EDUC 333S: Legal Issues in Education


Reader requirements: J.D. degree

  1. Course Information
  2. Schedule
  3. Giving Feedback

Course Information:

Instructor: Prof. Sue Wasiolek

A case analysis approach giving students an opportunity to identify and review past, current, and emerging legal issues and theories in education. Topics include students’ rights (for example search and seizures, due process), institutional liability and teacher’s rights at the elementary and secondary levels and in the college setting.

Student Writing Assignment:

What are students writing? Appellate Briefs.

For whom? An appellate brief is submitted to the court (one or more judges) in order to further the party’s argument, thus serving as an persuasive, advocacy paper.  With this in mind, the brief will explain why the lower court’s decision was either wrong or right.  In this case, the briefs will only be shared with the instructor and the class.

Where would such writing typically be found? Submitted to an appellate court judge.

Why would someone usually read it? Attorneys who argue a case at the appellate level typically submit a “brief” to the court. In a brief, an attorney argues his/her position in the case, putting forth supportive law as well as refuting opposing law. A brief is therefore written as a highly persuasive document.


The are the course deadlines, as they pertain to the Duke Reader Project:

February 1 – cases will be handed out

  • Student’s initiate intro meeting with their reader by Feb. 16, discussing outline.

February 22 – Outlines due (students should share their outlines with their reader at this time as well)

March 29 or April 5 – 1st draft due

  • Students send draft to their reader at same time. 
  • Student’s initiate meeting with their reader to discuss reader feedback on 1st draft  (within a week or 10 days).
  • (Optional) Send another draft to reader for feedback by April 15th, get feedback from reader (written or “live”) before final paper due.

April 26 – final paper due

Syllabus: Syllabus_Educ333_S18

Giving Feedback (general information that will apply to most courses):

Giving feedback is the activity around which the entire project is designed. You may have considerable professional experience giving feedback on writing — whether to colleagues, employees, or other contexts — or perhaps this is an fairly novel experience. Given the aims and nature of the Reader Project, we are hoping that our volunteers engage with student writing in a particular way–one that is quite different from what is conventionally done in other contexts.

The primary aim of the project is to help students really understand what it means to write for readers, rather than as a school assignment. Think about the following when you give feedback, whether in writing or in real time:

  • Respond as a reader rather than as an editor. (They can get basic editorial help from others.) Focus on sharing your reactions to the draft as a user of such writing. What are you thinking as you read? More

Instructor’s notes:

  • What format should be used? A “traditional” appellate brief format will be used with some modifications. Ask the student to clarify the format as explained in class.
  • How will the briefs be evaluated? Briefs will be evaluated on the quality of writing and research, with particular emphasis on the thoroughness of the analysis. The brief should address each and every issue.