Types of Education Degrees

Education is a lifelong process. It should never stop, and it should always be an enjoyable experience. Education isn’t just for children either; adults can also study from continuing education courses to degrees in higher learning institutions. When people choose what type of degree they’d like to pursue, there are several factors that can help them make their decision. In this article, we will go over some types of education degrees available today.

English Language Learning Degrees

English language learning degrees are for adults who wish to learn English or improve their knowledge of the language. An education degree in this field might involve courses on phonetics, grammar, and vocabulary. A student might also be involved with studying children’s literature at both the high school level and college-level classes.

Early Childhood Education Degrees

This is another education degree one might pursue if they wish to work with children. This degree is suited for those who want to teach young students how to read, write and understand math skills and other concepts. A degree in early childhood education would involve courses on working with children from birth through age eight.

Educational Leadership Degrees

This is a degree for those who wish to work as principals of schools, or perhaps even move into administration at their current school. While more research and studying may be involved with educational leadership degrees, they also require extensive experience working in the classroom during one’s education process.

Associate Degrees in Education

An associate degree in education is an option for those who want to work with children at the elementary or secondary level. A two-year program might be involved, which would allow students to become teachers after graduation. This type of education degree does not usually offer student teaching opportunities, though, so some experience working in a school setting may also be required before graduation.

Doctoral Education Degrees

This is the highest education degree one can obtain. Doctoral degrees generally take two to three years after a bachelor’s and involve extensive research in the student’s chosen field of study. To qualify for this type of degree, one must first have a master’s degree in their field of study. There are two types of doctoral degrees: Ph.D. and Ed.D., which stands for Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Education.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

The Highest Rated Liberal Arts Colleges in the U.S.

The U.S. News has released its top five liberal arts colleges in the United States.

One notable change in this year’s rankings is the decreased emphasis on standardized test scores. Given the fluctuation in requirements for standardized tests, the report put less stock in those scores.

Taking into consideration factors like class size, acceptance rates, and student outcomes, the list includes four schools from the Northeast and one from California. Schools on the list have small class sizes in common among them. Other factors include faculty resources, expert opinion, financial resources, student excellence, and alumni giving.

Institutions on this list also have a leg up regarding social mobility. That is, the schools all score well on the improvement of their graduates’ circumstances after graduation. That is measured by comparing the status of pell grant recipients after they graduate. The Pell Grant program is reserved for undergraduate students who demonstrate exceptional financial need.

Here are the top five liberal arts colleges in the United States:

Williams College

Located in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Williams College boasts an acceptance rate of only fifteen percent. Williams College graduates join an alumni body full of influential people, including President James Garfield.

Amherst College

Also located in Massachusetts, Amherst College welcomed an inimitable freshman class. Eighty-five percent of incoming freshmen ranked in the top ten percent of their high school classes.

Swarthmore College

In the Philadelphia suburbs, Swarthmore College is ranked as the third-best liberal arts college in the United States. Swarthmore College was founded in 1864 and is one of the earliest co-educational institutions in the country.

Pomona College

Pomona College is the lone entry to the top five list from outside the Northeast. With an acceptance rate of only nine percent, Pomona is one of the most selective institutions in the country. Pomona is also notable for its commitment to diversity in its student body. It has been widely recognized for its intentionality in reaching out to lower-income and first-generation college students in its admissions efforts.

Wellesley College

Wellesley College is a women’s college located in Massachusetts. Wellesley grads join an impressive roster of alumnae, including former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the first female Secretary of State Madeline Albright.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

The Cost of a Degree for Students and Universities

Many families raising children have notions of sending their kids off to university or college so they can get an education. The hope is that such an education prepares them for adult life where they can use their skills and knowledge to generate significant income over the course of their life. That money is hoped to help them raise a family, buy a home, go on vacations, save for retirement, and generally have a comfortable life.

The truth isn’t always so simple. There is actually some debate about the costs of degrees, for both students and universities.

Costs for post-secondary education continue to rise in many developed countries. This makes getting a degree harder for many students. While there are many government programs to provide assistance with financing college or university, rarely do all these benefits add up to getting students through school without having to pay a lot of money of their own.

Worse yet, some of these benefits take the form of student loans that trap students into a vicious cycle of debt that takes years, if not decades, to get out of. Whereas degrees used to be a solid pathway to higher levels of income, much of that extra income is now offset by interest rates and payments due on student loans.

Complicating matters is how the value of degrees seems to be on the decline. Whereas they were once the gateway to a better life, there are now many jobs that require them just to be an entry-level opening into the career world. Incomes, wages, and salaries have also not always grown proportionately to the economy of most nations.

Degrees still hold value for many students, but not all. In fact, a double-digit percentage of students seems to be better off not even attending, when looking at their lifetime income as adults.

For colleges and universities, the costs of operating continue to rise, which means what they charge students also has to go up. While there is interest in obtaining degrees, not everyone can do it, resulting in fewer potential applications and actual students on many campuses. This can result in serious financial strains for institutions such as these, and cutbacks just reinvigorate the cycle of how tight money is for everyone.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

How Adult Students are Growing Higher Education

A USA Today interview with the VP of New Partner Development at the Wiley Education Services, Gene Murray revealed adult learners have different needs from teenagers, who were the bulk of traditional students in the past years. They are prompting higher institutions of education to change their models.

Below are the key points from Murray’s interview.

Provision of Learner Tailored Program

The method of instruction at institutions develops with time. Specialization to provide prompts information and is one of the ways how adult students are growing higher education. Higher education providers have tremendous expertise in subject matters, placing them as designated institutions for learners who want to progress academically. The current adult learning population does not focus on broader knowledge but specific skills that advance their career.

The main focus of these learners is to attain ongoing education that instills specific skills to advance in technology, healthcare, teaching, or other professions. Today’s adult learners focus on finding opportunities matching their specific careers because of commitments that limit time and flexibility. Institutions that provide learning opportunities were challenged to align their programs with their adult learners’ personal responsibilities and career paths.

Customization of Programs to Suit Learner Preferences

Adult learners have deviated from studying for an undergraduate then a master’s to gain a full degree. Institutions have been forced to rethink their models to accommodate this class that requires ongoing education for professional career advancement certification. Traditional learning experiences that did not address the unique needs of learners compelled higher education institutions to change their delivery and meet the following requirements:

  • Flexibility to accommodative work or family responsibilities
  • Allow faster completion (with cost consideration in place)
  • Deliver specific skills that contribute to career advancement

Introduction of Remote Learning Technology

Traditional learning requires in-person attendance for students and instructors. The need to personalize lessons for today’s adult learners led to the introduction of technology in classrooms. The change came to be since many adult learners are frequently away from campus, and their needs are different from a conventional 18-year-old. It is harder to engage them. Higher education institutions are adopting technology tools like behavioral analytics. The tools have information and means to facilitate institutions to communicate better with adult learners on their terms to improve persistence.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

AI in Higher Education

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in higher education is not new. Some schools have been using plagiarism-detection software like Turnitin for over a decade. What is new is the many ways that AI is being employed. It is now routinely used to predict potential student success, facilitate admissions decisions, encourage choosing a particular school, and even acts in the role of a traditional (human) teaching assistant.

AI is now being used in higher education to aid in admissions and financial aid decisions. Some colleges and universities use it to score student personality traits based on student-submitted videos. Other schools use AI software to predict the success of prospective students. AI is even used to review applications to some graduate schools.

Some colleges and universities use AI to encourage accepted students to place a deposit, essentially committing them to attend through the use of chatbots and text messaging systems.

Once a student is enrolled, the use of AI continues. Universities use it to monitor student activities that aid learning, answer student questions about coursework, and even determine what mode of online instruction would benefit a student the most based on student data. Oftentimes students are unaware that they are engaging with a computer program rather than a live human.

The use of AI in higher education does not come without its detractors. Many university professors have long opposed the use of plagiarism-detection software like Turnitin or machine scoring of student writing. Scholars at MIT, for example, wrote a nonsense essay that nonetheless scored highly on an AI-driven assessment platform. Other studies have shown similar results.

Despite any drawbacks to the use of AI in higher education, it’s unlikely to be disappearing from the scene anytime soon. AI can reduce the time it takes for colleges and universities to complete some of the rote and tedious non-academic work necessary to run institutions. It can also be used smartly to use data about individual student learning to boost performance and increase overall student success and retention. As more and more universities work to develop their own versions of AI that are tailored to their student populations’ needs, the software will become more effective in doing the work higher education requires of it.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

How Educators Can Prepare For The New School Year

With the 2020 – 2021 school year starting soon or having already started in some places, it’s time for teachers and professors around the country to make sure they’re prepared for the year to come. Teaching isn’t an easy profession and there are countless aspects that go into it, from lesson plans to supplies and everything in between. This year, in particular, is especially unique due to the COVID-19 pandemic still deeply affecting our country, meaning that in many places teachers are either doing remote learning or some type of remote/in-person hybrid. Something like this is new to the current generation of educators, and it’s understandable if they don’t know how to approach the situation. Here are a few ways educators can prepare for the new school year.

Communicate With Your Class Early On

In order to make the teaching and learning experience smoother for everyone involved, it’s best to stay on top of communication with your students or their parents, especially in the times we’re living in. Consider your options for reaching out to everyone – if you’re a college professor, you can likely email your students their syllabus and any important information they may need a week or two before class starts, giving them plenty of time to read materials over and reach out if they have any questions. If you’re teaching younger students, you’re likely better off reaching out to their parents. This can be done via email, but it might be better for you to reach out with a phone call in order to introduce yourself and ensure everyone is in the know when it comes to your class.

Check Out Your Old Lesson Plans

One of the best things about being an educator is that with each new year or semester, you effectively get to start all over again. This means you can take a look at your previous years teaching and apply what worked while leaving what didn’t work at the door. Being an educator often involves a lot of trial and error, and not every lesson will stick with your students. The fact that you get to take on a new group of students each year means you start fresh and employ new ideas.

Discuss With Your Fellow Educators

One of the few great things about how the pandemic is affecting education is that no teacher is alone. There are educators all over the country who are in situations just like yours, and most of us are figuring it out as we go. With so many peers who understand what you’re going through, a good way to prepare for the new year is to talk to your fellow educators and determine what they’re doing, and what might work for you. Share your various ideas and experiences and perhaps you may come out with a brand new idea that might make this year that much more impactful for you and your students.

This article was originally published on MarilynGardnerMilton.org

Facebook Postings

K-12 Law School Series

Facebook Postings

Marilyn Gardner, lawyer, spent years teaching Advanced School Law at the university doctoral level. Her focus was court decisions at all levels of government which have had an impact on the governance of schools and what school personnel can do in terms of the operation of schools, curriculum, instruction, assessment and school personnel, and treatment of candidates. Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer, would always stress that failure to comply with school law can have far reaching and costly implications.

The K-12 School Law Series curriculum focuses on the Pearson Educational
Leadership Series books which focus on the major areas of school litigation and promotes an understanding of the principles of law that guide the governance and operations of schools while equipping school authorities with appropriate knowledge, skills and disposition to fulfill their
obligations to school-aged youngsters.


In her research, she identified four Pearson Educational Leadership Series books (https://www.amazon.com/School-Law-Public-Schools-Educational/dp/0137072759) that are valuable resources on these topics. They cover many facets of K-12 School Law and are important resources to empower school administrators and staff.

They are:
 Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0
 School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
 A Teacher’s Pocket Guide to School Law, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-335191-0
 School Law: Cases and Concepts, Michael W. LaMorte, ISBN:978-0-13-707247-7


Pearson’s resources (https://www.pearson.com/us/sign-in.html) focus on the major areas of school-related litigation and the implications of court rulings for school leaders, teachers as well as the related changes in policy affecting the school environment. School staff will be empowered to deal in legally defensible ways with school- and community-based situations and remain current with school related law and policy.

Topic: Facebook Postings
Pearson Educational Leadership Series

 Sample Scenarios from: Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader (ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0) and School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0

As you are probably aware, there are more than 800 million active users on Facebook, according to their own statistics. Although some students may claim that all of their Facebook postings are protected by the freedom of expression right afforded all citizens through the U.S. Constitution, there are circumstances when school leaders may take action to limit or eliminate this right under certain conditions.

Let’s work through a case scenario.

You have obtained access to some troubling Facebook postings made by David, a middle school student in your school. His highly derogatory postings are directed at his social studies teacher, Mr. Williams. David’s statements are inflammatory, and clearly untrue.

When you confront David and his parents, they tell you that the “satire” is cutting-edge and popular. Obviously, you just do not get it from your mundane school principal perspective. They substantiate their popularity claim by reporting that hundreds of David’s Facebook friends from school think it is hilarious. Furthermore, they do not understand why you are trying to infringe on David’s freedom of expression, since he writes the satire from his home computer. They also claim that it has nothing to do with school because it is located on his personal Facebook account. They accuse you of illegally trying to censor David’s creativity. They tell you to “mind your own business.”

Let’s legally review this scenario by answering the following four questions.

Question 1: Should you share David’s Facebook postings with Mr. Williams?

The main issue on which we will want to reflect is if there any professional liability if you fail to share the postings with him? You need to realize that you will acquire significant professional liability if you decide to not share this information with Mr. Williams. Many school leaders would consider a private meeting with Mr. Williams, to share David’s Facebook postings in a timely manner, as essential.

Question 2: What legal principle applies in this case?

The controlling question is Do you need to take action, or “mind your own business”?

The primary legal principle applicable in this case centers on whether there is a nexus (connection) between David’s Facebook posting and your school. Since the Facebook postings have admittedly been viewed by “hundreds of David’s Facebook friends from school” and potentially others, including parents, these untrue rants could significantly impact Mr. William’s status as a respected teacher in your school. Since there is a nexus, action is necessary.

Question 3:  Based on this legal principle, what action (if any) do you take? Since this is a school matter, do certain student policies apply?

Your applicable student code of conduct policies, acceptable use of technology policies, and/or other student policies should be fairly applied in this case. This student misbehavior, even though it occurred “out-of-school”, has become a school issue. As such, decisive administrative action is required.

Out of School Student Misbehavior

K-12 Law School Series

Out of School Student Misbehavior

Marilyn Gardner, a lawyer, spent years teaching Advanced School Law at the university doctoral level. Her focus was court decisions at all levels of government which have had an impact on the governance of schools and what school personnel can do in terms of the operation of schools, curriculum, instruction, assessment and school personnel, and treatment of candidates. Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer, would always stress that failure to comply with school law can have far-reaching and costly implications.

The K-12 School Law Series curriculum focuses on the Pearson Educational Leadership Series books which focus on the major areas of school litigation and promotes an understanding of the principles of law that guide the governance and operations of schools while equipping school authorities with appropriate knowledge, skills, and disposition to fulfill their obligations to school-aged youngsters.

In her research, she identified four Pearson Educational Leadership Series books (https://www.amazon.com/School-Law-Public-Schools-Educational/dp/0137072759) that are valuable resources on these topics.  They cover many facets of K-12 School Law and are important resources to empower school administrators and staff.  They are:

Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0
School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
A Teacher’s Pocket Guide to School Law, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-335191-0
School Law: Cases and Concepts, Michael W. LaMorte, ISBN:978-0-13-707247-7

Pearson’s resources (https://www.pearson.com/us/sign-in.html) focus on the major areas of school-related litigation and the implications of court rulings for school leaders, teachers as well as the related changes in policy affecting the school environment. School staff will be empowered to deal in legally defensible ways with school- and community-based situations and remain current with school-related law and policy.

Topic: Out of School Student Misbehavior

Pearson Educational Leadership Series
Sample Scenarios from: Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader (ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0) and School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0

Today we are going to focus on Out of School Student Misbehavior. School leaders are generally familiar with their authority in disciplining students while attending a school or participating in school-sponsored activities. However, their disciplinary authority becomes severely limited when the alleged student misbehavior occurs out of school. Administrators need a certain set of Skills in this area.  for knowing, understanding, analyzing, and communicating include the following:

They need to:

  • Know I when to be the investigative Authority
  • Understand their Administrative Authority
  • Be able to Analyze Facts and Applying Legal Principles and
  • Communicate their Decisions

Let’s go into more detail for each.

Knowing Your Investigative Authority means the effective administrator knows when to question students accused of out of school misbehaviors.

Understanding your Administrative Authority means the effective administrator knows when to become involved and take action in out of school alleged student misbehaviors.

When Analyzing Facts and Applying Legal Principles – The effective administrator analyzes the facts surrounding a specific case and takes appropriate action based
on legal principles. and finally, The effective administrator tactfully and diplomatically communicate unpopular decisions.

Let’s discuss the following scenario. In this activity, you will answer the following questions, and then write a letter to a local store owner explaining the rationale for your decision. Mr. Al Fred, a community business owner and a significant financial supporter of your school’s athletic programs has complained again about two of your students.
Apparently, these students visit Mr. Fredd’s nearby variety store daily after school and cause problems. Specifically, they curse at him and his wife and are generally just rude. They also suspect that these students spray-paint graffiti on the back and sides of the store, although they cannot prove it. He wants you to do something. He is now threatening to withhold further substantial financial donations to your school. Furthermore, he intends to contact his best friend on the School Board to complain about your inaction.
Let’s legally review this scenario by answering the following four questions.

Question 1: Since the incident occurred outside of school, can the school principal legally discuss the matter with the students?

It is important to note that there a difference between fact-finding and taking adverse action against the students? Yes, the school principal may talk with the students about the allegations to obtain additional information. The results of this fact-finding investigation should assist the principal in deciding whether to take action for an out of school incident allegedly committed by these students.

Question 2: Under what conditions may a school principal legally take adverse action against students for out of school alleged misbehaviors?

The big question in this scenario is Does a school principal’s administrative authority differ for in-school and out of school student misbehavior? Yes, a school principal’s authority varies greatly depending on whether the student’s misbehavior occurs in-school or out of school. School principals enjoy wide authoritative latitude for in school incidents. Their authority, however, is severely limited for out of school student misbehaviors.

School leaders should act only if there’s a nexus (direct connection) between the alleged out of school incident and the school. For example, two students fighting at the mall on Saturday does not necessarily create a nexus with the school. Therefore, principals should not become involved. If on the other hand, the students vow to continue fighting when they arrive at school on Monday, it becomes a school matter. Principals should, therefore, take decisive action, such as meeting with both students immediately upon their arrival.

Question 3: In this case, does the principal have the legal authority to take action?

Although the students are enrolled in your school and their behavior is regrettable, their alleged misbehavior has no nexus with your school (their misbehavior at Mr. Fred’s store is not being exhibited in your school). Therefore, you have no legal authority to take adverse action against these students.

Question 4: What could you do to help the situation?

As noted earlier, the store owner is a significant financial supporter of your school. One suggestion is to write a letter that is direct, yet diplomatic.

Student Searches

K-12 Law School Series

Student Searches
Marilyn Gardner, a lawyer, spent years teaching Advanced School Law at the university doctoral level. Her focus was court decisions at all levels of government which have had an impact on the governance of schools and what school personnel can do in terms of the operation of schools, curriculum, instruction, assessment and school personnel, and treatment of candidates. Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer, would always stress that failure to comply with school law can have far-reaching and costly implications.
The K-12 School Law Series curriculum focuses on the Pearson Educational Leadership Series books which focus on the major areas of school litigation and promotes an understanding of the principles of law that guide the governance and operations of schools while equipping school authorities with appropriate knowledge, skills and disposition to fulfill their obligations to school-aged youngsters.
In her research, she identified four Pearson Educational Leadership Series books
(https://www.amazon.com/School-Law-Public-Schools-Educational/dp/0137072759) that are valuable resources on these topics. They cover many facets of K-12 School Law and are important resources to empower school administrators and staff.
They are:
● Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0
● School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
● A Teacher’s Pocket Guide to School Law, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-335191-0
● School Law: Cases and Concepts, Michael W. LaMorte, ISBN:978-0-13-707247-7
Pearson’s resources (https://www.pearson.com/us/sign-in.html) focus on the major areas
of school-related litigation and the implications of court rulings for school leaders, teachers as well as the related changes in policy affecting the school environment. School staff will be empowered to deal in legally defensible ways with school- and community-based situations and remain current with school-related law and policy.
Topic:
Student Searches
Pearson Educational Leadership Series
●Sample Scenarios from:

Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader

(ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0) and School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex,

ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
Today we are going to explore the issue Conducting Student Searches. Generally, students in public school are protected against unreasonable search and seizure as ensured by the Fourth Amendment. The 1969 case State v. Stein determined that a students’ freedom from unreasonable search and seizure must be balanced against the need to maintain order and protect the safety and health of students. In the ruling, judges determined that school officials did not need to have evidence to prove probable cause nor secure a warrant like the police. Instead, school officials are held only to a standard of
reasonable suspicion.
It is important for school leaders to understand the conditions determining when the reasonable suspicion standard has been reached making a search permissible.
The Case of the Police Tip
You are the principal of a high school. One morning you receive a phone call from a local police officer. The police received a tip from a community member and parent in your school that a specific student was seen exchanging money for a bag of a “suspicious white power” with an adult at one of your bus stops this morning. The police officer indicated that he did not have enough evidence to secure a warrant to search the student but asked if you could conduct a search.
This particular student had a history of drug use at school and had been suspended for a drug infraction in the past. As a result, you called the student into your office and noticed that their eyes were dilated and they seemed to slur their speech. You asked them to empty their pockets and remove their shoes. In the student’s sock, you found a bag with white powder. At that point, you contacted the police and they arrived at the school.
You turned over the contraband to the police and the student was arrested and taken away in handcuffs. You then contacted the student’s parents about the incident. The parents were very angry and threaten to sue you for conducting an illegal search and “illegally handing over the contraband to the police”. Let’s legally review this scenario by answering the following four questions.
Question 1:
Was the search of the student legal?
Let’s look at what the Fourth Amendment says about legal searches in public schools? What does case law say about legal searches in public schools? Was the tip from the police reasonable? Was the tip from the police enough to conduct the search?
The correct answer is yes. The 1985 case New Jersey v. T. L. O., Supreme Court of the United States ruled that public school searches could be conducted if a school official has reasonable suspicion that a search is warranted. The reason to suspect is a less rigorous requirement than the standard of “probable cause” required by police officers.
Suspicion implies an opinion based on some facts but does not amount to evidence that shows proof. Probable cause required by the police to obtain a warrant to conduct a search was clearly delineated as requiring more than mere suspicion as defined in the description by James Madison in the Fourth Amendment where “legal and sufficient cause” for issuing a warrant of search is required.
Case law has established that a student’s freedom from unreasonable search must be balanced with the schools need to protect students health and safety, and thus, a lower standard of evidence exist. The T.L.O. case helped determine the definition of reasonable suspicion including a need for evidence, which is collected beforehand to determine that a search of a particular student for a particular illegal item is warranted at the inception of the search.
In other words, the measures of the search must be reasonably related to the objective of the search. A search is not reasonable if it lacks specificity as defined by the previously collected evidence. It should also be noted that a search need not produce the suspected illegal contraband, only that the standard of reasonable suspicion be met prior to the inception of the search.
Question 2:
Was it illegal for the principal to work with the police in a search as described in this case study?
Let’s look at What the case law says about police versus school involvement in a search? Was it important for the principal to conduct the search or could the principal had given permission for law enforcement to conduct the search? Is the timing of police involvement critical? The answer is no. Case law makes it clear that a school search instigated and conducted by the police must be accompanied by a search warrant. However, the principal, in this case, had physical evidence and prior student history of drug use that in combination established reasonable suspicion to conduct the search.
The phone tip from the police added additional evidence to conduct the search; however, the source of the tip is not germane to the case. Namely, the call could have come from anyone and combined with the existing evidence, warranted the principal’s search.
Upon conducting the search and finding illegal contraband, it was then appropriate for the principal to contact the police, turn over the illegal substances, and cooperate in the police report.

Student Suspension and Due Process Rights

K-12 Law School Series

Student Suspension and Due Process Rights

Marilyn Gardner, a lawyer, spent years teaching Advanced School Law at the university doctoral level. Her focus was court decisions at all levels of government which have had an impact on the governance of schools and what school personnel can do in terms of the operation of schools, curriculum, instruction, assessment and school personnel, and treatment of candidates. Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer, would always stress that failure to comply with school law can have far-reaching and costly implications.

The K-12 School Law Series curriculum focuses on the Pearson Educational Leadership Series books which focus on the major areas of school litigation and promotes an understanding of the principles of law that guide the governance and operations of schools while equipping school authorities with appropriate knowledge, skills and disposition to fulfill their obligations to school-aged youngsters.

In her research, she identified four Pearson Educational Leadership Series books (https://www.amazon.com/School-Law-Public-Schools-Educational/dp/0137072759) that are valuable resources on these topics.  They cover many facets of K-12 School Law and are important resources to empower school administrators and staff.  They are:

  • Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0
  • School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0
  • A Teacher’s Pocket Guide to School Law, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-335191-0
  • School Law: Cases and Concepts, Michael W. LaMorte, ISBN:978-0-13-707247-7

Pearson’s resources (https://www.pearson.com/us/sign-in.html) focus on the major areas of school-related litigation and the implications of court rulings for school leaders, teachers as well as the related changes in policy affecting the school environment. School staff will be empowered to deal in legally defensible ways with school- and community-based situations and remain current with school-related law and policy.

Topic: Student Suspension and Due Process Rights

Pearson Educational Leadership Series

  • Sample Scenarios from: Law and Ethics in Educational leadership, David Stader (ISBN: 978-0-13-268587-0) and School Law and the Public Schools, Nathan Essex, ISBN: 978-0-13-707275-0

The legal concept of procedural due process has been around at least since the Magna Carte of 1215. Also known as ‘common law’, the procedural due process gives a person a fundamental right to a hearing.

Outside the public school setting, the hearing generally requires that the charges be shared with the accused and that the accused have a chance to present their side of the story. In the Fifth and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, due process is required before the state deprive someone of “life, liberty, or property”.

However, it was not until the 1961 case Dixon v. Alabama State Board of Education that Constitutional due process guarantees were applied to students facing expulsion from a public college. Later cases confirmed that suspension of public school students also required substantive and procedural due process; especially in the case of long-term suspension; defined as 10 days or longer.

Let’s study this issue using the following case scenario.

You are the principal of a high school. Yesterday, you disciplined a student, your star quarterback on the school football team, for use of alcohol. Upon the student’s arrival at school, you observed that the student was disoriented, had glassy eyes, slurred speech and a strong smell of alcohol on him. After some discussion, you concluded that

the student was intoxicated. A search of the student’s locker produced a half-empty

bottle of whiskey.

Despite the evidence, the student insisted that he had not been drinking and claimed not to know where the alcohol came from, suggesting that it may belong to his locker partner. Additionally, the student suggested that his physical symptoms were probably the result of cold medication. In reviewing the student records, you were reminded that the student had already been disciplined for possession of alcoholic containers in his vehicle at a football game earlier this year.

Your district policy required the student to be suspended for 10 days. The student begged you to waive the discipline because the state playoff games were starting that weekend. However, you went ahead with the prescribed discipline. You explained the infraction and the assigned discipline action both verbally and on a written discipline notice. A copy of the notice was mailed home with an attachment describing the parent’s right to appeal your discipline decision. Despite the suspension, this morning the student returned to school handing you a letter from his parents appealing your decision and asking for a hearing. The student has been spending the day bragging to everyone how he will still be able to attend school and play in the upcoming football games. Several teachers have been in your office demanding that the student be sent home and suspended from playing in the games, citing that his presence in school is creating a “mockery of the discipline of this school”.

In addition, your ability to lead effectively is being questioned if you do not take action to remove the student immediately. You have also taken a call from the school athletic booster club president and a school board member threatening to “run you out of town” if your actions result in the student not playing in the ball games and in the school losing their first chance at a state title in decades.

Let’s legally review this scenario by answering the following questions.

Question 1: Has the principal in this case study provided adequate due process for a suspension of 10 days?

Let’s see what the 14th Amendment says about required due process in the case of a suspension from a public school? What does case law say about required due process in the case of a suspension from a public school? What does state law and school policy say about required due process in the case of a suspension from a public school?

The correct answer is yes. The 1975 case Goss v. Lopez ruled that a suspension of 10 days or more from school denied a student of both substantive property and liberty interests as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment. They cited that a 10-day suspension from school was not a trivial loss of education and required the provision of procedural due process.

The Goss case required the following due process for all suspensions:

• Oral or written notice of the charges against the student

• If the students deny the charges, an explanation of the evidence against them

• An opportunity to present his side of the story

The court indicated that these three procedures could be conducted immediately between the principal and the student and that no formal hearing was required prior to the administration of the discipline.

However, both the Goss case as well as the 1961 case Dixon v. Alabama State Board of Education, Fifth Circuit indicated that suspensions of 10 days or longer would need to also provide more formal due process procedures.

The Dixon case suggested the right to a more formal hearing, including a right to an attorney at a hearing, the names of the witnesses against the student, a written report of the facts in the case, an opportunity to present to an appeals board, and the ability to call witnesses on their behalf.

Question 2

Is the student allowed to attend school and play in the football games pending the conclusion of the appeal hearing?

Once again, what does the 14th Amendment say about required due process in the case of a 10-day or more suspension from a public school? What does case law say about required due process in the case of a 10-day or more suspension from a public school? What does state law and school policy say about required due process in the case of a suspension from a public school?

The answer is yes. Using the Dixon case and recommendations in the Goss case, a more formal due process procedure is required. Using the due process steps suggested in the Dixon case, most school districts have developed policies for long term suspensions of 10 days or more to include these additional due process steps:

• An opportunity to appeal the Principal’s discipline in writing, and request a formal hearing before the superintendent and school board.

• An opportunity to continue to attend school and be presumed innocent until the conclusion of the formal hearing before, and the decision of the school board. In addition, some states have provided even further due process for long-term suspensions. For example, in the 1985 case in re Roberts, 150 N.C. App. 86, 563 S.E. 2d 37, the court ruled that students in North Carolina had the right to be represented by an attorney in the hearing, to confront and cross-examine witnesses, and to call witnesses on their behalf. In regard to this case study, the principal is obligated to allow the student to continue to attend school until the formal appeals hearing is concluded.