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Education Law

The federal government, through the Department of Education, has the main responsibility of providing public education. The government is mandated to make sure that each child, no matter where he or she is located, receives adequate and equal education. Compulsory education laws in the United States was enacted in order to increase literacy and discourage child labor. The Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974 emphasized that states are prohibited from denying education to an individual based on race, color, sex, or nation of origin. Through their different constitutions, states are mandated to maintain and operate a school system where children may receive an education. Most states delegate their power over the school system to a state board of education. Part-and-parcel of education law is the operation of schools and the management of teachers.

Parents, being the main decision-maker as to their children's education, has the right to choose private education for their children. States also regulate private schools but this power is limited because the majority of private schools are religious institutions. Education is also made available for children with special disabilities through through the Individuals with Disabilities Act, which is binding in all states. Moreover, parents also have the right to decide to homeschool their children. States do not provide many services to homeschools but they do allow the students to attend public school cases and participate in public school activities.

One of the common issues arising from education law is discrimination -- whether it is in the form of denying acceptance of a student or teacher. With respect to children, there are cases where children are not accepted in schools because of their religion. Moreover, there are also instances where parents complain of religious intolerance when schools decide to hold activities that are leaning towards one religion, while delineating one student who does practice such religion. Religion is a sensitive issue that is often tread upon in many cases relating to education law. There are also many cases where teachers allege that schools create a hostile work environment forcing them to resign. In other instances, teachers are terminated for filing suits against the school. In addition, most cases relating to teachers arise from their employment. Just like other areas of employment, teachers also suffer from sexual harassment and discrimination when it comes to promotions and wages based on gender. Another issue arising from education law would be the government's slow response or failure to respond to grievances. Court dockets are clogged with education law cases and department agencies are plagued with voluminous administrative complaints that it take time for complaints to be addressed.

Violation of education laws is not a crime, but harm arising from such may entitle the plaintiff damages, especially if such violation resulted to an individual not receive equal opportunity in education.

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