Law School Discussion

Educational inequality

Educational inequality
« on: January 06, 2005, 01:08:26 PM »
Hey guys.  I posted something along these lines a couple weeks ago, but have a little more directed approach now.  I'm writing my personal statement about educational inequality, specifically, the inequality that results when kids come from a low socioeconomic background.  However, I'm having trouble tying in why I need a law degree for this.  I hope to fight education inequality, I really believe that all kids deserve equal opportunities, even if that means that differential funding is given to different areas.  Does anyone have any ideas of specifically how I could use my law degree though?  I'm really clueless...  I know there is lobbying, but I don't think you need a law degree for that.  I suppose I could locate specific cases and sue for inequality the school caused.  I'm just not sure at this point.  Any advice or ideas?  Thanks in advance!

prospect

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Re: Educational inequality
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2005, 01:26:37 PM »
Since this is the key reason you want to go to law school, shouldn't you have the answer figured out yourself already?

Personally, I don't think there is a simple answer.  It seems like you might want an advanced degree in educational policy, rather than a law degree.  I guess you could say you want to get involved in crafting legislation, work for an advocacy program, or become a judge.

Do you have a background in this kind of work already, or some way to connect it to your experience?  The schools are going to look at your background for clues that you are very serious about this path if you choose to write about it.

buster

Re: Educational inequality
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2005, 01:41:00 PM »
I think perhaps you don't need to be as specific as you think you do. It's more important to convey a sense of your character, intellect and writing ability than it is to lay out a specific path.

Re: Educational inequality
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2005, 01:42:25 PM »
Yes, I do have a background in it.  I ran a literacy program in high school and began a mentoring and tutoring program in the community I go to college in.  Last year there were almost 400 KU students mentoring and tutoring at the local jr. high and grade schools.  

I've always wanted to go to law school, my interest in education inequality came after that desire, but seemed to fall in line with it.  I do realize that I should be more educated on what I can do with the law degree, but it is difficult.  I have tried to talk to several people, read information, etc.  I am very educated on educational inquality and feel very passionate about it, and also feel very certain about going to law school.  Now I'm just trying to combine the two interests.  I do feel that they can go together rather well, I'm just trying to figure out how:)  I thought someone might have some further insight or ideas.

prospect

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Re: Educational inequality
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2005, 01:53:30 PM »
Going with Buster's comment, I might just stick with writing about a specific experience or story that highlights your interest.  It doesn't necessarily have to relate to the law, only in the sense that you were doing the work "on the ground," but you also understand and are interested in the wider social policy issues.

bhvexille

Re: Educational inequality
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2005, 01:58:48 PM »
Katie! 

You are worried over nothing.

Law schools don't expect you to know what you want to do with your law degree, and if you tell them exactly what you're going to do with it, they take it with a grain of salt because they know most people change their minds while in law school.

The main thing for you to do in your PS is to talk about your experiences in fighting educational inequity (I think "inequity" is more appropriate here), but also how you came to the decision that this was something that needed to be fixed, what events impacted you so tremendously that you chose to fight this inequity, etc.

Of course, since its a law school admissions essay, it would be nice to relate it somehow to law and going to law school..  but you don't have to be so specific. 

Think about this: What would be a satisfactory solution to this problem?

Is tutoring/mentoring a long-term solution?  I think not.

You aren't a lawyer yet, so of course you don't know in exactly what form a pragmatic solution will come.. but you understand that it's a problem with the public school system, and that system is run by the government, a law degree will certainly be an asset: it opens doors to attack the problem both from the inside (working in the government, maybe even as a politician), and from the outside (working for public interest groups--I'm sure the NAACP and maybe even the ACLU are working on these problems)


Anyway, long story short, you don't have to tell them how exactly you're going to solve the problem--that's what you're going to law school to learn.  Just articulate that it's clear that a law degree will help you find and implement the solution.  I'm sure you'll do a great job.

Re: Educational inequality
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2005, 02:03:34 PM »
Just curious...have you looked into doing Teach for America? Their entire mission is to help fight educational inequality, and most law schools let you defer for two years if you're willing to do it.  And after you teach for two years, you'll have an alumni network to help you get involved from whichever field you go into, in this case, law.  
Personally, I'm planning to defer law school two years to do teach for america if I get in. A lot of law schools offer scholarship opportunities if you do teach for america, too.

bhvexille

Re: Educational inequality
« Reply #7 on: January 06, 2005, 02:04:16 PM »
P.S.- If you want more specific ideas, call the NAACP and ACLU and other public interest groups, and ask them what they're doing to fight this problem, especially on the legal end.  Also try to get in touch with their attorneys--they aren't as busy as corporate lawyers, and I'm sure they'd be happy to spare 2 minutes to talk to you about how a law degree can help you fight educational inequity.

maricutie

Re: Educational inequality
« Reply #8 on: January 06, 2005, 02:11:16 PM »
I remember awhile back some poor kids got some lawyers (ACLU?) and sued the state of CA for not providing them with a constitutionally-adequate education. See? A law degree has versatility ...! :D

Re: Educational inequality
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2005, 02:18:25 PM »
Thanks for the help guys!  All of your comments have been extremely helpful!  If anyone is interested in reading my personal statement to see if my point is clear enough, let me know:)  I'm hoping that it is.  Thanks again!