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.

Where to Find Federal Regulations

For a guide to the federal executive-branch regulatory process and the process of conducting federal administrative law research in general, see the Law Library's Administrative Law Research Guide.  Federal agencies' regulations appear in the following publications:


Federal Regulations

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

Education Guidance Documents

Both federal and state agencies will issue guidance documents to help apply and interpret education statutes and regulations. These documents in themselves can also become subject to court challenge.

For example, in 2016 the Department of Education issued a guidance document directing schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their gender identity. Many school districts and states challenged this guidance, both through legislation and litigation, notably in the case Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, 822 F.3d 709 (4th Cir. 2016), which was appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, but remanded and vacated after the Trump administration revoked the guidance document.

In the federal government, many of these guidance documents are available through the Department of Education website. To find guidance documents for a specific state, consult that state's administrative agency for education. In most states this will be called the "Department of Education," though the names vary.