Disjointed Judicial Opinions
Educational law is the result of a series of disjointed judicial opinions. This reality tends to undermine the nature of this field of law. It lacks legal opacity; it lacks a clear legal structure.
Unlike tort law or contract law, educational law seems devoid of a clear theoretical tenet. For instance, this area of law resembles a disjointed compilation of judicial opinions. For the most part, however, such opinions tend to contradict one another. But the question still lingers. That is, what is educational law?
A Coherent Field of Law
I would consider educational law a coherent field of law only if judicial opinions had been based on a specific line of legal analyses. This is to say that I would consider educational law a strong field of law, both in practice and in theory, only if there had been a clear legal foundation for school-related issues. Evidently, this is not the case.
When it comes to litigation in education, every issue has some ramifications, which generally go beyond the school setting. A single issue could lead to an array of other issues. In education, every incident has something to do with other issues, which did not necessarily occur in a school setting.
Characteristics of School Law
When a student sues a school because he believes that school officials violated his rights, we are not necessarily talking about educational law per se. When a teacher loses his job because of what he perceives unfair administrative practices, we are not talking about educational law. Certainly, the issue might have something to do with the school setting itself; the issue might reflect administrative practices, which pervade the school entity itself. But I would not categorize such instances as the trademark of common practices in education.
I would not consider the firing of a school staff as an intrinsic school problem. Just the same, I would not consider the disciplinary measures taken against a student an inherent school problem. There is more to a field of law than an amalgam of court cases, which are not always central to the field itself. Presently, this is the characteristic of educational law.