The Legal Rights and Responsibilities of Teachers: Issues of Employment and Instruction

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Everything teachers need to know about education law

Do you know what you can and can’t say and do in your school? Most teacher education programs offer little, if any, instruction on education law. When teachers need advice regarding employment or instructional issues, they may find the search frustrating, time-consuming, or costly. Teachers will find the answers to their most frequently asked legal questions in this easy-to-read book. Key topics include:

  • Certification, tenure, evaluation, and dismissal
  • Collective bargaining and teacher contracts
  • Constitutional rights of teachers
  • Discrimination and harassment
  • Teachers’ responsibility regarding student bullying
  • Academic freedom
  • Copyright law
  • Safety

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Editorial Reviews

John Casper
"Now teachers have an absolute desk-reference that could be called 'How to Stay in the Classroom and Out of the Courtroom!'"
Karen L. Fernandez

"Aclear understanding of rights and obligations allows teachers to approach their jobs with confidence, and will allay any fears based on rumor or misconceptions of the law."

Deanna Brunlinger
"Reading this book is the next best thing to taking a class on educational law. It could well serve as theresource for such a class!"
James A. Cox
"Uses real-world applications and issues to apply legal concepts and tested decisions to the entire educator environment. Chapters are packed with legal references and anotations for further research and clarifications."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781412975469
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 4/4/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Allan G. Osborne, Jr. is the retired principal of the Snug Harbor Community School in Quincy, Massachusetts, a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. During his 34 years in public education, he served as a special education teacher, a director of special education, an assistant principal, and a principal. He has also served as an adjunct professor of special education and education law at several colleges, including Bridgewater State University and American International University.

Osborne earned an EdD in educational leadership from Boston College and an MEd in special education from Fitchburg State College (now Fitchburg State University) in Massachusetts. He received a BA in psychology from the University of Massachusetts.

Osborne has authored or coauthored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, monographs, and textbooks on legal issues in education, along with textbooks on other aspects of education. Although he writes and presents in several areas of educational law, he specializes in legal and policy issues in special education. He is the coauthor, with Charles J. Russo, of five texts published by Corwin, a SAGE company.

A past president of the Education Law Association (ELA), Osborne has been an attendee and presenter at most ELA conferences since 1991. He has also written a chapter now titled "Students With Disabilities" for the Yearbook of Education Law, published by ELA, since 1990. He is on the editorial advisory committee of West’s Education Law Reporter and is coeditor of the "Education Law Into Practice" section of that journal, which is sponsored by ELA. He is also on the editorial boards of several other education journals.

In recognition of his contributions to the field of education law, Osborne was presented with the McGhehey Award by ELA in 2008, the highest award given by the organization. He is also the recipient of the City of Quincy Human Rights Award, the Financial Executives Institute of Massachusetts Principals Award, the Junior Achievement of Massachusetts Principals Award, and several community service awards.

Charles J. Russo, JD, EdD, is the Joseph Panzer Chair in Education in the School of Education and Allied Professions and adjunct professor in the School of Law at the University of Dayton. He was the 1998–1999 president of the Education Law Association and 2002 recipient of its McGhehey (Achievement) Award. He has authored or coauthored more than 200 articles in peer-reviewed journals; has authored, coauthored, edited, or coedited 40 books; and has in excess of 800 publications. Russo also speaks extensively on issues in education law in the United States and abroad.

Along with having spoken in 33 states and 25 nations on 6 continents, Russo has taught summer courses in England, Spain, and Thailand; he also has served as a visiting professor at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane and the University of Newcastle, Australia; the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina; South East European University, Macedonia; the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa; the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and the University of São Paulo, Brazil. He regularly serves as a visiting professor at the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University.

Before joining the faculty at the University of Dayton as professor and chair of the Department of Educational Administration in July 1996, Russo taught at the University of Kentucky in Lexington from August 1992 to July 1996 and at Fordham University in his native New York City from September 1989 to July 1992. He taught high school for 8½ years before and after graduation from law school. He received a BA (classical civilization) in 1972, a JD in 1983, and an EdD (educational administration and supervision) in 1989 from St. John’s University in New York City. He also received a master of divinity degree from the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington, New York, in 1978, as well as a PhD Honoris Causa from the Potchefstroom Campus of North-West University, South Africa, in May 2004 for his contributions to the field of education law.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors
1. Introduction: The Historical and Legal Foundations of Public Education
A Brief History of Public Education in America
Legal Fundamentals of Education
Summary and Recommendations
Frequently Asked Questions
What's Next
2. School Governance and the Teacher
The Role of the Federal Government
State Education Agencies
Local School Boards
School Finance and Use of Property
Summary and Recommendations
Frequently Asked Questions
What's Next
3. Basic Constitutional Rights and Freedoms
First Amendment Rights
Due Process
Summary and Recommendations
Frequently Asked Questions
What's Next
4. Employment Terms and Conditions
Teacher Certification or Licensure
Privacy Rights of Teachers
Salaries and Terms of Employment
Leaves of Absence
Teacher Evaluations
Summary and Recommendations
Frequently Asked Questions
What's Next
5. Collective Bargaining
Historical Background
Bargaining Units and Their Composition
Union Rights
Dispute Resolution
Summary and Recommendations
Frequently Asked Questions
What's Next
6. Prohibitions Against Employment Discrimination
Race, Color, Ethnicity, or National Origin
Genetic Information
Affirmative Action
Summary and Recommendations
Frequently Asked Questions
What's Next
7. Teacher Discipline, Dismissal, and Due Process
Tenure Rights
Progressive Discipline and Dismissal of Teachers
Reduction in Force
Summary and Recommendations
Frequently Asked Questions
What's Next
8. Curricular and Instructional Issues
Control of the Curriculum and Academic Freedom
Student Records
Copyright Law
Using Technology in the Classroom
Special Education and Programs for English Language Learners
Summary and Recommendations
Frequently Asked Questions
What's Next
9. Tort Liability
Definitions and Types of Torts
Educational Malpractice
Civil Rights Violations
Summary and Recommendations
Frequently Asked Questions
Resource A: Court Systems and the Authority of Courts
Functions and Duties of the Courts
Organization of the Federal Court System
State Courts
Court Jurisdictions
Resource B: Legal Resources and References
Laws and Regulations
Court Decisions
Understanding Legal Citations
Resource C: Basic Legal Research: Maintaining Currency in an Evolving Legal Environment
Keeping Abreast of Legal Developments
Useful Education Law Websites
Glossary of Terms, Acronyms, and Abbreviations
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