EDAD 564: Education Law: Selection of Education Cases & Laws

This guide provides resources and tools for researching education law.

A short list of major cases in Education Law

Court cases cited below are directly quoted from Encyclopedia of Education Law. (2008). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), 349 U.S. 294 (1955).

In May 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ushered in an era that would end the rights of states to mandate the separation of the races in public education.

Lemon v. Kurtzman I, 403 U.S. 602 (I97I).

Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), or “Lemon I,” is best known for its three-part test, which the Supreme Court created to be used in evaluating whether government action violates the Establishment Clause; this provision prohibits the government from making laws “respecting an establishment of religion.” The three parts of the “Lemon test” are that (1) a statute or program must have a secular legislative purpose, (2) its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion, and (3) it must not foster an excessive government entanglement with religion {Lemon, pp. 612-613). This entry examines the background of that decision and succeeding rulings.

Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969).

School officials are often confronted with difficult decisions when student attempts at expression result in disorder or the potential disruption of regular school activities. A fundamental case establishing the free speech and political rights of students in school settings is Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969). The results in Tinker leave school officials with some guidance for regulating student expression. School officials who wish to regulate student expression must be able to demonstrate that student expressive activities would result in material and substantial interference with the operations of the school or invade the rights of others.

Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982).

In the 1982 case of Plyler v. Doe, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on the constitutionality of denying undocumented immigrants access to a free K-12 education. A divided Court issued a 5-to-4 decision, including three concurring opinions and one dissenting opinion. The Court held that Texas education code § 21.031 violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment when it denied schools funding for undocumented children. The opinion emphasized the critical importance of education in our society and the consequences of a complete denial of school access to undocumented immigrants.

Identifying Education Law Cases and Statutes

Background Info on Education Law and Cases

The following sources offer and organized way to search for education law or education cases by topic and case citation. You may find it easier to find information using print resources as a starting point, and then investigating your case further in Westlaw Next Campus Research database, the primary database for researching education law.

Encyclopedia of education law. (2008). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

Education law and legislation: A bibliography with indices. (2009). New York, N.Y.: Nova Science Publishers.

Encyclopedia of law and higher education. (2010). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications.

​Kaufman, M. , & Kaufman, S. (2013). Education law, policy, and practice: Cases and Materials. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

Kemerer, F. , & Sansom, P. (2009). California school law. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford Law Books.

Rossow, L. , & Stefkovich, J. (2015). Education law: Cases and materials. Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press.