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Education Law: Massachusetts Law

Research Guide to Education Law

Massachusetts Trial Court Law Library

The Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries create subject guides on various legal topics in the state. Their Education Law guide provides links to statutes, regulations, and other web resources that may be of use. This is a free resource.

Massachusetts Secondary Sources

State Laws

Massachusetts' education laws are primarily codied in two clusters of chapters in the state code. First, you will look at Chapters 69 through 78A, which include:

  • Chapter 69. Powers and Duties of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
  • Chapter 70. School Funds and State Aid for Public Schools
  • Chapter 70B. School Building Assistance Program
  • Chapter 71. Public Schools
  • Chapter 71A. English Language Education in Public SchoolsChapter 
  • Chapter 71B. Children with Special Needs
  • Chapter 73. State Colleges and Community Colleges
  • Chapter 74. Vocational EducationChapter 
  • Chapter 74A. Independent Agricultural and Technical Schools

Secondly, Chapters 15 - 15E contain enabling statutes for much of the adminstrative apparatus for Massachusetts education.

The best place to research these laws is in an annotated code, such as Annotated Laws of Massachusetts or Massachusetts General Laws Annotated. This will have the most up to date version of the law available, as well as research annotations, such as case notes, to help you find even more sources. 

State Court Opinions

When searching for Massachusetts cases, remember the the Supreme Judicial Court is the highest court in the Commonwealth. There are appelate level cases that could be bindiing in your jurisdiction as well.

Search terms are going to be based on your particular issue and fact pattern. You will want to consider facts like the level of the school (i.e. elementary, secondary), the funding of the school (i.e. public, private) and the role of the people involved (i.e. student, teacher, administrator)

Using the West Key Number System, you can look at topic number 141E for education, or look up "Education" in the Descriptive Word Index of the Massachusetts Digest. 

State Agencies

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education oversees education in Massachusetts. It promulgates regulations, located in Title 603 of the Code of Massachusetts Regulations. It also sets education policy.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is the adminstrative agency that carries out these policies, under a Commissioner  and has other responsibilites related to Federal edcuation requirements. 

You can find information on both at the Department's web site, at http://www.doe.mass.edu/. The regulations can also be found on WestlawNext, Lexis Advance, and Bloomberg Law.

Subject Guide

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