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Policy and Law

Policy and Law Philosophy Statement
        According to Essex (2008), "educational leaders and policymakers must be knowledgeable of the law that governs the operation and conduct of their organizations as they face a highly litigious society" (p. xi).  Each day, educational leaders are confronted with countless decisions - many with legal significance.  At times, leaders may not even realize the legal ramifications of their decision, but needless to say they are expected to demonstrate a sound understanding of school policy and law in their decision-making process (Essex, 2008).  Educational leaders need to be well versed in state, federal, and case law governing both general education and special education in order to ensure that the operation and conduct of their organizations are in agreement with the law.
        Policy plays a large role in the day-to-day functions of an organization.  For example, policies help ensure that there will be uniformity and consistency in decisions and in operational procedures.  Policies also maintain a direction for the school and assist in the planning process by providing a framework.  Due to the importance of policy, educational leaders need to be able to develop, adjust, and implement policy that aligns with local, state, and federal requirements.  According to Essex (2008), educational leaders "need to guide the development and execution of sound and well-developed policies, rules, and regulations governing many aspects of their operation" (p. xi).  In other words, quality policy development hinges on a strong knowledge base of state, federal, and case law.  Therefore, it is essential for educational leaders to stay current in their knowledge of school law.
        In my opinion, educational leaders need to maintain a strong knowledge base in both general education and special education law.  Weishaar, Borsa, and Weishaar (2007) suggest that "special education administrators must develop a shared responsibility with regular education administrators to communicate knowledge, procedures, and connections" between statutory law and the identification and placement process (p. 45).  This is just one example of why educational leaders need to demonstrate competence in both the general education and special education legal arenas.
        In summary, educational leaders must possess a strong legal knowledge base.  Both general education and special education administrators are continually confronted with decisions that require them to draw on their knowledge of state, federal, and case law.  In addition, educational leaders need to be skilled in aligning policy development, adjustment, and implementation with the local, state, and federal requirements.  In order to successfully accomplish these important administrative tasks, educational leaders need to demonstrate a high level of competency with both general education and special education law.

References

Essex, N.L. (2008). School law and the public schools: A practical guide for educational leaders (4th ed.). United States: Pearson Education, Inc.

Weishaar, M.K., Borsa, J.C., & Weishaar, P.M. (2007). Inclusive educational administration: A case-study approach (2nd ed.). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc.

D.  Policy and Law: Core Competency

  1. develop, adjust, and implement policy to meet local, state, and federal requirements and constitutional provisions, standards, and regulatory applications;
  2. recognize and apply standards of care involving civil and criminal liability for negligence, harassment, and intentional torts;
  3. demonstrate an understanding of state, federal, and case law governing general education, special education, and community education

Artifacts

The following artifacts demonstrate my competency in the area of policy and law:

This artifact demonstrates my ability to develop, adjust, and implement policy to meet local, state, and federal requirements and constitutional provisions, standards, and regulatory applications (D1).  In order to ensure that the special education teachers in my building were meeting state requirements for selecting, administering, and evaluating accommodations for students with disabilities, I provided a training outlining the new process set forth by the state for making accommodation decisions.  I reviewed the state-provided training materials and adjusted them to match up with the specific training needs of my staff.

This artifact demonstrates my understanding of state, federal, and case law governing general education, special education, and community education (D3).  During the 2008-2009 school year, I identified a need for training our regular education staff on Section 504.  After discussing my concerns with administration, I was asked to present on this topic at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.  The attached document not only illustrates my understanding of Section 504, but also my ability to effectively communicate with different audiences.

 
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