Richmond Law professor Kimberly J. Robinson is the 2016 winner of the Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law.

Awarded annually by the Education Law Association, the Steven S. Goldberg Award recognizes an outstanding work of scholarly excellence that has an impact on education law. Professor Robinson’s article, “Disrupting Education Federalism” (Washington University Law Review, 2015), explores how education federalism should be restructured to achieve the nation’s education goals. She argues that disrupting the nation’s longstanding approach to education federalism—the balance of power between federal, state, and local governments that emphasizes substantial state autonomy over education—is necessary for a successful national effort to achieve greater equity and excellence in education. She recommends that the United States embrace federal strengths in education policymaking, including the superior federal ability to offer research, technical, and financial assistance, while maintaining the beneficial aspects of state and local control over education.

Professor Robinson, who received her J.D. at Harvard Law and her B.A. at the University of Virginia, is an expert on educational equity, equal education opportunity, civil rights, and the federal role in education. Her 2015 book, The Enduring Legacy of Rodriguez: Creating New Pathways (co-edited with Charles Ogletree, Jr. of Harvard Law School and published by Harvard Education Press), examines the ramifications of the landmark Supreme Court case that held that the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee a right to education. The book also encourages innovative thinking on closing the educational opportunity gap.

“My scholarship challenges the assumptions, laws, and policies that keep the United States locked into deeply entrenched patterns of educational inequality,” said Professor Robinson. “By challenging these assumptions, laws, and policies, I hope to encourage new avenues for reforms that insist that every child receive equal access to an excellent education.”

The Education Law Association promotes interest in and understanding of the legal framework of education and the rights of students, parents, school administrators, school boards, and school employees in public and private K-12 educational institutions, as well as higher education. Past recipients of the award include Martha Minow of Harvard Law School, Eloise Pasachoff of Georgetown Law Center, Goodwin Liu of UC Berkeley School of Law, James Ryan of the University of Virginia School of Law, and Michael Olivas of the University of Houston Law Center. The award will be presented at the Education Law Association’s November 2016 meeting.