School of Education News

Underwood's latest 'Under the Law' column examines key recent Supreme Court cases

September 07, 2017

UW-Madison's Julie Underwood has published her latest "Under the Law" column for the September issue of Kappan magazine examining several recent Supreme Court cases that will affect K-12 education. 

Underwood is the Susan Engeleiter Professor of Education Law, Policy, and Practice at UW-Madison, and the former dean of the School of Education.

The court cases Underwood covers touch on many important issues facing K-12 education, such as special education, free speech and gender equity. 

In one case, Underwood notes how a student with autism was placed in a private school after his parents decided "his progress had stalled." The parents then sought tuition reimbursement -- but the administrative law judge, district court judge and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals found tuition reimbursement was not warranted because the school had provided the student with "appropriate education."

This case raised questions about what the definition of an appropriate education really was, and the Supreme Court ruled that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires education that is "reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”

To read about the other court cases, check out Underwood's latest "Under the Law" column. 

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