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Mind the Gap: Exploring Selected Areas of American Inequality

This course will explore the equity of resource distribution and opportunity in the United States in the 21st century. We will explore and evaluate the common critique that the contemporary structure of various entities (such as schools, courts, andnthe legislature) contributes to increased inequality. Some of the likely topics to be covered in class, along with their concomitant impact on equity, include: language and identity; trade-offs between equality of opportunity and equality of outcome; stereotype threat; felon disenfranchisement; labor market inequality; urban vs. rural poverty; the erosion of mental health services; and how factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, and income can contribute to academic achievement gaps. The class will explore the substantive issues related to equality and inequality as well develop written and oral skills for advocacy, including drafting op-eds, position papers, and other written materials and preparing for oral presentations. Each student will be responsible for leading at least one class at San Quentin State Prison to a mixed class composed of Stanford and San Quentin prisoner students. Students will be also be expected to write weekly reflection papers in response to the assigned reading and to attend and participate heavily in each class discussion; they will also be expected to edit and provide individual feedback on the written assignments of the San Quentin students. In addition, attendance at a one day training conducted by the Prison University Project is mandatory. Class will meet on Fridays from 3:00 - 5:00pm. Grades will be based on a combination of active class participation and preparation, consistent attendance, and several written assignments. CONSENT APPLICATION: To apply for this course, students must complete and e-mail the Consent Application Form to the instructors; the form is available on the SLS Registrar's Office website (See Registration and then Law Students). See Consent Application Form for submission deadline.

Instructors for this course (Past and Present)

Robert Weisberg