Special Education Law 101 – Part I #IDEA #specialeducationlaw

Special education law is complicated stuff.  I have said here before that Special Ed Law is a lot closer to metaphysics than it is to contract law.   If you hate ambiguity, Special Ed Law may not be your thing. (I still believe that there is a Jeff Foxworthy joke in there somewhere.)

Any way, inspired by a presentation that I gave at a national conference of the Council for Exceptional Children, we periodically run a series of posts on the nuts and bolts of special education law. The series is a good refresher for veterans and a solid introduction for folks new to special education law.  So are you ready for special ed law 101?

So please fasten your seat belt (Read more...)

Endrew F and The Metaphysics of Special Education Law #metaphysics #Hegel #Paul Simon

We have gotten a robust reaction to the post a while back concerning who won Endrew F? It seems that each side (parents and school officials) still thinks that they won. Why is that?

First, we should probably take a look at special education law.  We have long said here that special education law is closer to metaphysics than it is to contract law. Contract law, and other types of old law, have "hornbook" rules that have been settled for ages. Old lawyers can apply those settled rules to a fact pattern and predict an outcome with reasonable certainty. (Although as one very senior attorney once told me, "anybody who says they know what a jury will do is lying.")

Special ed law, though (Read more...)

Back to the Future: Special Education Law 101 #SpEdLaw101 #disability

We periodically run a series here that is an introduction to special education law. Now seems like a good time to run an updated version of the series. So starting next week we will run the series.

We realize that many of you are new to the field, and we hope that this series will be very useful to you. We also realize that many of you have been in this field a long time, and we hope that this series is a useful refresher for you.

There are a lot of concepts and a bucket full of acronyms, but we find that it helps us ti keep sharp by periodically reviewing the basics. As the series progresses, please let us know what you think of it. Did we cover all important topics.  Did we explain the (Read more...)

Who Won Endrew F? #FAPE #IEP #SCOTUS

I got an email from a reporter last week asking a fascinating question: did parents or school districts win in the Endrew F decision by the US Supreme Court? You can read the entire high court decision here.  Also our previous posts concerning the case are available here and here.

The reporter noted that it seems that parent groups are hailing the decision as a victory for them while at the same time school district groups are saying that they are already providing educational benefit at the level required by this decision. You can see the apparent discrepancy in this story by PBS on whether the decision is a game-changer for special ed.

So who won...well the answer is not very clear. I'm (Read more...)

More On Endrew F Supreme Court Decision #FAPE #IEP #IDEA

We ran an analysis of the Supreme Court decision yesterday that clarifies the FAPE standard- the most important substantive requirement of IDEA. You can read the post here.

Some additional thoughts. First, the Court did not get to the some benefit vs. meaningful benefit debate which seemed to be the real question in the petition for certiorari. Instead, the court rephrased the FAPE standard without reversing the Rowley decision. So the new standard is that an IEP must be reasonable given the unique circumstances of the individual child with a disability.  The high court stated that although the standard does not require an ideal education or potential maximization, it clearly requires mo (Read more...)

Breaking News: Supreme Court Clarifies FAPE Standard #FAPE #Endrew F #IEP

OK big news. The United States Supreme Court issued a big decision on Wednesday. The high court clarified what FAPE means and how courts should apply the FAPE requirement.

The decision in Endrew F by Joseph F v. Douglas County Sch Dist RE-1, # 15-827,  580 U.S. ______ (2017) vacates and remands a previous decision by the Tenth Circuit. We have had a number of previous posts on this case which can be reviewed here, here, here, here and here.

First a few preliminary observations. First this was a unanimous decision, the second special ed unanimous decision by the Supremes this year. So we have a new slogan of this area of law: Special ed law...bringing people together!

Second this is not the (Read more...)

2017 CADRE Symposium #CADRE

CADRE, the National Center on Dispute Resolution in Special Education, will sponsor a Symposium this fall.  CADRE conferences are the best.  Right now, CADRE is seeking proposals to present at Restoring Focus on the Child: CADRE’s Seventh National Symposium on Dispute Resolution in Special Education. Keeping the theme in mind, CADRE is seeking proposals with a focus on child-centered dispute resolution processes emphasizing strategies which ultimately yield improved and successful outcomes for children with disabilities. Proposals must be received by email by April 21, 2017 to be considered.

 Objectives for this Symposium: Symposium participants will have the opportunity to:

Procedural Safeguards – The Series Index #procedural safeguards #index

A reader suggested that we create an index for our series on Procedural Safeguards under IDEA, the special education law. It sounded like a good idea. NOTE if you click on the name of any post, a link will take you to that particular post:

Preface to Series
Part I         Introduction
Part II       Notice of Procedural Safeguards
Part III      Parental Consent
Part IV      Independent Educational Evaluation
Part V        Prior Written Notice
Part VI      Dispute Resolution
Part VII    Facilitated IEPT Meetings
Part VIII  Mediation
Part X    State Complaint Procedures
Part XI &nbs (Read more...)

New Supreme Court Special Education Decision Has Flawed Reasoning #scotus #exhaustion

Yesterday, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in Fry v Napoleon Community Schools Docket No. 15-497, 580 U. S. ____ (2017). The decision by Justice Kagan was unanimous 8-0, although two justices issued a separate concurring decision. How about that special education, bringing people together! Yay!

I cannot believe that I am about to provide an argument below that the reasoning of the court is flawed! The facts are as follows:  The student in this case has a severe form of cerebral palsy that significantly limits her motor skills and mobility. Her parents obtained a service dog, a goldendoodle named Wonder who aids the student by retrieving dropped items, helping her balance on her walker, ope (Read more...)

Breaking: Supreme Court Rules Exhaustion Only Required Where FAPE Is In Issue #scotus #exhaustion

The United States Supreme Court Ruled today in Fry v Napoleon Community Schools that IDEA exhaustion is required only when IDEA FAPE is at issue. This decision reverses the Sixth Circuit decision that held that a parent must exhaust IDEA remedies before pursuing a §504 action for the failure of a school district to allow a student with a disability to have a service dog.

Get this the decision was 8-0, with six justices joining Justice Kagan's majority opinion and two others concurring.

You can read the entire decision and concurrence here. More to come on this unanimous special ed decision.