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R. Pepper Crutcher, Jr., is a labor and employment attorney with Balch & Bingham LLP’s Affordable Care Act Strategists Practice Group. He regularly advises businesses, schools and other entities on their obligations under the Affordable Care Act.

An enforcement agency writes a rule to solve a specific problem. Applied to other situations, the rule makes less sense.

Will the agency restrict enforcement to those situations clearly referenced in the rule or will the agency enforce the rule more broadly? Among Affordable Care Act watchers, this is a common question.

Parsing the rule

Here’s an example. Do the IRS Employer Shared Responsibility Cost final rules convert substitutes into full-time teachers for employer mandate purposes?

Students at Columbia Public Schools in Missouri have had their social media traffic monitored for the last few years.

Laws in different states provide varied leeway when it comes to monitoring students’ public and private social media activity.

Under an Illinois law that was passed last year, district administrators (after parental notification) can demand a student’s social media passwords if they have “reasonable cause” to believe they will find evidence the student has violated school rules.

Sharon P. Robinson is president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education.

As the U.S. Department of Education combs through the public comments received on its proposed federal regulations for teacher preparation programs, citizens must wait—probably until late summer—to learn the fate of the vast and controversial proposal.

The plan will require states to rate teacher preparation programs based on graduates’ performance—and then tie new teaching students’ eligibility for federal financial aid to those ratings.

Nevada state Sen. Aaron Ford's truancy bill requires students to prove good attendance when applying for a driver's license.

A truancy reduction bill sponsored by Sen. Aaron Ford, D-Las Vegas, became law on Jan. 1, and could keep kids from getting behind the wheel. When a student between 14 and 18 years old applies for a driver’s license, they must now submit a letter from school officials stating that they have met attendance requirements.

The future of No Child Left Behind and charter schools are among the key K12 issues that the new Republican-controlled Congress expects to tackle in 2015.

Some board members of Pasco County Schools discuss their policy revisions From left to right: Kevin Shibley, executive director for administration; Cynthia Armstrong, member; Alison Crumbley, chairwoman; and Joanne Hurley, member.

Some school employees face getting the short end of the stick as district leaders work to comply with new Affordable Care Act requirements while juggling tight budgets.

Districts that treat students with emotional disabilities with a “one-size-fits-all” behavioral approach across the system must change their policies, according to federal findings in a case against the Prince William County Public Schools in Virginia.

Angela Ciolfi, legal director of the Legal Aid Justice Center’s JustChildren Program, and two other attorneys filed a complaint in November of 2012 with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education.

Jessica Shelly, food services director of Cincinnati Public Schools, sits with an elementary student during lunch. Their nutritious lunch includes milk, carrots, apple sauce and yogurt.

A Chicago suburban district, realizing it would lose more money than it rakes in, opted out of the National School Lunch Program last month in response to strict, new health regulations. But many districts can’t afford to give up federal subsidies, forcing administrators to find ways to encourage students to eat healthier foods required by federal rules.

The ACLU says more than 130 New Jersey school districts may be violating federal law.

Some 136 of 590 New Jersey districts require parents to provide government-issued identification or a social security number before enrolling a child in school—a barrier for illegal immigrant families and a violation of federal law, according to an April survey from the state’s American Civil Liberties Union chapter.

Schools that don’t follow prayer guidelines included in No Child Left Behind risk losing federal funds.

New and pending laws in several Southern states are reaffirming students’ rights to pray during the school day and at school-sponsored events such as graduations and football games.

Laws passed in South Carolina in 2012 and Mississippi in 2013 allow students to pray at assemblies, athletic events and other school functions. A 2007 Texas law lets student express religious viewpoints when they speak at school events.

It was compromise that prevented a major teacher’s strike in February, as Portland Public Schools and the local union struck a bargain during an intense 24 hours of negotiating that ended months of deliberations.

Students at the GSA Network’s Queer Youth Advocacy day last spring in California advocated for the School Success and Opportunity Act. (Photo: GSA Network)

A first-of-its-kind law in California addressing the rights of transgender students in public schools has set guidelines for administrators on how to ensure safety and equality for these students, who are at an increased risk for bullying.

is Van Roekel speaks at a recent conference, sponsored by the Education Writers Association and held at the University of Chicago, about teacher evaluations. Next to him, from his left are:

Changing state laws and the rise of evaluations have given administrators more flexibility in removing tenured teachers, a task that had long been nearly impossible. More states are tying student achievement to teacher evaluations and renegotiating contracts.

A Northern Valley Regional High School junior protested the random drug testing policy at a September school board meeting, saying that the testing would make students feel like criminals.

A New Jersey district’s proposal to randomly drug test students in extracurricular activities has parents and the school board divided over district transparency.

The board at Northern Valley Regional High School District in Bergen County, N.J., voted in July to draft a policy for the testing as a supplement to other education-based drug prevention efforts in the district of two high schools.

A Connecticut school district in the suburbs of New York City violated the IDEA by denying special education students the proper services for the past year, according to a recent Connecticut State Department of Education investigation. The case shows districts may run afoul of the law if special education services are reduced due to budget cuts.

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