Education, School and Government Law Legal Terms

AAmerican Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) The group that works to protect civil liberties of Americans.
Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) The landmark act of 1990 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by employers, public accommodations, state and local governments, public and private transportation, and in telecommunications.
DDue process
A constitutional right afforded by the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, guaranteeing that no person shall be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”
EEminent Domain
The legal right of a city or state over all property within its boundaries, even private property, for the betterment of the public or the community. The process is also known as “condemnation” and the land taken by eminent domain must be acquired from the owner at reasonable compensation (fair market value) and meet requirements related to the degree of public use or community improvement that will be served.
FFamily Education Rights and Privacy Act
(FERPA) the federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. It gives parents certain rights to review and request changes in their child's school records as well as requiring parental permission for the release of education records except under specified circumstances.
Free and Public Education
(FAPE) the United States standard that states that every child is entitled to full access to public education, no matter how severe their disability.
Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA) is the act which allows access to most public records, with exceptions for reasons that can include protection of national security, trade secrets, law enforcement records, attorney-client privilege, invasion of personal privacy, and internal personnel records.
IIndividualized Education Programs
(IEP) the written, legal educational contract put into place once a child has been evaluated by a school system and assessed as having a learning disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A team of school personnel and the child’s parents make up an IEP team which meets to develop special education intervention strategies and services to be provided to a child with a disability.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA) This act was passed in 1975 and reauthorized in 2004 and is the primary federal law that governs IEPs and the special education process. IDEA guarantees that children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment.
NNo Child Left Behind
(NCLB) The act of 2001 that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. NCLB holds states and school districts more accountable for ensuring that all students reach certain proficiency standards in a specified amount of time and allows students to transfer to higher performing schools or receive supplemental services such as tutoring if school standards are not met in time. The law also makes other provisions regarding curriculum, teacher qualify, and parental rights to certain information. Children with disabilities are included in the standardized testing that determines whether a school meets the mandated standards, and 95% of students with disabilities must participate in the annual testing. Federal education funding is tied to a school’s performance related to NCLB.
TTitle IX (Title Nine)
Part of the Educational Amendment of 1978 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Enacted to ensure that sexual discrimination and harrassment does not occur. Ensures that both males and females receive equal and fair treatment in all areas of public schooling, including but not limited to: financial aid, admissions, housing, educational programs and activities and athletics.