Most of the education-related federal 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. For information on statutory research more generally, see the library's Statutory Research Tutorial.
Below is a list of some important federal statutes related to education law:
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, P.L. 100-77, 101 Stat. 482 (1987). Subtitle B of Title VII of the act covers education and youth programs for homeless children, codified as amended in 42 U.S.C. §11431 et seq.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), P.L. 101-476, 104 Stat. 1142 (1990), codified as amended at 20 U.S.C. §1400 et seq.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), P.L. 89-10, 79 Stat. 27 (1965).
Higher Education Act of 1965, P.L. 89-329, 79 Stat. 1219 (1965), codified as amended in 20 U.S.C. §1001 et seq. Allocated additional federal funding for higher education and provided additional low-interest loans to students.
Serviceman's Readjustment Act of 1944 (GI Bill), P.L. 78-346, 58 Stat. 284 (1944). Commonly known as the G.I. Bill, provided many benefits for veterans of World War II, including specific allocations of funding for tuition payments.
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 on a number of different platforms. A compiled legislative history will usually include all the bills, Congressional Record debates, committee reports and hearings that were generated in the legislative process. For complete legislative history information, read our Legislative History Research Guide or work through our Legislative History Tutorial.
Much of education law is actually conducted at the state level, so individual state statutory compilations or codes will include legislation on education topics for that jurisdiction. The following links highlight resources for finding 50 state statutory surveys.
Running time: 4:02 minutes
Created/updated: January 2019
Last reviewed: January 2019
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