IDEA, ESSA, IEPs, ADA, FERPA, FAPE, ESY, RTI — acronyms for various education laws and acts form a virtual alphabet soup. What do they mean? How do these and other laws affect your daily role as a teacher or principal? Issues relating to discrimination, harassment, bullying, mediation, privacy and records, progress monitoring, transition, intervention, and much more affect the daily lives of teachers and leaders in every school.
According to Georgetown Law School, "Education law involves a diverse range of issues from representing children with poor access to education to special education law to education reform. American laws mandate that every child be given the opportunity to an education." Teachers and school leaders can all benefit from an understanding of the local, state and federal laws that affect the management of schools, teachers and funding for public schools.
School Administrators and Education Law
Every day, teachers, principals and administrators face situations, questions and issues that fall under one law or another. What's the limit on homework? Can a teacher refuse to teach a student? Who qualifies for free meals? What are the latest laws on bullying? Cyberbullying? What about high school athletics and training in the heat? School safety? The right to wear religious, ceremonial, traditional tribal regalia? The list is endless. High school principals are expected to be aware of federal, state and local laws and how to apply them.
Teachers, staff, students and parents all look to the principal for guidance in understanding and applying education law to the everyday operation of their school. Laws exist to help make the educational environment safe, fair, positive, inclusive and effective. Laws that govern education may apply to public, charter and/or private schools.
Timely and Pertinent Course on Education Law
Dr. Tim Marshall, associate professor of education at Emporia State University (ESU), teaches Education Law and Regulations as well as the Practicum in Educational Administration. The law course is part of ESU's Master of Science in Educational Administration program. Dr. Marshall says, "I continue to get feedback from students saying they wish they had this knowledge as a teacher, let alone as an administrator." His course makes full use of online discussion boards for students to interact with one another and with him. They learn to apply the knowledge they acquire in school situations.
Dr. Marshall's course on education law is just one of the courses in ESU's Master of Science in Educational Administration online program. Other courses include School Leadership Theory, Cultural Influences & Educational Practice, School Systems Management, and Supporting Technology Integration for School Leaders. This 100-percent-online program consists of 33 credit hours and can be completed in as few as 12 months.
The goal of the program is to provide you with the professional knowledge and expertise you need to become a school principal or athletic director in schools at PreK-12 grade levels.
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