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American Public Education Law Primer


David C. Bloomfield

This clear, readable introductory text for undergraduate and graduate Education Law courses or modules offers a practical guide to everyday problems such as student expression, discipline, religion, curriculum, social media, privacy, charter schools, discrimination, special education, and more. Features include distinctions among school, district, state, and federal law; the Facts and Find research method; the Cascade approach to the American legal system; lobbying advice; and the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the replacement to No Child Left Behind. Written by the ex-Counsel to the New York City Board of Education and a graduate of Columbia University Law School, American Public Education Law Primer is more than an academic text, presenting the real world of Education Law to benefit professionals, parents, and the general public.
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This unique book provides an introduction to American public education law for college and graduate students, educators, and parents. Rather than merely rehashing the canon of Supreme Court case law on public education, the book draws on typical fact patterns that everyone in the field will recognize: curriculum decisions; student dress and discipline; inequitable treatment based on race, sex, or handicapping condition; child abuse; teacher firings; school board conduct; and more. Analysis of these facts through various local, state, and federal legal sources—constitutional, statutory, regulatory, and judicial—yields a comprehensive, practical introduction to American public education law that is both understandable and sophisticated. This is how lawyers really work and how the wise educator or parent can best become legally informed and active.

The first chapter presents the innovative “Cascade of American Public Education Law.” This helpful metaphor elegantly frames our myriad sources of law within a single concept. American law cascades from the Constitution, downward to state and federal legislative enactments, to regulations, to the regulatory guidance that drives so many real-world decisions. Each level requires consistency with provisions “upriver,” giving coherence to a legal system that often seems fractured and chaotic. The courts, with their own cascade of powers, apply their own precedents and interpret laws created by the other branches of government. The interplay of these forces (“the Cascade Game”) has profound implications for practitioners who want to control their legal destinies. Finally, the chapter provides ← ix | x → a helpful...

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