Finding Middle Ground in K-12 Education: Balancing Best Practices and the Law

Finding Middle Ground in K-12 Education: Balancing Best Practices and the Law

by Jim Burgett

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Finding Middle Ground in K-12 Education: Balancing Best Practices and the Law by Jim Burgett, Brian Schwartz

What a headache lawyers and the law can be when you’re trying to run a K-12 school or district—or even teach in the classroom.

* When can you just apply old-fashioned common sense and not worry about the statutes?

* When must you call the attorney before you say a word?

* And is there any place at all where the threats of “calling the lawyer” don’t bewilderingly intrude?

Is there is a “middle ground” between the law and administrative leadership for both on-the-spot and long-range problem-solving? How and where do you find it?

First, we asked a school lawyer. We picked the best: Brian Schwartz, who speaks nationwide, practices law, teaches at college, write The Law of Homeschooling, and is the associate director and general counsel to the Illinois Principals Association. He even writes about law in easy-to-understand English!

Then we brought in the best K-12 administrator we could find: Jim Burgett, who has been chosen both Illinois Superintendent of the Year and Illinois Administrator of the Year, was a Blue Ribbon Award winner, and has written three popular books: Teachers Change Lives 24/7, What Every Superintendent Needs to Know, and The Perfect School.

Finding Middle Ground in K-12 Education: Balancing Best Practices and the Law is the result! See how many of their 18 case studies you’ve already had to solve!

Knowing the law is only half the answer. That must be blended with common sense, then applied with prudence and love to solve and prevent problems.

Who needs an everyday primer on making the law and administrative savvy and wisdom work together in K-12 schools? Every…


We asked Jim and Brian to select the most serious everyday administrative topics where the law is involved, and begged them, please, to keep their text practical and usable, give us believable examples—and maybe slip in some appropriate humor. Here’s what they chose:

▪ How to Keep Yourself Legally Safe
▪ Student Free Speech and Due Process Rights
▪ Search and Seizure
▪ Student Discipline for Off-Campus Conduct
▪ Educational Issues Regarding Homeschool Students
▪ Safeguarding Student Privacy and Records
▪ Teacher, Administrator, and Board Member Rights and Responsibilities
▪ Dealing with Divorce, Difficult Parents, and Other Family Issues
▪ Managing Money and Student Activity Accounts
▪ Accommodating Gay, Transsexual, and Other Minority Student Populations
▪ Technology and the Schoolhouse.

The result? Brian has a masterful way of making complex laws understandable, Jim has a gifted hand in creating win-win solutions—and we dare you not to break out laughing every few pages!

In Finding Middle Ground in K-12 Education you will find a procedural map to steer you through that hallowed ground between leadership and school law—guidance when help is most needed!

What are those case studies about that Jim and Brian discuss in depth?

* A girl is left stranded in the school parking lot long after the game, without a ride.

* Tommy is told to change his clothes or turn his Marilyn Manson t-shirt inside out. He refuses.

* A freshman says she heard another student brag that he had a switchblade in his backpack.

* The teacher’s new cell phone that she had shown the class is now missing from her top drawer

* A girl receives an e-mail that she will be beaten up if she tries out for the cheerleading squad.

* Homeschooling parents want three of their (six) kids admitted, one as a full-time junior, another in the band class, the third to special ed.

* Four teachers, while bowling, talk about a student’s arrest record—and are overheard by the boy’s uncle.

* A third grade teacher and a janitor are found in a heated embrace in the broom closet.

* A new teacher is threatened with termination and more by the mother of a student who may have turned in her assignment but got a “zero” instead.

* A divorced couple put their ten-year-old son in the middle of their volatile relationship, each demanding special attention from the teachers and staff.

* A kindergartner is sent to school without underwear—with her mother’s approval.

* The principal uses the vending machine coins to pay for refreshments at meetings…and more.

* Michael shows up at registration as Michelle, a senior who also expects to use the female restrooms and locker rooms.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940012847522
Publisher: Education Communication Unlimited
Publication date: 01/11/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 278
File size: 849 KB

About the Author

Jim Burgett

Jim Burgett has served as a teacher, principal, and superintendent at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. He was named Illinois Superintendent of the Year and Illinois Administrator of the Year. Throughout his career, he has won many awards for his leadership and service to both education and to his communities. The districts that Jim has led have also been the recipients of many national awards, including the Blue Ribbon Award. Jim also implemented a plan that has resulted in 25 teachers becoming Nationally Board Certified.

Jim speaks and provides professional development to audiences throughout the United States and has previously writ-ten three published books: What Every Superintendent and Principal Needs to Know, The Perfect School, and Teachers Change Lives 24/7. Consulting, strategic plan development, and training teachers, administrators, and board members are a few of the services that Jim provides on a regular basis.

Jim holds three degrees in teaching and administration and is a lead provider of administrative academy development and implementation. He passionately strives to make a difference for kids through his teaching, speaking, and written words.
What makes Jim Burgett unique and in such demand is his ability to access a situation and offer practical and meaningful insights. His proven leadership and ability to inspire have made him an “in demand” author, speaker, and educational leader.

Brian D. Schwartz

Brian Schwartz has practiced law for fifteen years and has concentrated his practice in education law for the last eleven years. Brian strives to provide his clients with sound, practical legal advice that is geared toward solving problems, not creating them.

In addition to maintaining an active private practice, Brian serves as the associate director and general counsel to the Illinois Principals Association. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield where he teaches several undergraduate and graduate courses on school and employment law. Previously, Brian served as an administrative hearing officer and special prosecutor for the Illinois Secretary of State.

Brian is the author of The Law of Homeschooling, published in 2008. He has also written numerous book chapters, law review articles, and scholarly publications. Brian is a popular speaker and presenter and has spoken nationally.

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