Special Education Laws, Impacts

Special education laws have had a substantial impact on bilingual special education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), originally passed in 1975 and reauthorized in 2004, governs special education services in public schools. The law protects the rights of students with disabilities and their families and tries to ensure that ELLs are assessed fairly. The law includes numerous provisions outlined below.

1. Informed consent: Schools must obtain written informed consent from parents or guardians to evaluate a student. Parents must be fully informed of their rights, any records to be released and to whom, and the nature and purpose of the evaluation. Parents or guardians must be informed in their native language or primary mode of communication.

2. Multidisciplinary team: Students should be assessed by a team of professionals with varied areas of expertise according to the student’s individuals needs. The team should include at least one general education teacher and one special education teacher. For English language learners, the team should include someone with expertise in the language acquisition process.

3. Comprehensive evaluation: Before an initial placement, the multidisciplinary team must conduct a complete assessment in all areas of suspected disability. No single procedure can be used as the sole criterion for determining an appropriate educational program for a child. Alternative procedures should be used when standardized tests are not considered appropriate (e.g., with culturally and linguistically diverse students). A comprehensive evaluation should include an analysis of the instructional setting and the child’s instructional history.

4. Exclusionary criteria: A student should not be labeled if the academic struggles are primarily the result of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage. IDEA 2004 adds that a child should not be found to have a disability if the determinant factor is poor instruction in reading or math, or limited English proficiency.

5. Nondiscriminatory assessment: Assessments should be (a) selected and administered so as not to be racially or culturally discriminatory; (b) provided and administered in the child’s native language or other mode of communication and in the form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally, unless it is clearly not feasible; (c) used for the purposes for which the assessments are valid and reliable; (d) administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel; and (e) administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of the assessments.

Making Sure No Child is Left Behind – Education Law Degree

While I do not have a law degree, working in education has allowed me to cross paths with education lawyers on numerous occasions. I found the issues they deal with on a daily basis to be both noble and challenging.

What is Education Law?

Education law deals with schools, school systems and school boards charged with educating children. It is a branch of civil law that encompasses the laws and regulations that govern federal and state education, administration and operation of educational institutions, school athletics and education programs, methods and materials.

What do Education Lawyers do?

Education lawyers work very closely with school faculty, staff, students and administration. They spend their time going over issues such as discipline, suspension, expulsion and discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex and disability. Additionally, education lawyer’s deal with questions related to school attendance, authority, civil rights, dress codes, drugs, disability, home schooling, immigrant visas, medical requirements, sexual harassment, and special education rights. As you can see, the span of topics coming across the desk of an education lawyer is impressive.

Careers in Education Law

Given that the span of topic covered by this area of the law is quite broad, so are the career opportunities. With an education law degree you could represent post-secondary educational institutions and institutions of higher learning in a number of different matters. Your clients could include a number of colleges, universities as well as school districts.

While representing these education institutions you would work on issues involving discrimination, disability, financial aid, and accreditation and licensing issues facing schools, staff and teachers/professors. Additionally, you could represent individuals, parents or students as well as teachers, professor and school employees on similar issues.

Job Outlook

Education law, and the lawyers that practice it, will continue to be a part of the education system. They are a necessity tasked with ensuring that every student has a fair and equal access to education.

According to the Department of Labor Statistics, employment of lawyers is expected to grow 11% during 2006-2016, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The increased demands for legal services will result in increased job opportunities. However, due to a large number of students graduating from law school, competition for jobs is quite intense. Those with strong academic records will have the best job opportunities.

Educational Law

Grace Victor is working as a law teacher at East Willow high school in Newborn, Georgia.

I love teaching law. I completed my degree in law, and preferred to work as a teacher rather than becoming a lawyer. Its not that I have anything against legal practice, but it’s just that I prefer teaching. My dad always wanted me to be a teacher. So it was always my dream to be a teacher. When I enrolled into Law College, I wanted to learn law- not to practice it, but to teach it.

Education law deals with laws regarding colleges, universities and schools. School systems vary from state to state. The department of education administers public school working. In the United States, education is offered by public sector. The financial resources are received from 3 levels: local level, state level, and federal level. It is compulsory for children to get educated. The school policies like teaching, funding etc are determined by school boards that are locally elected. You can teach your kids at private or public schools. Or if you want, you can teach them at an approved home school program.

Education in US is generally categorized in 3 levels: high school, middle school, and elementary school. After these levels, comes college education, or post secondary education. There is a powerful concern regarding equality of education. You cannot discriminate your students based on their national origin, sex, color, or race. This has been stated in the Equal Education Opportunities Act (1974).

Parents are given a right to choose the best school for their kids. If they want, they can send their kids to private schools. However, these private schools are also regulated by state laws. According to the Establishment clause, these schools operate on their own funding, and no government funding is provided to them.

Apart from these schools, there are special schools for kids with disabilities. First, the special needs of the child are assessed, and accordingly, based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, he or she is sent to a special school.

In case you do not want your child to attend schooling from outside, you can home school him or her, but it requires a lot of time and attention. If you want to home school your child, you need to register with the department of education.

Educating your children is very easy in United States, and government has made full provisions that each and every child is educated.