Education as an American right?

col - Underwood|

    Federal law in the U.S. has never recognized a right to public education. But Congress or the Supreme Court might be sympathetic to an argument for educational rights based on the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of the rights of citizenship. The right to an education is guaranteed by international law in the Universal Declaration [...]

School districts control teachers’ classroom speech 

col - Underwood|

  School boards set the curriculum for schools, and they have the legal right to decide what materials and speech are appropriate for the classroom.  Teachers face particular challenges when they are teaching political or controversial topics in classrooms. They must navigate a narrow passage between delivering the curriculum as required by their local board of education [...]

When federal and state laws differ: The case of private schools and the IDEA

col - Underwood|

  On the provision of special education services for students attending private schools, state laws may grant rights that federal regulations do not. In education, the federal government takes a back seat to the states. The U.S. Constitution does not give Congress authority over education, which means Congress cannot directly regulate education. But Congress does [...]

Kneeling during the national anthem: At schools, it’s protected speech

col - Underwood|

By Julie Underwood If high school football players — or other public school athletes — choose to “take a knee” during upcoming competitions, the First Amendment will support their action. NFL football differs from public high school football in many ways. Different rules apply — and not just different rules of play. As employees, professional [...]

The privacy of a student’s backpack

col - Underwood|

  Does a student have a reasonable expectation of privacy when he leaves a backpack behind? Is the school behaving reasonably when personnel open an unattended backpack? School personnel must often balance a student’s right to privacy with a school’s interest in protecting all students. A recent decision by the Ohio Supreme Court brings to [...]

An interesting year of cases in the U.S. Supreme Court

col - Underwood|

    A number of recent Supreme Court decisions are likely to have significant implications for K-12 education. By Julie Underwood One thing about being a U.S. Supreme Court watcher is that it is never dull. Recently, for example, we’ve seen an unexpected vacancy caused by the death of the noted and highly visible Justice [...]

Mixing guns and schools

col - Underwood, featureblog|

Schools are subject to an often-conflicting array of gun regulations from three levels of government. Educators and parents want schools to be safe places for children. And as the PDK national poll has shown, parents overwhelmingly believe that their children are safe at school. But tragedies do occur, such as the mass murders at Columbine [...]

The transgender question: What are schools to do? 

col - Underwood, featureblog|

As the debate goes on, schools must protect students and comply with the law.  Over the past six months, considerable media and legal attention have been focused on the rights of transgender students in public schools. Last month, a Kappan article, “Seven reasons for accommodating transgender students at school,” tackled the arguments against providing transgender students access [...]

Student online speech rights on and off campus

col - Underwood, featureblog|

  If off-campus online speech presents the likelihood of a disruption on campus, administrators can respond by disciplining the responsible students. Students do not “shed their rights to freedom of speech and expression at the schoolhouse gate.” — Tinker v. Des Moines, 393 U.S. 503 (1969) Nearly 50 years ago, Justice Abe Fortas penned those [...]

You say ‘records,’ and I say ‘data’

col - Underwood|

FERPA, the most widely used federal education law, has not kept pace with changing times.  FERPA — the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act — is one of the most commonly encountered education laws in the U.S. Any educational institution that receives federal funds must follow FERPA mandates, so the law touches almost every institution [...]

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