2018 Race and the Law Symposium

No Child Left Behind: The Intersection Between Race & Education in Chicago

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
11:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom, 10th Floor
Chicago, Illinois

Program Brochure (PDF)

About the Symposium:
Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s Race and the Law Symposium is designed to raise awareness of the legal issues affecting minority communities. This symposium seeks to explore the intersections of race and education in the city of Chicago. Although the Supreme Court held in San Antonio Indep. School Dist. v. Rodriguez that education is not a fundamental right, the importance of education in American society is undisputed. In Chicago, every student does not have access to a quality education. The lack of funding provided to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has been a historic battle. As of 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported that CPS students, who are 90% of color, and make up 20 percent of state enrollment, only receive 15 percent of state funding.  The Black Law Students Association’s 2018 Race and Law Symposium will address topics surrounding school funding, passage of state legislation, community organizing, school to prison pipeline, and more.

This Symposium has been approved by the Illinois MCLE Board for 1.5 hours of General MCLE Credit.

Registration and Contact:
Please register by emailing Amber Carpenter at acarpenter6@luc.edu


11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Registration & Lunch

12:00 pm – 12:15 pm
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Professor Neil Williams
Loyola University Chicago School of Law

12:15-12:50 pm
Featured Speaker Address
Dr. Teresa Ramos
Advance Illinois

12:50 – 1:00 pm

1:00 pm – 1:45 pm
Dr. Patricia Davis McCann
Formerly of Chicago Public Schools

Jamel Greer
Franczek Radelet P.C.

Ariel Johnson
Illinois Network of Charter Schools

Michelle Mbekeani-Wiley
Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Demarco Pitre
Rodney D. Joslin Perspectives Charter School

Rupa Ramadurai
Illinois State Board of Education, Office of the General Counsel

Moderator: Professor Miranda B. Johnson
Loyola University Chicago School of Law

1:45 pm – 1:55 pm
Q & A

1:55 pm – 2:00 pm
Closing Remarks

Featured Speaker

Dr. Teresa Ramos
Teresa Ramos is the Director of Community Engagement for Advance Illinois, a statewide education advocacy organization promoting a public education system that prepares all students for college, career, and democratic citizenship.  Her primary roles include building coalitions, engaging community in policy advocacy, and community building that strengthens public schools in Illinois. In that role she built and managed the Funding Illinois’ Future coalition and campaign that changed school funding in Illinois and cofounded the Illinois 60 by 25 Network, an emerging collective-impact network of community organizations committed to seeing 60 percent of all Illinois residents with a post-high school degree or credential by 2025.

Prior to joining Advance Illinois, Ms. Ramos was a community organizer for Organization of the NorthEast—now ONE Northside, and managed the Grow Your Own teachers program.  In 2012 Teresa completed her Ph.D. in anthropology focused on institutionalized racism, school culture and educational policy, with a minor in Latina/Latino studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I).


Dr. Patricia Davis McCann
Dr. Patricia McCann recently retired from Chicago Public Schools after 20 years as a Principal at Benjamin E. Mays Academy. Dr. McCann has spent her 40 year career in education working in communities of color such as Cabrini Green, North Lawndale, Ida B. Wells, and Englewood communities. Her past roles have included early childhood education, elementary education, high school guidance counseling, and as an administrator for CPS. Dr. McCann earned her advanced degrees from Iowa Wesleyan College, Chicago State University, and Argosy University.

Jamel Greer
Jamel A. R. Greer is an associate in the Education Law Practice Group at Franczek Radelet P.C. His practice includes property tax litigation, real estate matters, collective bargaining, employment law, school business operations, and general counseling. Mr. Greer serves as co-chair of the firm’s Associate Development Committee and is also a member of the firm’s Diversity Committee. Jamel graduated from Loyola Chicago School of Law in 2014 with certificates in Public Interest and Advocacy. Since graduating, Mr. Greer remains actively engaged with his alma mater, serving as Chair of Loyola’s Leadership Circle and coaching Loyola’s Frederick Douglass Moot Court team with his wife, Johanne Verpil-Greer.

Ariel Johnson
Ariel Johnson is the director of Government Affairs for the Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS).  INCS is an Illinois education reform nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of the charter sector, provides support to charter schools, and influences education policy for the benefit of all public school students. Ms. Johnson earned her BA in English and Philosophy from John Carroll University and her JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Professor Miranda B. Johnson
Miranda Johnson is the director of the Education Law and Policy Institute. In this role, she works closely with Dean Michael Kaufman to effectuate the Institute’s goals in the areas of curriculum development, research and outreach, and educational advocacy. She teaches the Education Law Practicum and other educational law courses. Professor Johnson completed a joint law and policy degree program, obtaining a JD, magna cum laude, from New York University School of Law and a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Michelle Mbekeani-Wiley
Michelle Mbekeani-Wiley is a staff attorney at the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. There she focuses on police reform within schools, voting rights, and criminal and juvenile justice reform. Michelle authored a report, Handcuffs and Hallways, which analyzed Chicago Public Schools’ use of Chicago Police Officers inside their schools. Ms. Mbekeani-Wiley received her JD from the University of Chicago Law School. As a former Émigré Memorial German Fellow, Ms. Mbekeani-Wiley worked for Germany’s State Parliament in the Department of Education and Integration advocating for primary/secondary language assistance programs for immigrant children in Germany. She earned her BA from Stony Brook University in German Language and Literature, Political Science, and Middle Eastern Studies. In 2017, Ms. Mbekeani-Wiley was awarded Crain’s Chicago Business 20 in their 20s award.

Demarco Pitre
Demarco Pitre is a teacher at Rodney D. Joslin Perspectives Charter School. Mr. Pitre teaches 9th grade literature, 10th grade literature, AP Literature, and AP English Language and Composition. Before becoming a teacher at Rodney D. Joslin Perspectives School, Mr. Pitre taught in Chicago for the Teach for America Program. Mr. Pitre graduated from Morehouse College.

Rupa Ramadurai
Rupa Ramadurai currently serves as assistant general counsel, in the Office of the General Counsel at the Illinois State Board of Education. In this capacity, Ms. Ramadurai has supported the Special Education Services Division, Nutrition, Regulatory & Wellness, Quality School Options, and Title Grants. Ms. Ramadurai is a 2014 graduate of Loyola University School of Law, and was a Civitas Child Law Fellow. Prior to law school, Rupa was a high school intensive reading teacher, and continues to work with high school students in her free time, through a program called Minds Matter.