Another Race Institute at UVa

Kimberly J. Robinson, UVa Professor of Law. Official Photo

by James C. Sherlock

Fund it and they will come.

The Daily Progress reports that thanks to a $4.9 million gift from an anonymous philanthropist, a new “Institute” has been launched at UVa’s School of Law.

The new organization, the Education Rights Institute, plans to

“find ways to improve K-12 education and help educators address the obstacles that face disadvantaged students.”

Staff have been hired and the institute’s first projects are already in development. There will be a star-studded roll out on October 16th.


Hold that thought while you read about the Institute’s leadership, goals and intentions.

Intentions.  The new Institute plans, according to its Director, Law Professor Kimberly J. Robinson, to:

“Produce a video newsletter where we will take research findings and make them into short videos so that they’re easily digestible by the public, and then we’ll pair that with reports that synthesize research about issues related to a high-quality education, Title VI and issues related to a federal right to education.”

Translation: They are going to make cartoon versions of issues in education based upon “synthesized research.” Presumably from UVa’s School of Education, which hosts a half dozen “Centers and Labs” on those subjects and in which Ms. Robinson is also a Professor.

I should mention that the very busy Professor Robinson is also the director of the Center for the Study of Race and Law at the law school.

That should strip away any illusions created by the rhetoric (see second goal below) about where the new Institute will focus its efforts.

Let’s see how they plan to ensure the philanthropist is going to get his or her money’s worth.

Three goals

“‘The first goal is to elevate scholarship about a federal right to education and the absence of any guarantee in the United States for high-quality education that enables students to be college- and career-ready and engaged citizens,’ Robinson said.

Translation: Emulate at the federal level the guarantee in Article 8 Section 1 of Virginia’s constitution. Look how well that has worked in this state in the decades it has been in place. We won’t hold our collective breaths until the new “scholarship” will “elevate” that example.

“The second goal is to recognize the elements of a high-quality education, research opportunity gaps “based on race, class and ZIP code” and identify federal resources available to help achieve a high-quality education.”


    • “Recognize the elements of a high quality education.”  The project hired two recent graduates of UVa’s ed school to do that. Perhaps Success Academy methodology will make the cut. Probably not. The researchers would risk career suicide.
    • “Research opportunity gaps based on race, class and zip code.” Pretty sure that subject is already exhaustively researched and published. But perhaps those two freshly minted ed school grads can take it to a new level. Maybe they will buck the ed school/public education unions system? Nah. See career suicide above.
    • “Identify federal resources” means join the cacophony of lobbyists to send more money into the bottomless pit which is much of U.S. American urban education led by radicals, grifters and incompetents.

The third goal is to help school districts understand their obligations under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, color or national origin of recipients of federal financial assistance.”

Translation: Sue. This is a law school project after all. They finally got to the bottom line.

Of interest to all of us is what, exactly, the lawsuits will seek as redress from the courts to help students. Some options:

  • Objective, not subjective, performance standards for schools.
  • Federal or state takeover of individual school divisions that routinely do not meet those objectives.
  • Elimination of DEI staff to free up speech, innovation, time and money for actual education.
  • Elimination of gender, race and SEL courses in favor of academics.
  • Strict attendance enforcement.
  • Establishment of discipline and order in the schools.
  • Charter schools.
  • Vouchers.
  • Year-round school after cleanup of the mess.

Sorry, lost my head.

Perhaps they will recommend the federal Department of Education establish a Civil Rights Division. Oh, that’s right, there is one.

A leftist galaxy of stars at the roll out.  

Welcoming Remarks

  • Risa Goluboff, Dean, Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law and Professor of History, University of Virginia School of Law
  • James E. Ryan ’92, President, University of Virginia
  • Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, Inaugural Director, Education Rights Institute; Martha Lubin Karsh and Bruce A. Karsh Bicentennial Professor of Law

Keynote Address – Na’ilah Suad Nasir, President, Spencer Foundation

Ms. Nasir served as Vice-Chancellor of Equity and Inclusion at the University of California, Berkeley. Her keynote should be riveting.

Q&A moderated by Kimberly Jenkins Robinson

“Moderated” is an interesting word with UVa’s DEI world assembled.

Bottom line: I have spent much of the last 18 years of my life examining K-12 education in Virginia and advocating relentlessly and publicly for improving the educations of poor minority kids.

I have focused on demonstrated successes in achieving that goal. I have found some charter management organizations that produce superb results with the exact populations that the educational and legal left purport to champion.

Yet those same people have with considerable success actively ignored those results and instead engaged in relentless pursuit of an oppressor/victim narrative and the positing of minority children as unteachable in math, reading, science, history and civics using traditional pedagogy.

They have even actively opposed the maintenance of safe and orderly school teaching environments and the enforcement of attendance laws as somehow racially biased.

In other words, they challenge the standards of schooling, not just the methods. They therefore naturally oppose accountability under existing standards.

Fine, do it.

But present examples of widespread and sustainable success in the implementation of your ideas. They have not, and do not intend to do so. It is the narrative, not results, that they are selling.

The donor is perfectly entitled to pay for this nonsense. But his money has assembled academics with no track records of success in actually improving K-12 education. Indeed, the ideas they support have destroyed educational opportunity for a generation.

They remain heedless of the costs of their failures. We should not.

This column has been republished with permission from Bacon’s Rebellion.

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6 months ago

All of these people should read Ian Rowe’s book “Agency”.
But since Mr Rowe improves educational outcomes for Black and Brown kids in the Bronx through his Charter schools – they won’t.

walter smith
walter smith
6 months ago

UVA needs more Marxism.
Amazing how little of the $14 billion is spent to do anything not in support of Marxism, isn’t it? You’d almost think it was intentional…
BOV? Diversity in all its dimensions? Hello? Anybody there?

James B Newman
James B Newman
6 months ago

It gets worse. The new Data Science School has hired Renee Cummings whose sole task is to cleanse data of racial content as she perceives it. She styles herself as an expert in ” artificial intelligence, data, and tech ethicist”. She offered a ZOOM presentation sponsored by the Alumni Association and
for forty minutes she asserted that we all need to cleanse our data sets against racism. It was very disappointing.

The Bootstrap Kid
The Bootstrap Kid
6 months ago

I will use a portion of my estate to build baseball fields for the poor kids in Appalachia and another portion to pay the costs for motivated poor people to attend trade schools of their choice.

I would not give one penny to the Universities that I attended.

Anne Carson Foard
Anne Carson Foard
6 months ago

Are there any valid statistics on how bad the problem actually is now; i.e., how many children, by specific location and situation, are failing and do not have access to quality and higher education, as opposed to 80, 60, 40, and 20 years ago? These current efforts seem aimed at creating a perpetual problem, one with no solution and with no discernible history of improvement despite all the efforts made over a very long time to correct inequities. Their goals get lost in a blather of rhetoric; I’d like to hear specifics about their plans for, say, Baltimore. This particular group does in fact seem redundant.

6 months ago

I spoke directly in person with Robinson after the recent Miller Center panel discussion on the recent Supreme Court decision on affirmative action. I posed first the question as to who she would consider as the most iconic modern civil rights figure. She answered without hesitation pointing to the Rev. MLK, Jr. I then asked her opinion of his iconic statement as to “judge not a man by the color of his skin, but rather the quality of his character.” She fidgeted and looked uncomfortable, then blurted out, “but we must account for past injustice!” She then realized I had a third question to ask and quickly brushed me aside to speak to another attendee.
Nevertheless, my third question to her would have been, “Rev. MLK, Jr. was not in my opinion a race hustler but are you?” Perhaps if she should happen to read this perhaps she could answer the readership.
In the meantime, folks it is quite apparent from Ryan on down the University is now awash with race hustlers further enforced by the numerous Marxist DEI apparatchiks. This in no way enhances the intellectual health of anyone on Grounds and constitutes mental abuse of the minds of innocent, trusting students.
IMO the Ryan era at UVA will go down as the very darkest of administrations in the University’s history.