for their case. “I feel like we definitely presented the case in the way we intended,” plaintiff and Harvard Law School student Joseph E. Hamilton [`16] said after the hearing. “We are optimistic [the judge] will rule in our favor.”