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Derek W. Black

University of South Carolina

Derek Black is one of the nation’s foremost experts in education law and policy.  He focuses on educational equality, school funding, the constitutional right to education, segregation, and the federal role in schools. He has published over thirty scholarly articles in the nation’s top legal journals, including the flagship journals at Yale, Stanford, New York University, California-Berkeley, Cornell, Northwestern and Vanderbilt. That work has been cited several times in the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court. It has also drawn him into litigation disputes over school funding and federal policy, where he has served as an expert witness and consultant.

He is currently a Professor of Law at the University of South Carolina, where he holds the Ernest F. Hollings Chair in Constitutional Law and directs the Constitutional Law Center. He began his career in teaching at Howard University School of Law, where he founded and directed the Education Rights Center. Prior to teaching, he litigated education cases at the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.   

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NEPC Publications

NEPC Review: Religious Charter Schools: Legally Permissible? Constitutionally Required? (Manhattan Institute, December 2020)

Nicole Stelle Garnett
Religious Charter Schools: Legally Permissible? Constitutionally Required?

The Manhattan Institute’s recent report concludes that the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue requires states to grant charters to religious organizations, including those that intend to deliver an explicitly religious curriculum that teaches religion as truth. While Espinoza involved a publicly financed private school tuition (voucher-like) program, the report reasons that its logic applies in full force to charter schools as well. Although this report does raise an important question and identifies the key issues for answering it, it excludes key federal and state case law necessary to fully and fairly analyze the issues. Similarly, it fails to acknowledge extensive key expert analysis on matters left unresolved by courts. The result is a one-sided analysis of the issue that is not a reliable basis for state action.

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