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.

Primary Sources of Education Law

The following subpages, also visible on the left, identify the major sources of primary law on education and include links to access these resources.


This section lists and describes statutory law sources specific to education law. For information on statutory research more generally, see the Library's Statutory Research Tutorial.


Below is a list of some of the major federal statutes related to education:

  • No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, P.L. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425 (2001), which is mainly codified in Chapter 70 of Title 20, 20 U.S.C. § 6301 et seq. NCLB Act revamped the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, P.L. 89-10, incorporating new provisions in areas such as testing, accountability and parental choice.
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, P.L. 100-77. Subtitle B of Title VII of the act covers education for homeless children and youth program, codified as amended in 42 U.S.C. §11431 et seq.
  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), P.L. 91-230, codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.
  • Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944 (G.I. Bill), P.L. 78-346, 58 Stat. 284 (June 22, 1944).
  • Higher Education Act of 1965, P.L. 89-329, 79 Stat. 1219 (November 8, 1965), codified as amended in 20 U.S.C. §1001 et seq.

Most of the education-related statutes are codified in Title 20 (Education) of the United States Code, some are codified in Title 42 (Public Health and Welfare). The U.S. Department of Education has a policy page that includes legislation, regulations, guidance, and other policy documents for topics from adult education to vocational education.



There are many different ways of accessing education statutes in the United States Code:

  • United States Code in print - Williams Reading Room KF62 2012 .A2
  • United States Code Annotated (USCA) in print - Williams Reading Room KF62 1927 .A3
  • Westlaw: FED-USCA (current federal statutes related to education, as they appear in the United States Code Annotated, including annotations)
  • United States Code Service (USCS) in print - Williams Reading Room KF62 1972 .U5
  • Lexis: USCS (current federal statutes as they appear in the United States Code Service, including annotations)
  • Legal Information Institute: United States Code (federal statutes related to education, in a free web-based database; no annotations; may be less current than the versions available on Lexis and Westlaw)



  • - formerly THOMAS, provides the full text and status of pending and recently enacted legislation, try a word search in the current Congress to limit results by subject.



If you want to investigate the legislative intent behind a piece of legislation, you will need to review some or all of the documents created during the process of enacting that piece of legislation. For many federal education laws, there are compiled legislative histories available through the Library. These compilations usually include bills, Congressional Record debates, committee reports and hearings. To find a compiled legislative history, try a keyword search in the catalog, such as "education" and "legislative history". For complete legislative history information, read our Legislative History Research Guide or work through our Legislative History Tutorial. Good starting places for legislative history research include:

  • ProQuest Legislative Insight - this database contains compiled legislative histories, which list all of the documents relevant to the passage of a piece of legislation. 
  • ProQuest Congressional - the most comprehensive database of federal legislative history materials, including individual documents as well as compiled legislative histories. It is usually easiest to retrieve documents by number.
  • Westlaw: Legislative History database includes selected legislative history documents and a few sources of compiled legislative histories.
  • - provides access to some legislative history documents ranging from 1973 to the present.
  • United States Code Congressional and Administrative News (USCCAN) (Williams Reading Room) (also available on Westlaw, LH database) reprints the reports that West editors consider most important.



  • 50-State Information, Education Commission of the States.
    Provides direct links to state education statutes, state administrative code, state government and legislature websites, state education agencies; also provides up-to-date information on state policy developments. The multi-state reports provide 50-state analysis on various education-related topics, such as No Child Left Behind and charter schools.
  • Westlaw: SURVEYS database provides 50 state surveys on a few education law topics. Sources: National Survey of State Laws, Multi-jurisdictional Survey, and West Surveys. Currency varies.
  • Lexis: 50 State Surveys - Statutes and Regs - provides 50 state surveys on a small number of education subjects. Currency varies.
  • National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). A bipartisan organization that serves the legislators and staffs of the nation's 50 states, its commonwealths and territories. The NCSL website provides research results on various public policy issues. Sometimes, NCSL provides 50-state analysis.
  • Subject Compilations of State Laws (1981 - present) KF1 .F67; online through HeinOnline. An annotated bibliography of journal articles or other publications that survey state laws on various topics.



The Department of Education promulgates most of the regulations implementing education policies and they are codified in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations. Regulations created by the different Department of Education offices are arranged under Subtitle B of Title 34 as follows:

  • Chapter I - Office for Civil Rights
  • Chapter II - Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Chapter III - Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
  • Chapter IV - Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education
  • Chapter V - Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs
  • Chapter VI - Office of Postsecondary Education
  • Chapter VII - Office of Educational Research and Improvement

Where to find these regulations:

Code of Federal Regulations
Subject compilation of regulations promulgated by federal agencies, updated annually. The Code of Federal Regulations can be found in the following places:

  • Print CFR - Williams Reading Room - KF70 .A3
  • GPO GovInfo: CFR (PDF image of print; 1996 - present)
  • GPO GovInfo: e-CFR (text, not PDF; up-to-date to within 2 days)


Federal Register
Daily publications of the activities of federal agencies, proposed and final regulations must be published in the Federal Register. The Federal Register can be accessed at:

  • Current issues - On reserve at the Circulation Desk (older issues are on microfiche/microfilm in Media Services)

For more information about researching federal regulations and administrative law decisions, see the Library's Administrative Law Research Tutorial.