Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Education Law Research Guide

This guide includes resources on education law, including charter schools and voucher systems, higher education, special education, accountability, and discrimination.


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Secondary Sources

When you begin a research project, it is often helpful to refer to a number of key resources that provide an overview of the topic. These scholarly and journalistic materials, broadly called "secondary sources" in the legal field, will help you to familiarize yourself with issues and to learn what words are commonly used to describe concepts within the area you are studying. This background research will aid greatly when searching for more specific information later. Listed below are treatises, news sources, journals, databases, and other resources that provide background and overview in education-related topics.

Treatises and Books

For additional Education Law treatises, please see the Library's Education Law Treatise Finder. More books on various education law topics can be found in the Library's catalog, GULLiver. For help with GULLiver, consult our Guide to Using GULLiver or you can contact a Reference Librarian.


  • Education Law Association, The Yearbook of Education Law (annual publication, 1988 - 2010). KF4102.5 .Y4. Available online through Wilson (EBSCO) OmniFile.
  • National School Board Association, School Law in Review (annual publication, 1985-2004). KF 4119 .A2 S38.

News and Current Awareness

The following newsletters and blogs are great sources for seminar paper topic ideas and commentary on current issues in education policy and law. Other good sources include websites of government agencies, research centers, school reform organizations, advocacy groups, and coalitions and associations. An short list of some relevant groups is included on the Agencies and Organizations tab of this research guide. 

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education
    Provides online searchable full text access to the latest issues of The Chronicle and archives back to 1989. Also includes daily news, advice columns, current job listings and discussion forums. Coverage: 1989 - present.
  • Education Commission of the States (ECS) Press Room
    The Education Commission of the States publishes several newsletters covering different education-related topics. You can access the newsletters from their website or subscribe the newsletters and receive them by email. These newsletters include:
    • ECS Ed Clips. Gives you the day's top education news, as well as a link to Education Week's extensive daily news roundup. Current service only.
    • ECS Ed Beat. A biweekly newsletter that covers new and upcoming policy analysis, state outreach and testimony, timely blog posts, and important frequently asked questions of ECS's policy experts. 
    • Ed Note BlogContains recent commentary and policy news, updated weekly. 
  • Education Week (Editorial Projects in Education, EPE)
    EPE is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization based in Washington, D.C., with a mission to help raise the level of awareness and understanding among professionals and the public of important issues in American education. It covers local, state, and national news and issues from preschool through the 12th grade. Education Week is American education's newspaper of record. Web-only stories require online subscription. Core contents are available:
    • In print: The Library keeps issues from the past six months on Reserve (ask at the Williams Circulation Desk)
    • Lexis: Education Week
    • Electronic access is also available through a number of other subscription databases.

News publications may also be helpful sources. Some news sources are:

  • ProQuest. Provides access to full-text or abstracts of newspaper or magazine articles.
  • Lexis: Transcripts provides access to full-text transcripts of TV programs such as the Charlie Rose Show, and TV/radio programs from ABC, CBS News, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Network, MSNBC, National Public Radio, etc. Coverage varies by program.
  • Westlaw: Transcripts "TV and radio transcripts from 18 countries around the world including the US, Canada, UK, Australia, South Africa, and others." Coverage includes most major U.S. networks, but varies by program.

Law Reviews & Journals

The following resources for academic publications are useful in conducting a preemption check as well as researching your paper.

Online resources are often the most effective for finding recent journal articles. You can use Lexis or Westlaw to search for and retrieve the full text of many, but not all, law journals. For more comprehensive coverage of interdisciplinary education topics published in legal and non-legal journals, you can use online indexes to get citations and often full text for articles across all legal and non-legal journals available through the Library.

  • Lexis and Westlaw
    Both Lexis and Westlaw include selected education law journals in full text. Generally, they don't have articles before 1985 or so, but coverage varies by journal.
  • Law Journal Indexes
    • Index to Legal Periodicals and Books
      Available through the EBSCOhost platform, this database provides citations to articles from over 700 legal publications, plus monographs published in 1993 or later. Periodical coverage begins in August 1981. Index to Legal Periodicals and Books Retrospective covers 1908 to 1981.
    • LegalTrac (Tutorial)
      Cumulative index of approximately 800 legal publications. Also includes law-related and interdisciplinary articles from more than 1,000 business, news, and general-interest periodicals. Coverage begins in 1980. Also available through:
      • Westlaw: LRI


Education Law Journals

This is a non-comprehensive list of journals that focus on both law and education issues.

Education Databases

  • ERIC (Education Resources Information Center) Database
    ERIC is a national information system funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences to provide access to education literature and resources. The database contains more than 1 million abstracts of education-related documents and journal articles going back to 1966. The database includes articles, reports, papers, monographs on education topics, and curricular items. Some 107,000 full-text non-journal documents are accessible electronically in PDF format. The thesaurus can help you do a more precise search. ERIC is available on the Department of Education website for free. Search keywords, then use relevant descriptors. Use quotations for phrase searching.


  • ProQuest Education
    Indexes articles published in over 700 education journals, many articles are available in full text. 1988 - present.

Social Sciences Journals

If you are using an index that provides only citations, you will need to get the full text of your articles. There is a separate research guide for doing Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Research, as well as a research guide specific to finding Scholarly Articles

If you have a title for an article, one of the easiest ways to retrieve it electronically is through the Library's OneSearch, which searches across our database subscriptions to retrieve the full-text. 

If you cannot find the specific article, you may need to search at the journal level. You may use the E-Journal Finder to find electronic journals available either in various databases or directly through different publishers. You can type the title of the journal (not the article) you wish to retrieve, click the resulting search results to connect to the electronic version of that journal and open the right issue to retrieve your article.

If you need an article from a journal that the Library doesn't have, contact the Reference Desk. We can help you find a library that does have it, or we can show you how to request the article through interlibrary loan (ILL).

Government and Think Tank Reports

  • GAO Reports. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is the investigative arm of Congress. "Its mission is to support Congress in meeting its Constitutional responsibilities (e.g. oversight, policy, and funding decision) and to help improve the performance and accountability of the Federal Government for the American People." Most GAO reports are made at the request of members of Congress. They are also available on Westlaw: GAO-RPTS (1994 - present).
  • PolicyFile (1990 - present). Indexes and abstracts public policy research and analyses originating from think tanks, university research programs, research organizations, and publishers (includes some GAO Reports, but not CRS Reports). Where available, access to home pages and full text are made available within individual abstracts.
  • PAIS International (1972 - present). Indexes public policy and public affairs literature.
  • CQ Researcher. Weekly publication covers the most current and controversial issues of the day with complete summaries, insight into all sides of the issues, bibliographies and more .
  • Congressional Research Service Reports (CRS Reports). These are non-partisan and in-depth reports produced by the Congressional Research Service, the research arm of the Library of Congress, on a variety of topics for Congress. They are not widely available, but a few libraries have been collecting and making them accessible: