What is Education Law?
Education Law is the area of law that relates to schools, teachers, and the rights of Americans to a public education, as well as standards for those students who attend private schools.
American Right to Education
American laws mandate that every child be given the opportunity to an education. Each state has its own school system, and as a result, there are very different laws among the various states with regard to management of schools, teachers, and funding for public education. However, they are all overseen by the federal government through the Department of Education.
Equal Education Opportunities
There is a strong emphasis on providing equal opportunities for education. This includes both to minorities and historically disadvantaged groups, as well as to those with disabilities. The Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974 provides that no state can deny an equal opportunity to education to any individual on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin. Similarly, for children with disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act establishes a process for evaluating student needs and providing for an education program tailored to that individual. Similarly, most states have their own supplemental laws expanding upon the educational rights of children with special needs.
Education laws also govern the standards for education. State laws primarily set forth the standards for evaluating student achievements and teacher performance, but they are also affected by regulations established by the Department of Education. These laws may include standardized testing, minimum credit hours, required subjects of study, etc.
If you have additional questions about education law, please review the materials below. Additionally, you can contact an attorney in your area for assistance with your question or to help you with a claim or dispute. You may find attorneys specializing in education law by vising our Law Firms page.
Know Your Rights!
- Are Online Degrees Really Valid and Legal?
Whenever jobs become scarce, one of the first industries to see a boost is higher education. In order to compete, many job seekers return to college (or go for the first time) to get a degree in a particular career field in order to better be able to compete for jobs.
- Education Rights for Children with Special Needs
Children with such special needs often require and are entitled to receive special services and reasonable accommodations through the public schools.
Department of Education by State
Education Law - US
- Center for Law and Education
The Center for Law and Education (CLE) strives to make the right of all students to quality education a reality throughout the nation and to help enable communities to address their own public education problems effectively, with an emphasis on assistance to low-income students and communities. For more than a quarter of a century, the Center for Law and Education has worked to bring about school- and district-wide change across the country in order to improve educational outcomes, particularly for low-income students
- Education Law - Overview
One government function is education, which is administered through the public school system by the Department of Education. The states, however, have primary responsibility for the maintenance and operation of public schools. The Federal Government also has an interest in education. The National Institute of Education was created to improve education in the United States.
- Education Law Association
The Education Law Association is a national, nonprofit association offering unbiased information about current legal issues affecting education and the rights of those involved in education in both public and private K-12 schools, universities, and colleges. Our members represent three distinct contingency groups: Attorneys, Professors, and School Administrators.
- Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (Pub.L. 89-10, 79 Stat. 27, 20 U.S.C. ch.70) is a United States federal statute enacted April 11, 1965. The Act is an extensive statute which funds primary and secondary education, while explicitly forbidding the establishment of a national curriculum. As mandated in the Act, the funds are authorized for professional development, instructional materials, resources to support educational programs, and parental involvement promotion. The Act was originally authorized through 1970, however the government has reauthorized the Act every five years since its enactment. The current reauthorization of ESEA is the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
- Federal Pell Grant Program
The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students to promote access to postsecondary education. Students may use their grants at any one of approximately 5,400 participating postsecondary institutions. Grant amounts are dependent on: the student's expected family contribution (EFC) (see below); the cost of attendance (as determined by the institution); the student's enrollment status (full-time or part-time); and whether the student attends for a full academic year or less.
- Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010
The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (Pub.L. 111-152) is a law that was enacted by the 111th United States Congress, by means of the reconciliation process, in order to make changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Pub.L. 111-148). It was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2010. The law also includes the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which was attached as a rider. However, small technical parts of the bill relating to Pell Grants were removed during the reconciliation process.
- Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law enacted in 1990 and reauthorized in 1997. It is designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities by ensuring that everyone receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE), regardless of ability. Furthermore, IDEA strives not only to grant equal access to students with disabilities, but also to provide additional special education services and procedural safeguards.
- National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)
The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), located within the U.S. Department of Education and the Institute of Education Sciences, is the primary federal entity for collecting and analyzing data related to education.
- National Library of Education (NLE)
The National Library of Education (NLE) serves as the federal government's primary resource center for education information, providing collections and information services to the public, education community and other government agencies on current and historical programs, activities and publications of the U.S. Department of Education; federal education policy; and education research and statistics. In addition to on-site access, the Library's services are available by phone, Internet, fax and mail.
- State Profiles - The Nation's Report Card
State Profiles presents key data about each state's performance in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) in mathematics, reading, writing, and science for grades 4 and 8. Quickly see how a state performed over time, view a state’s demographics, download snapshot reports, and compare each state’s overall performance to the nation and each other.
- Teacher Policy Research (TPR)
Teacher Policy Research (TPR) is a research partnership that examines the behavior of teachers and administrators with the goal of developing policies that will both attract and retain high-quality teachers and leaders, especially in low-performing schools.
- The White House - Education Policy
Providing a high-quality education for all children is critical to America’s economic future. Our nation’s economic competitiveness and the path to the American Dream depend on providing every child with an education that will enable them to succeed in a global economy that is predicated on knowledge and innovation. President Obama is committed to providing every child access to a complete and competitive education, from cradle through career.
- US Department of Education (ED)
The mission of the Department of Education is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.
Education Law - International
- EU Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning (CRELL)
The Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning based on indicators and benchmarks (CRELL) was established in order to gather expertise in the field of indicator-based evaluation and monitoring of education and training systems. CRELL combines fields of economics, econometrics, education, social sciences and statistics in an interdisciplinary approach to research.
- European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education
The European Agency for Development in Special Needs Education is an independent and self-governing organisation, established by our member countries to act as their platform for collaboration in the field of special needs education.
- European Commission - Education and Training
Education is a primary concern of government in all European countries, but the structures of education systems differ considerably, both within and between countries. There is a great variety of responsibilities in Europe for the funding, management and evaluation of education and training. There are different approaches to private and specialist schools, apprenticeship and vocational training, higher and further education, examinations and qualifications.
- UNICEF - Basic Education and Gender Equality Rights
Achieving the goal of universal education will require a universal commitment. If all the children on earth – including the most vulnerable, excluded and marginalized – are to realize their right to a quality, rights-based education, all sectors of society must be energized, engaged, and committed to action.
- United Nations Girls' Education Initiative (UNGEI)
For too many girls, the basic human right to education is denied. In countries across the world, crippling poverty, long distances to school, and social norms promoting gender inequality prevent girls from learning. In response to this troubling reality, the United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI), a partnership of organizations dedicated to promoting girls’ education, was launched in 2000 at the World Education Forum in Dakar by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
Organizations Related to Education Law
- American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)
The American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) is dedicated to the belief that lifelong learning contributes to human fulfillment and positive social change. We envision a more humane world made possible by the diverse practice of our members in helping adults acquire the knowledge, skills and values needed to lead productive and satisfying lives.
- American Association of School Administrators
The mission of the American Association of School Administrators is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children.
- Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted.
- Council on Law in Higher Education (CLHE)
Council on Law in Higher Education (CLHE) is an independent nonprofit organization designed for higher education leaders that want to stay informed of public policy and legal issues.
- Home School Legal Defense Association (HSDLA)
Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed.
- National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
The mission of the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) is to lead in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle level principals and other education leaders in their commitment to all children.
- National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
NASSP is the preeminent organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders from across the United States and more than 45 countries
- National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL)
NCFL’s mission is to create a literate nation by leveraging the power of the family. Family literacy is an intergenerational approach based on the indisputable evidence that low literacy is an unfortunate and debilitating family tradition. Parents who are not literate tend to have children who struggle academically and who often do not achieve literacy proficiency in adulthood.
- National School Board Association (NSBA)
The National School Boards Association is a not-for-profit Federation of state associations of school boards across the United States. Its mission is to foster excellence and equity in public education through school board leadership. NSBA achieves that mission by representing the school board perspective before federal government agencies and with national organizations that affect education, and by providing vital information and services to state associations of school boards and local school boards throughout the nation.
TERI, The Education Resources Institute, Inc., is the most experienced and largest nonprofit guarantor of private loans for education. TERI is also a leader in providing college access programs that help people identify and achieve their postsecondary goals.
- University Professional and Continuing Education Association
In today's fast-paced, rapidly changing environment, the University Continuing Education Association serves as an important resource to the profession. Its members rely on the Association for timely, cross-disciplinary perspectives on pressing concerns as well as for strategies that can help them respond to the growing population of adults and non-traditional students seeking continuous learning opportunities.
Articles on HG.org Related to Education Law
- How Much Contact Should Children Legally Be Allowed to Have With Their Teachers?What has been perceived as a rash of inappropriate teacher-student relationships has led to some interesting new legal territory. Concerned about interaction between teachers and students, a number of jurisdictions have passed laws variously prohibiting social media contact to physical contact (such as hugging or spanking). So, how much contact should children and teachers have with one another?
- Are Online Degrees Really Valid and Legal?Whenever jobs become scarce, one of the first industries to see a boost is higher education. In order to compete, many job seekers return to college (or go for the first time) to get a degree in a particular career field in order to better be able to compete for jobs. Unfortunately, there are a few unscrupulous institutions that take advantage of those in this position, selling replica degrees from actual universities or offering degree programs despite lacking any accreditation.
- Anti-Bullying Laws in AmericaMillions of Americans experienced bullying at some point as a child. I personally experienced bullying between 5th and 8th grade when I went through a phase where I stopped growing up as much as out for a few years. Psychologically, I saw myself as a short, fat kid for years after, well into college when I was actually 6'3” tall and well built. The effects of bullying can be damaging and long lasting.
- Stuck With Unaffordable Student Loans, Now What?Every year, millions of students are convinced to take on student loans with promises of huge salaries upon graduation, but often the reality is a bit different and these same students are left with an enormous debt and little or no means of repayment. Indeed, these debts can last for decades.
- Education Rights for Children with Special NeedsOne of the most difficult situations for parents with special needs children can be ensuring that those children get the education to which they are entitled. Some children experience difficulties in school, ranging from problems with concentration, learning, language, and perception to problems with behavior and/or making and keeping friends. Others have more serious problems, including physical or psychiatric disorders, emotional problems, or learning disorders.
- Drug Convictions Disqualify Student Financial Aid ApplicantsPeople with a one drug possession conviction lose Student Financial Aid eligibility for one year from conviction date. People with two drug possession convictions or one drug sales/delivery conviction lose eligibility for two years. Those with three drug possession convictions or two drug sales convictions are ineligible indefinitely.
- California School’s Duty to Report AbuseIn California, the responsibility of school employees to report suspicion of child abuse is not only a component of a person’s moral compass, it’s the law. Communities rely on places like institutions of education to provide an element of safety for children, and teachers and administrators are assumed to uphold that expectation.
- Teacher Loses Job, Heads to Prison for DWI CrashMost often, when a teacher is charged with a criminal offense, their job is in jeopardy. A tenured teacher facing disciplinary and possible dismissal from employment must endure a 3020a hearing. Robert J. Thompson, 38, a Schuylerville school teacher resigned from his job and will serve a prison sentence of 1 to 3 years after pleading guilty to vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated.
- Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection ActIllinois passed the Illinois False Claims Act (IFCA), previously called the “Illinois Whistleblower Reward and Protection Act,” in 1991. The IFCA models the Federal False Claims Act (FCA), but is different is some aspects. 1]—Liability and Damages Provisions - Generally, an individual will be liable under the IFCA for the same violations as the federal FCA.
- Massachusetts High Court Extends Retaliation Protection to Former EmployeesOn May 12, 2011, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”) upheld a trial court ruling that an employer who filed a baseless lawsuit against a former employee, two years after that employee had filed a discrimination charge against the employer with the MCAD, violated the anti-retaliation provisions of Massachusetts General Law chapter 151B, §§4(4) and (4A).
- All Education Law Articles
Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Education Law.