Welcome Letter

The International School Choice and Reform Conference (ISCRC) is an academic conference that gathers scholars who study various forms of school choice, systemic reform and educational innovation. This includes scholarship on how school choice is enacted, the mechanisms that structure school choice programs, and both the individual and systemic outcomes of school choice and reform. To the greatest extent possible, ISCRC includes multiple perspectives. Some of the research is more supportive of various forms of school choice while other research has a more critical stance. Still others favor one form of choice while opposing other forms of choice. They are connected by the goal of using quality research to shed light on how school choice policies actually work.

Initially founded by the leaders of the Journal of School Choice and Reform, the ISCRC has grown into an important forum for the examination of forms of education which serve as alternatives to traditional public schools. Its primary goal is to act as a means whereby scholars and practitioners can come together in small groups to identify unanswered issues related to school choice and reform and to identify areas of possible collaboration.

The European Association for Education Law and Policy (ELA) is an independent association, with its head office in Antwerp.

Education and the Law is the motto of the Association. Education law means constructing, block by block, the foundation that will support educational rights in all nations and for all peoples and individuals. The importance of the law notwithstanding, its members are aware of the relative value of each legal principle, whether it is founded on a convention or on some other legal source. ELA aims to encourage progress in educational rights by promoting the right to education as a right, by elaborating education law as a discipline and by actively supporting every serious effort made toward the gradual and progressive codification of educational rights and educational legislation.

Education and education law have traditionally been matters of national interest. However, during the last decades the increasing mobility of students and staff has given rise to a growing interest in the education systems of other countries. At the same time, education systems throughout Europe (and elsewhere) have been confronted with major problems, such as the integration of minorities into the education system, budget cuts and so on.

In line with the European Union’s aim to develop a European Education Policy, those confronted with such problems are increasingly looking to other education systems for solutions. There is therefore a growing need for information and debate on such issues, which the European Association for Education Law and Policy (ELA) seeks to address. In response to these challenges, leading European Professors (in education law, constitutional law and international law) and educational policy makers founded, in December 1993, the European Association for Education Law and Policy.

Housed at the University of Antwerp, ELA is a university-wide association, drawing upon faculty, staff and researchers from all over Europe, the Russian Federation, South Africa and the United States. Recently, ELA has been opened to other disciplines in order to bridge the gaps between disciplines, pulling together top minds who, in collaboration with colleagues throughout the world, are looking for solutions and cross-disciplinary approaches to the challenges posed by contemporary development and changes in education.

2019 marks a banner year for the ISCRC and the ELA.  We are taking the Conference “on the road” and holding it in Lisbon, Portugal; ISCRC’s first meeting outside the United States and the first joint conference every held by ISCRC and ELA.  In order both to allow participants to return in time for the beginning of the Spring semester and to provide some sightseeing opportunities for those who want to bring their families, the Conference will be held on January 10-13, 2019. The joint conference will be headquartered at the Pestana Pousada de Lisboa Hotel.

The Conference emphasizes:


Please notice that the deadline for the submission of papers or symposia is Friday, August 3, 2018. We call your attention to an innovative category, Critical Conversations and Networking, which will appear for the first time this year.

Overseas presenters are eligible for a travel subsidy (historically USD 1200). Details related to the 2019 subsidy will be published after the August submission deadline. In 2017, approximately 95% of those applying for the subsidy received awards.

Robert Fox and Jan De Groof, for the ISCRC Planning Committee and the ELA Board:

Antonio Pedro Barbas Homem, Universidade Europa & University of Lisbon School of Law
Nina Buchanan, University of Hawaii
Nihad Bunar, Universitet Stockholms
Marisa Cannata, Vanderbilt University
Jan De Groof, College of Europe & National Research University HSE-Moscow
Anna Egalite, North Carolina State University
Robert Fox, University of Hawaii
Keri Hunter, EdChoice
Triin Lauri, Tallinn University School of Governance
Robert Maranto, University of Arkansas
Yongmei Ni, University of Utah
Rodrigo Queirez e Melo, Universidad Católica Portuguesa
Benjamin Scafidi, Kennesaw State University
Chris Torres, Michigan State University
Kurt Willems, Catholic University of Leuven
Patrick Wolf, University of Arkansas

Piet Akkermans (Rector of the College of Europe)
Jan De Groof – President (Belgium – College of Europe)
Antonio Barbas Homem (Portugal – University of Lisbon)
Walter Berka (Austria – Universität Salzburg)
Germain Dondelinger (Luxemburg – Ministère de la Culture de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche)
Antonio Embid Irujo (Spain – Universidad de Zaragoza)
Theodore Fortsakis (Greece – University of Athens)
Hans Peter Füssel (Germany – Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Charles Glenn (USA – Boston University)
Dympna Glendenning (Ireland)
Stig Klingstedt (Norway)
Gracienne Lauwers (Belgium – Free University of Brussels)
André Legrand (France – University Paris X-Nanterre)
Paul Meredith (United Kingdom – University of Southampton)
Frank Nordberg (Sweden – National Agency for Higher Education)
Ben Vermeulen (Netherlands – Free University Amsterdam)
Paul Zoontjens (Netherlands – Tilburg University)