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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Education Department
Course Prefix and Number: EDUC 581
Course Title: School Law for Educational Leaders
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

This course will inform public and private school leaders with an in-depth study of federal and state laws that govern the operation of public schools. Landmark cases that have shaped our interpretation of the Bill of Rights will be reviewed and research will be completed for applications of case law. Prerequisite: M.Ed. in Education Leadership program or permission from M.Ed. instructor

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

M.Ed. in Education Leadership program or permission from M.Ed. instructor

Course Rotation for Day Program:


Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

School Law and the Public Schools: A Practical Guide for Educational Leaders
By Essex, N.L. (Pearson)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the court system and current litigation about school issues.
  2. Identify the landmark court decisions that involve public and private schools.
  3. Use case studies to illustrate understanding of laws pertaining to students and teachers.
  4. Research current issues and determine the due process and the rights and responsibilities of schools and districts.
  5. Research potential issues and apply appropriate laws and previous litigation for liability issues.
  6. Defend issues of school finance and school choice.
  7. Conduct building and facility safety checks in order to determine liabilities.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • Federal Laws and the American judicial system
  • School laws and school systems
  • Laws pertaining to students rights and responsibilities
  • Special Education and the law
  • Laws that pertain to teachers
  • Laws that pertain to finance, school funding,  and to school choice. 
  • Principles underlying liability for school districts and educators, including building and facility safety

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 15

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Teresa Vandover Date: October 6, 2013
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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