On January 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court” or the “Court”) granted certiorari in the Students for Fair Admissions, Inc. v. President & Fellows of Harvard College (“SFFA v. Harvard”) case. The Court consolidated SFFA v. Harvard with SFFA v. University of North Carolina (“UNC”) because both lawsuits are being brought by the SFFA and seek to reverse the Court’s 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger, 539 U.S. 306 (2003), upholding narrowly tailored, race-conscious measures to promote diverse student bodies in colleges and universities. The Court has extended the briefing schedule, and merits briefing will be completed this summer, with oral argument early in the October 2022 Term.
Continue Reading Supreme Court to Hear Case on the Continuation of Affirmative Action in College Admissions

The U.S. Department of Education (the “Department”) yesterday published proposed regulations in the Federal Register concerning the supplement-not-supplant requirement of Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This is the first time that the Title I supplement-not-supplant requirement contains an express legislative directive regarding how a local education agency (LEA) must demonstrate compliance. For this reason, the Department proposed the regulations to provide clarity about how LEAs can demonstrate that the distribution of State and local funds satisfies the statutory test. Based on the Department’s Fact Sheet, the proposed regulation would mean up to $2 billion annually in additional funding for the highest need schools and students.
Continue Reading Supplement-not-Supplant under Title I: Department of Education Releases Proposed Regulations

On July 26, 2016, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a Dear Colleague Letter and Resource Guide on Students with ADHD. The Dear Colleague Letter and Resource Guide confirm that, under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, school districts are required to provide equal educational opportunities to students with attention deficit disorder (“ADD”) and students with attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”).
Continue Reading Department of Education’s Recent Guidance on Students with ADD and ADHD: What Are Your Responsibilities?

Gavin Grimm, a transgender male high school student in Virginia, convinced the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals that he must be allowed to use the men’s bathroom at school; however, the Supreme Court recently issued a stay, which is to say to Grimm, “Let’s wait a minute; is this really required by federal law?

As schools attempt to navigate the varied, and often conflicting, views and authorities regarding transgender students’ use of bathrooms and locker rooms, one thing all sides can agree on is that clear guidance from SCOTUS would help schools know where they stand. That guidance may be coming next term. This is particularly true now that a federal district court in Texas has disagreed with the Fourth Circuit.
Continue Reading Supreme Court Issues Stay Regarding Transgender Student Bathroom Order

The U.S. Department of Education recently released guidance to school districts regarding new provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (“ESSA” or the “Act”) that address the support of homeless students. The guidance provides a summary of the required protections for homeless children and recommendations for school districts. The Education for Homeless Children and Youth program was originally authorized in 1987 and recently re-authorized as part of ESSA. The new provisions in the Act were prompted in part by growth in the number of homeless children enrolled in U.S. public schools. During the 2013-2014 academic year, there were more than 1.3 million homeless children enrolled. States and school districts must begin implementing these requirements by October 1, 2016.
Continue Reading Department of Education Releases Guidance on Homeless Youth Provisions in ESSA