From a Career in Criminal Justice to Legal Advocacy for Charter Schools

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Black hands clasped with legal scales

When I became a prosecutor in Washington, D.C. after law school, I became disheartened with what I saw in the criminal justice system and the high rates of mostly Black men entering the system. Black men, like myself.

I believed—still believe—that if they had just benefited from positive and supportive circumstances at an earlier age, entire families and communities would have gained from those investments. Instead, their communities were bereft of the potential each of them possessed to become pillars and positive role models for successive generations. I became motivated to explore solutions that would address the root of the problem rather than the end result, namely enhanced K-12 educational opportunities.

To oversimplify it, that is why I was attracted to working in the legal field of the public charter school sector. It endeavors to address historic educational imbalances and provides disadvantaged students who are predominately Black and Latino with high-quality public educational options.

In my mind, it's about much more than education; it's about the pursuit of social justice and equity. For more on my journey, read the full blog post on Justis Connection.


Robert Reed, Jr., is the vice president of legal affairs at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.