Education law encompasses virtually every aspect of legal theory and practice, including constitutional, immigration, intellectual property, contract, labor, employment, health, construction and tort law, as well as multitudinous federal, state and local statutes, rules, regulations and case law governing the operation of education agencies. When managing a school or school system, it is impossible to make any decision that is not affected by legal parameters of some kind. Curriculum and testing issues are affected by laws such as No Child Left Behind or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. Teacher quality issues are affected by such initiatives as Race to the Top and employee issues are affected by such laws as the Family Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are school attendance laws, safety laws, child nutrition laws, school transportation laws, collective bargaining laws, records confidentiality laws, and the list goes on and on. With so much governance, the field of education is fraught with conflict about what those laws mean and how they will be applied.
Every citizen is a stakeholder in the education of our children. Taxpayers foot the bill for public schools and reap the benefits when schools utilize sound education practices. Parents also foot the bills, but more importantly, they have a keen interest in the quality of the learning environment and the performance of schools their children attend. Millions of persons work in schools, school districts or education departments, and of course those employees are acutely sensitive to anything affecting their incomes, working conditions or job security. Last, but certainly not least, there are millions of students attending schools of all types. It is not surprising that disputes between and among these stakeholders arise. Disagreements occur between students, between students and adults, between parents and educators, between educators and other educators, and between citizens and the authorities that govern education.
Unlike some other arenas in which disputes arise, stakeholders in education arenas must continue their affiliation after their dispute is resolved. Because mediation and arbitration is more likely to help parties preserve their relationship than is litigation, they are excellent tools to use in the education law arena.
Our mediators have many years of experience in all facets of education law including representing public school systems, private schools and school employees. Our education mediators have also participated in mediations with our clients. Since we have seen both sides of most arguments, we are able to foster negotiations between all parties and provide unique suggestions to help settle disputes. Our experience and knowledge in the complex education law field allows us to provide sound advice for both parties and help the parties create a workable agreement. Our mediators are prepared to walk the parties through their toughest issues and find a winning resolution for all involved