Special Education Law

IDEA. The Americans with Disabilities Act. Learn more about what laws govern special education and how they affect schools and students
People gather as the Supreme Court begins its new term and to hear the first arguments, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022. Monday's session is also the first time new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the court's first Black female justice, will participate. And it's the first time the public will be able to attend since the court closed in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
People gather for the first day of the U.S. Supreme Court's new term Oct. 3, the first time the public was able to attend since the court closed in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Special Education The Supreme Court Will Decide a Significant Special Education Case
The justices will decide whether families must exhaust special education proceedings when they seek money damages under other federal laws.
Mark Walsh, October 3, 2022
4 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on Aug. 5, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks at a White House briefing in August 2021. The U.S. Department of Education has just released guidance on protecting students with disabilities from discriminatory discipline practices.
Susan Walsh/AP
Special Education New Discipline Guidance Focuses on Discrimination Against Students With Disabilities
The Biden administration aims to clarify how federal law protects students with disabilities.
Libby Stanford, July 19, 2022
6 min read
Conceptual Illustration of Government taking a big chunk of the money
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Education Funding 7 Ways the Federal Government Shortchanges K-12 Schools
Districts haven't gotten the help they need and expect on infrastructure, high-need students, special education, school meals, and more.
Mark Lieberman, July 12, 2022
9 min read
A paraprofessional guides a student back to his gym class while participating in remote learning at his home in Wharton, N.J.
Paraprofessional Jessica Wein guides Josh Nazzaro back to his gym class while participating in remote learning at his home in Wharton, N.J., in 2020. New research adds to long-standing critiques of federal funding for special education.
Seth Wenig/AP
Special Education What the Research Says Federal Special Ed. Funding Is Woefully Inequitable, New Studies Show
Outdated funding formulas continue to widen gaps that shortchange students with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, researchers say.
Mark Lieberman, June 1, 2022
5 min read
A staff member holds the door open for kids on the first day of school at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas on Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020.
A staff member holds the door open at Goodwin Frazier Elementary School in New Braunfels, Texas in 2020. This year, Texas has prohibited school districts from requiring all students to wear masks.
Mikala Compton/Herald-Zeitung via AP
Federal Feds to Probe Whether Texas Ban on School Mask Mandates Violates Disability Rights Laws
The Education Department has already opened investigations in six other states that ban universal school mask requirements.
Evie Blad, September 21, 2021
2 min read
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Aug. 18, 2021. The on-again, off-again ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students is back in force. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, Sept. 10, that a Tallahassee judge should not have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Aug. 18, 2021. The on-again, off-again ban imposed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to prevent mandating masks for Florida school students is back in force. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled Friday, Sept. 10, that a Tallahassee judge should not have lifted an automatic stay two days ago that halted enforcement of the mask mandate ban.
Marta Lavandier/AP
Law & Courts Federal Judge Denies Parents' Suit to Block Florida's Ban on School Mask Mandates
The parents argued that their children, due to health conditions, were at particular risk if any of their peers attend school without masks.
David Goodhue, Miami Herald, September 16, 2021
3 min read
Julia Longoria has joined a federal lawsuit by Disability Rights Texas against Texas Governor Greg Abbott over his ban on mask mandates in public schools. Longoria argues that the executive order prevents her child, Juliana, who is medically at-risk, from being able to attend school safely. Juliana Ramirez, 8, a third grader at James Bonham Academy in San Antonio, Texas, has ADHD and severe asthma which puts her at risk of complications from COVID-19.
Julia Longoria has joined a federal lawsuit by Disability Rights Texas against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over his ban on mask mandates in public schools. Longoria argues that the executive order prevents her child, Juliana, 8, who is medically at risk, from being able to attend school safely.
Julia Robinson for Education Week
Families & the Community 'I Need You to Wear a Mask to Protect My Child.' A Mom Fights for Vulnerable Students
Some parents see a tension between their medically vulnerable children's safety and their educational needs during the pandemic.
Evie Blad, September 16, 2021
8 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
Andrew Ujifusa, September 10, 2021
3 min read
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021.
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles in April 2021.
Jae C. Hong/AP
Federal Education Department Opens Civil Rights Probes in 5 States That Ban School Mask Mandates
The move on behalf of students with disabilities deepens the fight over masks between the Biden administration and GOP governors.
Evie Blad, August 30, 2021
4 min read
Special Education Flint's Special Education Students Win Support, Compensation in Landmark Settlement
A small portion of a $600 million settlement will be used to improve services and supports for children impacted by the city's water crisis.
Corey Mitchell, August 20, 2020
2 min read
School & District Management Schools Seek Cover From Special Education Lawsuits, But Advocates See Another Motive
Special education advocates argue the push for liability protection is a veiled attempt to seek waivers from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the nation's primary special education law.
Corey Mitchell, July 29, 2020
4 min read
BRIC ARCHIVE
francescoch/iStock
Special Education Opinion The ADA Has Fallen Short for Black Students. It's Past Time to Fix That
As the Americans with Disabilities Act turns 30, let’s now get busy expanding its promise of equal education to all students, writes Laura Schifter.
Laura Schifter, July 24, 2020
4 min read
Equity & Diversity Many of America's Schools Aren't Fully Accessible for Students With Disabilities
In a new report, districts cite funding constraints as the main reason for not making their buildings accessible, a longstanding problem.
Corey Mitchell, July 24, 2020
1 min read
Special Education A Few Parents Have Sued Over Special Education During COVID-19. Will More Follow?
Districts could face a rising tide of special education-related lawsuits and complaints when schools resume, experts say, if they still cannot offer the services that students with disabilities missed out on for months.
Corey Mitchell, July 13, 2020
6 min read