The history of education law is characterized by a series of landmark court opinions and legislative acts that, with some exceptions, express the public policy preference for universality in public education. The major exception is the U.S. Supreme Court's 1896 "separate-but-equal" ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson. From the early days of the Old Deluder Satan Act to the present, the trend has been toward inclusion, not exclusion. Examples of significant expansions of this concept of universality are the enactment of compulsory attendance laws in all 50 states in the twentieth century; the Brown decision in 1954; and the 1975 enactment of the EAHCA, now IDEA.
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