Education in Law Litigation and Article Critique

Excerpt from Article Critique :

An astounding 72% of teachers were seen to think that parents too often take their child's side without being reasonable to what really happened from an adults' point-of-view. Additionally, many may see the chance of a lawsuit as a way to get rich quick, and therefore blow up the situation bigger than necessary for the potential of a large payment. Since this happens too often within modern practice, it is understandable how both teachers and educators alike would take a disliking of such cases.

Yet, despite these complaints, most educators and educational administrators have been seen in this research to believe that protection of children is worth the annoyance of litigation. Although many educators see lawsuits as taking a personal toll, the research overwhelmingly showed that many thought it was still necessary to have the option to sue to protect those children who have been wronged. The research presented here states that "The teachers and administrators we spoke with for this pilot study were quick to suggest that children sometimes make false charges of abuse, but they were equally quick to acknowledge that genuine abuse -- both physical and sexual -- could take place in schools," (Johnson & Duffett 2003:19). Therefore, no matter the negative results of some of the cases that go to litigation and the headache they cause, it is necessary to protect the children.

Overall, both teachers and administrators would rather see modifications to the current system, rather than a full forced revolution of the system. Although it may be frustrating, it does work when needed to protect the lives and interests of the children within America's schools. Yet, in the case of special education, the system seems to be failing (Katsiyannia & Herbst 2004). Educators within special education are crying for relief, based on the sensitive nature of the various programs involved. Special Education requires more sensitive treatment than the current system allocates.

The study provides insightful information, yet does show some weaknesses in its basic design. It was a very small study, thus limiting its ability to make overall assumptions of the larger population as a whole. The research states, "Instead, we are reporting on a small number of national survey findings combined with a small number of focus groups," (Johnson & Duffett 2003:2). These small numbers were needed to successfully conduct the study, yet does hinder its universal appeal. Additionally, the study does not offer any recommendations or working strategies. It states that "The purpose of this small-scale study is to raise questions, stimulate discussion and provide hypothesis for further research -- not to suggest definite conclusions," (Johnson & Duffett 2003:2). Therefore, it is not really contributing new and practical strategy into an already large body of work.

Litigation does play a powerful role in the field of education. It has the potential to bring progressive change, yet it also has the potential to frustrate the system and those who work within it. Major changes were brought forth through litigation. However, as this research shows, not all lawsuits bring beneficial change.

Resources

Aldridge, Delores P. Litigation and education of blacks: A look at the U.S. Supreme Court. Journal of Negro Education. 47(1):96-112.

Johnson, Jean & Duffett, Ann. (2003). I'm calling my lawyer: How litigation, due process and other regulatory requirements are affecting public education. Public Agenda.

Katsiyannia, Antonis & Herbst, Maria. (2004). Minimize litigation in special education. Intervention in School & Clinic. 40(2):106-117.

State Legislatures. (2004). Litigation in education: For 50 years, courts have been deciding whether states are meeting their constitutional obligations to provide a…

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