Presentation on theme: "SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW AND LITIGATION"— Presentation transcript:
1 SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW AND LITIGATION Educating Students with DisabilitiesED 519 Issues, Laws and Trends in EducationKristin KernJuly 25, 2009
2 Remember… Special Education is a service, not a place! Special education refers to a range of educational and social services provided by the public school system and other educational institutions to individuals with disabilities who are between the ages of 3 and 21. It is designed to ensure that students with disabilities are provided an environment that allows them to be educated effectively. *Continuum of servicesRemember…Special Education is a service, not a place!
3 Eligibility – must meet all qualifications 13 Disability categoriesMental retardation (MR)Emotional DisturbanceOrthopedic impairmentHearing impairmentDeafnessSpeech or language impairmentVisual impairmentAutismTraumatic brain injury (TBI)Other health impairment (OHI)Specific learning disability (SLD)Deaf-blindnessMultiple disabilities“Adversely affect educational performance”Needs Specially Designed Instructions (SDI)Determination made by an evaluation team.*In PA, all children eligible for special education have the right to…
4 FAPE Free Appropriate Public Education Educational right of children with disabilities guaranteed by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and IDEA To provide FAPE, schools must provide students with “an educational program that is individualized to a specific child, designed to meet that child's unique needs, provides access to the general curriculum, meets the grade-level standards established by the state and from which the child receives an educational benefit”. The failure of the parents to object does not excuse the failure of the school district to provide FAPE. Why? The Courts have indicated that it does not depend on parents to know if an educational program is appropriate—schools are the experts.
5 FAPE Without charge to preschool, elementary or secondary students (except for fees that are charged for all students)At public expenseIn conformity with an IEP“Reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits”Designed to meet that one student’s unique needs (academic and functional)Provides access to the general curriculum (approximate grade-level standards of the state)Least Restrictive Environment (LRE=the extent to which students participate in regular education classroom)Protections under FERPAUnder public supervision and directionPrepares the child for further education, employment and independent livingIncludes related services
6 U. S. Supreme Court Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson School District v. Rowley (1982) Amy Rowley, profoundly deaf since birth, attended a New York public school.SD and parents disagreed about what services were necessary for Amy. Parents, also deaf, argued that the school district should provide Amy a sign language interpreter so she can understand her teachers and classmates.School officials thought services she was already receiving were sufficient (speech and language therapy, the services of a teacher of the deaf in the first grade regular education room and an FM amplification system).School officials argued that Amy was achieving passing marks with the programming provided and therefore, did not need additional services to succeed.Parents maintained that only a fraction of information was available to her through FM system or lip reading and an interpreter was necessary to provide her learning opportunities comparable to non-disabled peers.The parents filed a complaint to contest the denial of the interpreter services. The hearing officer ruled in favor of the school district and the parents appealed. The federal district court ruled in the parents' favor and the second Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that ruling. The school district appealed to the United States Supreme Court.The Court asked two questions:1. "What is meant by a free appropriate public education”?2. “What is the role of state and federal courts in exercising the review granted by Education for All Handicapped Children Act”?Supreme Court sided with the school district and maintained that the school was providing FAPE. The student was clearly progressing through the grades along with her non-disabled peers and therefore benefiting from the IEP. Therefore, the school did not need to provide a full time sign language interpreter.
7 Related Services*Related services are transportation and/or developmental, corrective and other supportive services required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education. This includes speech-language pathology and audiology services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. The term also includes school health services and social work services in schools.OTPTVan transportationSLBIPAssistive technology devicesPCP
8 U. S. Supreme Court Irving Independent School District v. Tatro (1984) Student is an 8-year-old born with spina bifida -- she must be catheterized every three or four hours to avoid injury to her kidneys.Needs clean intermittent catheterization (CIC) -- simple procedure that can be performed in a few minutes by a layperson with training.Since SD received federal funding under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act it was required to provide the child "related services" .Parents believed that the school was responsible for providing CIC during school hours.Her IEP made no provision for school personnel to administer CIC.The SD believed that this service fell outside the realm of related services because it was a medical service and therefore was not covered.Parents sued in Federal District Court, arguing that CIC is a related service under the Act and won—SD appealed.U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the parents. They found that clean intermittent catheterization is not a medical service. They stated that medical services are services that require a medical doctor. CIC can be provided by a nurse or a trained lay person. It is needed for students to be able to attend school and needed to provide this student with an appropriate special education.
9 The Process…Evaluation – gathers information used to determine if special education is needed-school psychologist, teachers, related service providers, parents-review of testing/assessments, classroom observations, disability, programs and services-”permission to evaluate” = 60 school days to complete-ER given to parents at least 10 days prior to Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting-RR – every three years, unless MR, then every 2 yearsIndividualized Education Program (IEP) – a description of all the programs and services necessary to help the student be successful and help meet the unique educational needs; “cornerstone of student’s educational program”-written by the TEAMParentsGeneral education teacherSpecial education teacherLocal Education Agency Representative (LEA)Related Service ProvidersStudent (age 16)Transition representative (if applicable)-must have first four!-parents can choose not to attend and meeting can still be held-completed within 30 calendar days after ER-implemented no later than 10 school days after IEP meeting-reviewed and updated every year
10 The Process (continued)… IEP contents-annual goals – expected to learn during the year-short term objectives – sequential steps to reach goals **only if taking PASA-present levels of performance-strengths and needs-services and programs (where, what kind, how much, how often)-method of evaluation – is student meeting goals?-report of progress-how much, if any, will the student not participate in the general ed. class (i.e. specialeducation classroom)-specially designed instructions (SDI) & supplemental aids and services-accommodations and modifications-participation in state and local assessments-participation in extended school year (ESY) if applicable-transition planning – prepare for life after school/from school to work--overall look at education/training, job placement, living arrangements, community life-disciplinary methods (especially for children with emotional and behavioral issues)=BIP-calculation of LRE -- percentage reported on the Penn Data system (federally mandated)
11 curriculum is changed quite a bit Difference between…Accommodationschanges made to the teaching procedures to create an equal opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and skills without altering curriculumgives students equal access to curriculum, a way to be successful and offer a way to demonstrate what they have learnedModificationsaltering content, instruction or learning outcomes for diverse student needscurriculum is changed quite a bitstudents with disabilities are not expected to master the same academic content as others in the classroomFor example:A child with poor writing skills may use a word processor or tape recorder to take a spelling test instead of pencil and paper = accommodation.A child who can't learn the twenty-word spelling list every week may learn only ten words = modifcation.
12 You can’t write an IEP without a plan Where are you now?*Present Levels of Performance=prove you know the studentWhere do you want to go?*Annual GoalsHow will you get there?*Specially Designed Instructions (SDI)How do you know that you have arrived?*Assessment*Progress Monitoring**Progress Monitoring is an ongoing process of assessment and evaluation.Collecting and analyzing data to determine progressMaking instructional decisions based on that dataDetermine if instructional method is workingDetermine correct instructional levelsReport progress
13 Even More… Educational Setting -IEP developed first, then look at where the program will be provided**always consider the general education classroom first in the neighborhood school =continuum of services-law requires children with disabilities be placed with students who are non disabled as much as possible = LRE-general education is not appropriate if the special needs cannot be met there even with supplemental aids and services-school districts need to make classes availableLS-greatest need in academic areas (LA and math)LSS-greatest need to learn skills to live and work independentlyES-greatest need for social, emotional and behavioral helpSSS (sensory support skills)-require help with limited vision or hearingSLS-difficulty in speaking and communicatingPS-programs consider physical disabilitiesAutistic supportMDS-children with multiple disabilities (many services and much support)Finalizing-provide parents with Procedural Safeguards*-provide parents with a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP)--what the district is proposing or refusing--other options considered and why they were rejected-parents must approve and sign NOREP before school is allowed to implement IEP*No NOREP—No services!
14 Procedural Safeguards *Procedural safeguards are designed to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their families, and to ensure that children with disabilities receive FAPE.This booklet gives families:Right to review all educational recordsTo be equal partners on the IEP team, along with the school staffTo participate in all aspects of planning their child’s education including placementTo file complaints with the state education agencyRequest mediation or a due process hearing
15 Due Process—Rights of the Parents If a parent does not believe their child’s special education program is working, they can request…“Stay Put” rule= once a request is made, current educational placement cannot be changed by the district1.) Prehearing Conference-school district (SD) and parent agree to try to resolve the matter by meeting—school must go!-must be held within 10 calendar days of request-parents have the right to bring advocate, lawyer etc.2.) Mediation-free, voluntary, confidential/neither side is required to attend-take place at any time-cannot be used to delay or deny steps-Office for Dispute Resolution arranges for neutral, specially trained mediator-meets with both sides, separately and together but does not make a decision-helps reach an agreement; put in writing and into IEP-neither SD nor parents can bring a lawyer
16 Due Process (continued) 3.) Due Process Hearing-parents need to give to the SD a description of the problem and a proposed solution-within 15 days, SD must hold resolution session—opportunity to resolve complaint (can be waived if both parties agree)-within 30 days have due process hearing before impartial hearing officer-both sides can have lawyers and witnesses-parent can have hearing officer subpoena anyone from the SD to testify-written material to be used given to both sides-hearing officer makes written decision within 45 calendar daysParents can have attorney’s fees paid by the district if decision in their favor.Parents ordered to pay the SD costs if found to pursue a complaint to harass, cause unnecessary delay or increase cost to the district.If parents not satisfied with hearing officers decision, can appeal to the Special Education Appeals Panel.If disagree with this, parents can file an appeal in commonwealth or federal court.
17 School Discipline and Students with Disabilities IEP team must consider the behaviors-Do the child’s behaviors hurt the child’s ability to learn?-Do the child’s behaviors hurt other students’ ability to learn?Decide on positive behavioral interventionsComplete a functional behavioral analysis (FBA)-evaluation of what things caused behaviorInclude a BIP in IEPState law requires a SD to inform the family and the student if intending to suspend or expel—students have extra protection under special education lawParents given NOREP--how student will be disciplined and why--options SD considered--opportunity to agree or disagreeParents agree?—SD can discipline but not more harshly than non-disabled studentParents disagree?—figure out if counts as a “change in placement” (CIP)-Students with MR=any suspension, expulsion or transfer to another school is a CIP-Any other students with IEP’s=expulsion is a CIP; suspension or transfer to another ed. setting (alternative school) for more than 10 school days in a row OR more than 15 total school days in the school year is a CIP
18 School Discipline and Students with Disabilities Yes to a CIP? --school must hold a manifestation determination meetingWas the behavior a manifestation of the child’s disability?-meeting within 10 school days of proposal of CIP-IEP team review files, IEP, observations, parent information1. Was the child’s misbehavior caused by, or directly and substantially related to, the child’s disability? (i.e. hearing impairment)2. Was the child’s misbehavior a direct result of the school’s failure to follow the child’s IEP? (i.e. BIP with a sub)Yes to either one and all agree? -- conclude the misbehavior was a “manifestation” of disability and student CANNOT be suspended, expelled, or transferred as punishment for the misbehavior *exceptions involve drugs, weapons, or serious injury to another person-must do a FBA to find triggers and preventionsNo and all agree? – not a “manifestation” of disability and school can discipline with suspension, expulsion or transfer
19 School Discipline and Students with Disabilities Did you know?...State law says any student who is suspended has the right to make up the school work, even if the suspension is so short that it doesn’t count as a CIP.If a school changes the placement of a child with a disability through suspension, expulsion or transfer, federal law requires the school to provide enough educational services to participate in the general education curriculum and make progress on IEP goals.
20 School Discipline and Students with Disabilities School decides not a “manifestation” and parent disagrees?– SD may discipline and parent can request due process hearing-hearing concluded within 20 school days-if hearing officer agrees with parent, student returns to placement“Special circumstances” involves illegal drugs, weapons, selling prescription drugs or serious bodily harm to another person at school or a school-related activityIf misbehavior is a “special circumstance,” the school can immediately move student to an alternative educational setting for up to 45 school days even if the child has mental retardation, and even if the school agrees with the parent that the misbehavior was a “manifestation” of the student’s disability.
21 Federal Court Case Light v. Parkway (1995) Eighth Circuit Court Lauren Light, a 13 year old with SED, PDD, MMR, autistism, language impairment and organic brain syndrome –(impulsive, unpredictable, aggressive).Placed in a self contained classroom in a St. Louis, Missouri public school and parents obtained a transfer to a less restrictive setting. (IEP required full time teacher, one aide and the regular classroom teacher).Committed 11 to 19 aggressive acts per week (biting, hitting, kicking, poking, throwing objects, turning over furniture--during 30 of these (over a two period), nurse was required). Behavior had a negative effect on the progress of the five other students in the program and class was rarely able to complete a lesson plan. IEP team recommended a change of placement -- Parents objected and requested a due process hearing and invoked "stay-put rule”.Attacked another student and principal suspended her for ten days. Parents immediately filed in district court to have suspension lifted and the district counterclaimed to remove Lauren from the program during pendency of the proceedings. The district claimed a substantial risk of injury to self or others.The court held for the parents, finding that they had been denied due process and lifted the suspension. SD appealed.
22 Federal Court Case Light v. Parkway (1995) Eighth Circuit Court The Court outlined a test for removal:1.) The district must show that it has made reasonable efforts to accommodate the child's disabilities so as to minimize the potential for injury to self or others. This boils down to whether the district has made reasonable use of supplemental aids and services. This may give rise to the argument they must actually be tried before more restrictive placement is implemented.2.) Where injury remains substantially likely to result despite the reasonable efforts of the school district to accommodate the child's disability, the district court may issue an injunction ordering that the child's placement be changed pending the outcome of the administrative review process.Court found there was a substantial likelihood of injury-- parents' arguments that these were merely "nuisance" behaviors were rejected.Court found:1. A child need not first inflict serious injury before being deemed "substantially likely" to do so.2. The district took reasonable steps to minimize the risk of injury.3. Removal of child from program was proper.A student who is violent, dangerous, and disruptive of the education of others is never properly placed in a regular classroom setting." This case marked a turn in the judicial belief that inclusion is a right. Further, the court indicated that all of the circumstances surrounding a student must be taken into account when determining the proper placement. For some students, a general classroom may not be appropriate even with aids and services.
23 Implementing the IEP and placement issues--ultimately landing in Due Process and/or Court… 1.) All staff not seeing the IEP2.) Refusal to implement IEP because it does not fit a teaching style3.) Failing to make clear who will implement/take a role in the IEP4). Failing to provide staff training5). Failing to deliver what was promised in the IEP6.) Failing to provide services at the appropriate time7.) Failure to offer a continuum of services8.) Failure to consider less restrictive options with supports9.) Taking a “one size fits all” approach
24 Evaluation issues--ultimately landing in Due Process and/or Court… 1.) Failure of “Child Find”school districts must locate, evaluate and identify all eligible children residing in the districtstandard is “knew or should have known”2.) Failure to include classroom teachers3.) Failure to perform an FBA if behavior issue4.) Failing to fully develop present ed. levels5.) Not following up on recommendations made in the evaluation6.) Failing to do a thorough evaluation7.) Failure to consider a 504 if not IEP eligible8.) Not discussing extended school year (ESY) at every IEP meetingClaims that will not hold up in Court“The parent agreed that we could do it this way”.“We didn’t tell the parents, but the IEP wasn’t working so we just decided to change some things”.“It might have worked, but the student wasn’t cooperating”.
25 On a “lighter” note…U.S. Department of Education statistics 2009 Approximately 600,000 children, ages three to five, are served by special education services. In preschool children, the most prevalent disability is speech or language impairment.Approximately 6.5 million students, ages six to 21, are served by special education services. Common disabilities among this group include specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, mental retardation and emotional disturbance.________________________________________________Fourteen percent of students with disabilities in elementary and middle school have been expelled or suspended at some point in their school careers.Emotionally disturbed students have the highest drop-out rate (35%), while deaf-blind students have the lowest rate (4%).Students with learning disabilities and speech disorders have the lowest rates of unemployment.
26 Legislative History Rehabilitation Act of 1973 -prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs that are conducted byfederal agencies or receives financial assistanceSection 504-federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs andactivities that receive Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education-states “no otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall, solelyby reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of,or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financialassistance "-recipients of Federal financial assistance include public school districts, institutions of higherEducation and other state and local education agencies-requires a school district to provide FAPE to each qualified student with a disability who is in theschool district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.-FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aidsand services designed to meet the student's individual educational needs as adequately as theneeds of non disabled students are met.-in the public schools = requirements common include reasonable accommodation for studentswith disabilities, program accessibility, effective communication for people with hearing or visiondisabilities and accessible new construction and alterations
27 Legislative HistoryEducation for All Handicapped Children Act (EHCA) PL-enacted by United States Congress requiring all public schools receiving federal fundsto provide equal access to education for children with physical, mental or behavioraldisabilities=FAPE-evaluate students and develop program=IEP-school districts provide administrative procedures so parents could dispute decisions-from there parents could seek judicial review=due processBefore the EHCA statute was enacted, U.S. public schools educated only 1 out of 5 children with disabilities. Until that time, many states had laws that explicitly excluded children with certain types of disabilities from attending public schools (blind, deaf, and children labeled emotionally disturbed or mentally retarded).At the time the EHCA was enacted, more than 1 million children in the U.S. had no access to the public school system. Many lived at state institutions where they received limited or no educational or rehabilitation services. Another 3.5 million children attended school but were “warehoused” in segregated facilities and received little or no effective instruction.
28 Legislative HistoryFamily Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) 1974-federal law protecting the privacy of student’s educational records--applies to all schools receiving funds underU.S.Dept of Ed.-gives parents and students over 18 (eligible) the right to inspect and review education records kept by theschool (schools are not required to provide copies of records unless it is impossible to review the recordsschools may charge)-parents or eligible students have the right to request that a school correct records which they believe to beinaccurate or misleading—if denied, right to a formal hearing.-schools must have written permission from the parent or eligible student in order to release any informationfrom a student's education record-FERPA allows schools to disclose those records, without consent, to:School officials with legitimate educational interestOther schools to which a student is transferring;Specified officials for audit or evaluation purposesAppropriate parties in connection with financial aid to a studentOrganizations conducting certain studies for or on behalf of the schoolAccrediting organizationsTo comply with a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoenaAppropriate officials in cases of health and safety emergenciesState and local authorities, within a juvenile justice system, pursuant to specific State law-schools may disclose, without consent, "directory" information such as a student's name, address, telephonenumber, date and place of birth, honors and awards and dates of attendance-schools must tell parents and eligible students about directory information and allow a reasonable amount oftime to request that the school not disclose directory information about them*The act is also referred to as the Buckley Amendment, named for one of its proponents, Senator James L.Buckley of New York.
29 Legislative History Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 1992 -prohibits private employers, state and local governments, employment agencies and labor unionsfrom discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures,hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training and other terms, conditions and privilegesof employment-in order to be considered qualified, the individual must be able to perform the job with or withoutaccommodations.-a company must make an accommodation for a qualified employee as long as it wouldn't imposean “undue hardship” on the businessADA Title II-covers all activities of state and local governments regardless of the governmententity's size or receipt of federal funding-requires that state and local governments give people with disabilities an equalopportunity to benefit from all of their programs, services and activities =public education-must relocate programs or otherwise provide access and communicate effectively withpeople who have hearing, vision, or speech disabilities-required to make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures wherenecessary to avoid discrimination, unless they can demonstrate that doing so wouldfundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity being provided
30 Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) The U.S. Department of Education states “...to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities including children in public, private institutions or care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled and special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily”.LRE is the environment most like that of typical children in which the child with a disability can succeed academically (as measured by the specific goals in the student's IEP).While the majority of children with disabilities are taught at least part time in a general classroom setting, many children are segregated, most often due to a lack of staff and resources to support special needs students in general classrooms.This stipulation that special-needs children be educated in the least restrictive environment led to the practice of inclusion, which is the policy of placing special education students in regular classrooms as much as possible with the necessary supports and services. Separate resource rooms where students receive individualized instruction, tutoring and/or review still exist.*Remember the Continuum of services
31 Federal Court Case Daniel R. R. v Federal Court Case Daniel R.R. v. State Board of Education(1989) 5th Circuit Court of AppealsDaniel is a boy with Down Syndrome, MR and SL impairment--placed in half day mainstream kindergarten class and a special education early childhood class.The school in El Paso, Texas tried accommodations but Daniel was not mastering any of the skills that were being taught in kindergarten. He did not participate unless there was one-on-one with him. The teacher had to modify the curriculum almost beyond recognition.After a few months in kindergarten, the SD decided the mainstream kindergarten class was not appropriate –he was placed solely in the special ed. early childhood classroom.Daniel's parents did not agree and it went to due process.The court concluded that the school’s decision was correct– Daniel was not receiving an appropriate education because the curriculum was beyond his abilities. It was determined that the LRE for Daniel was an alternative special education setting. He was permitted to attend non-educational settings with non-disabled students in order to mainstream him as much as possible.Developed a two part test for determining if LRE requirement is met. The test poses two questions:1.) “Can an appropriate education in the general education classroom with the use of supplementary aids and services be achieved satisfactorily”?2.) “If a student is placed in a more restrictive setting, is the student "integrated" to the "maximum extent appropriate"?
32 Federal Court Case Greer v Federal Court Case Greer v. Rome (1991) United States Court of Appeals Eleventh CircuitChristy Greer evaluated and placed in a self-contained kindergarten classroom in Georgia (IQ 40).Parents objected and went to due process, arguing that the appropriate placement should have been in a classroom at her neighborhood school.Court stated "Before the school district may conclude that a handicapped child should be educated outside of the regular classroom it must consider whether supplemental aids and services would permit satisfactory education in the regular classroom.”The court ruled in favor of parents and determined that the SD failed to consider LRE prior to making the decision for a self-contained environment. SD appealed.In federal court parents said the school determined the child's "severe impairment" justified placement in a self-contained special education classroom.The district argued that the costs of providing services in the classroom would be too high.The court sided with the parents and said the school had made no effort to modify the kindergarten curriculum to accommodate the child in the regular classroom.. The court also stated that the district cannot refuse to serve a child because of added cost.Concept of “continuum of placement options" was developed. Before moving down the continuum to a more restrictive placement, the IEP team must at least consider, discuss, and justify not placing a student in the general education classroom.
33 Legislative HistoryIndividuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Public Law-Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHCA) 1975 was renamed IDEA ’97, signed byPresident Bill Clinton on June 4, 1997-this law ensures services to children with disabilities throughout the nation and governs how states and publicagencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to eligible infants, toddlers, childrenand youth with disabilities-infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention (EI) services underIDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B-expanded special education services by mandating that all children with disabilities—regardless of the type orseverity of their disability—between the ages of three and 21 years are entitled to FAPE, including relatedservices designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living-continues to provide FAPE, LRE and guarantees parents procedural safeguards and due process rights-Congress viewed the reauthorization process as an opportunity to strengthen and improve IDEA by:--strengthening the role of parents--ensuring access to the general education curriculum and reforms--focusing on teaching and learning while reducing unnecessary paperwork requirements--assisting education agencies in addressing the costs of improving special education and related services to children with disabilities--giving increased attention to racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity to prevent inappropriate identificationand mislabeling--ensuring that schools are safe and conducive to learning--encouraging parents and educators to work out their differences
34 Legislative HistoryIndividuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) H.R (may also be referred to as IDEA 2004)-reauthorized IDEA ’97, signed by President George W. Bush on December 3, 2004-kept many of the provisions of IDEA ’97:FAPELREGuarantee of due process and procedural safeguards-made amendments:Participation in state and district assessments, with or without accommodationsDevelopment of state & district alternate assessment with guidelines (PASA)Enhanced parental participation in eligibility & placement decisionsStreamlined student evaluation & reevaluation requirementsMediation to resolve parent-school differencesDevelopmentally delayed identification expanded for ages 3-9 at discretion of state & local education agencyAlignment with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)Changes in discipline proceduresPrevention of “over-identification”Changes in initial evaluation and reevaluation“Highly Qualified Teachers”Changes to IEP team meetingsProcedural Safeguards regarding surrogatesProcedural Safeguards regarding mediation and resolution sessionsProcedural Safeguards regarding Due Process HearingsState FundingLocal Funding
35 Some Amendments of IDEIA/IDEA 2004 “Core academic subjects” =english, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geographyStates may use part of their allocations from the government to support the development and provision of appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments that are valid and reliable for assessing the performance of children with disabilities.The State must establish goals and performance indicators to assess progress of children with disabilities (and include them in AYP). *Requires reporting annually to the secretary and the public on the progress of the State and of children with disabilities in the StateThe state must develop alternate assessments that are the aligned with the State's academic content standards and measure the achievement of children with disabilities against those standards.A child must not be determined to be a child with a disability because of a lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math or limited English proficiency.School personnel may consider any unique circumstances on a case-by-case basis when determining whether a change in placement is appropriate for a child with a disability who violates a code of student conduct.Differences between IDEA 1997 and IDEA 2004
36 Criticisms of IDEA 2004 From schools… Excessive procedures and paperworkIDEA protects children and parents but not districts, schools and teachersThere are no exceptions to IDEA -- no child is so severely disabled as to not qualify for educational services under IDEA. Even children who have severe brain damage still qualify for FAPE. This means that schools can be required to provide "educational" services to children who have no capacity for voluntary movement, no ability to communicate and no indication that they recognize their own names or their parents' faces.Under related services, schools are specifically required to pay for many kinds of medical treatments, including speech therapy, audiology, physical therapy, and nursing, if the medical treatment is expected to help the student's education. There is no requirement that private health insurance be used when available.
37 Criticisms of IDEA 2004 From parents… Criticize schools for not following laws in designing and implementing IEPs and enforcement is scarce and ineffectiveImpartial Due Process hearing officers are not impartialDistricts spend thousands of dollars fighting against parents who want services for their children rather than providing the services, which are often much less expensive than the attorney's feesSchools and districts may retaliate against families who advocate for their children, sometimes retaliating against the children themselvesMinorities are overidentified as having learning disabilities, emotional disturbaces and mental retardationSome students do not obtain effective transition skills and information necessary for when they exit special education and out into the real world. They are essentially dumped without any idea of the available community resources.
38 NCLB v. IDEA Something to think about… Stresses external comparison outcome standardsRequires proficiency of state standardsAssumes any “gap” among all groups of children can be closedIDEAStresses meeting individual needsRequires program reasonably calculated to show individual progressNot concerned with a “gap” but the individual child
39 Federal Court Case Roncker v. Walter (1993) 6th Circuit Court Addressed the issue of "bringing educational services to the child" versus "bringing the child to the services”.Parents objected to placement of the child in a segregated county school for children with MR in Ohio --went to due process.Court ordered the SD to return the child with multiple severe disabilities to his home school and design a program to meet his needs. SD appealed.The SD expert had testified that the segregated program was superior to the child's home school, but the court held that before the school system could remove the child from his home school it must first determine whether the services which made the segregated program superior could feasibly be provided in the non-segregated setting.Case was resolved in favor of “integrated versus segregated placement” and established a “principle of portability” – if a desirable service currently provided in a segregated setting can appropriately be delivered in an integrated setting, it would violate IDEA to provide the service in a segregated environment”.Development of a two part test to guide decisions on appropriate placement:1.) “Can the educational services that make the segregated setting superior be feasibly provided in a nonsegregated setting”? (If so, the segregated placement is inappropriate.)(2) “Is the student being mainstreamed to the maximum extent appropriate”?The Court found that placement decisions must be individually made. School districts that automatically place children in a predetermined type of school solely on the basis of their disability rather than on the basis of the IEP violate federal laws.
40 Federal Court Case Oberti v Federal Court Case Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District (1993) United States Court of Appeals, Third CircuitRafael is an eight year old boy with Down syndrome. SD recommended to parents that he be placed in a segregated special education class located in another SD.Parents visited a number of special classes recommended by the SD and found them all unacceptable.Parents and SD came to an agreement that Rafael would attend a "developmental" kindergarten class (for children not fully ready for kindergarten) at the Clementon Elementary School (neighborhood school) in the mornings and a special education class in another school district in the afternoons.IEP developed by the SD assigned all of Rafael's academic goals to the afternoon special education class -- the only goals in the morning kindergarten class were to observe, model and socialize with nondisabled peers.Progress reports for the developmental kindergarten class showed academic and social progress in that class—however a number of serious behavioral problems( toileting accidents, temper tantrums, crawling and hiding under furniture, touching, hitting and spitting on other children, hitting the teacher and the teacher's aide) continued in other class.Problems disrupted the class -- attempts to modify the curriculum but Rafael's IEP provided no plan for addressing behavior problems.SD proposed to place Rafael in a segregated special education class for children classified as MR---no class existed within the SD and he would have to travel to a different district.Parents objected to a segregated placement and requested he be placed in the regular kindergarten class.SD refused and parents requested a due process hearing.Through mediation, parents and SD came to an agreement that he would attend a special education class for students labeled "multiply handicapped" in the Winslow public SD.As part of the agreement, Clementon SD promised to explore mainstreaming possibilities in Winslow and to consider a future placement in a regular classroom in the Clementon Elementary School.
41 Case that begins the change from mainstreaming to inclusion. Federal Court Case Oberti v. Board of Education of the Borough of Clementon School District (1993) United States Court of Appeals, Third CircuitIn the special education class at Winslow, behavior improved and he made academic progress. However, parents found that the SD was making no plans to mainstream Rafael and he had no meaningful contact with nondisabled students.Parents brought another due process complaint, renewing their request under IDEA that he be placed in a regular class in his neighborhood elementary school (Clementon).Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law affirmed the SD decision that the segregated special education class (Winslow) was the LRE for Rafael.ALJ found that Rafael's behavior problems in that class were extensive and that he had achieved no meaningful educational benefit in the class--the ALJ concluded that Rafael was not ready for mainstreaming.Parents filed suit in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey claiming discrimination under IDEA and Section 504.The district court found that the SD had failed to establish that Rafael could not at that time be educated in a regular classroom with supplementary aids and services. The court concluded the SD violated IDEA.The court held that "inclusion is a 'right,' not a privilege for a select few…success in special schools and special classes does not lead to successful functioning in integrated society, which is clearly one of the goals of IDEA”.The Court stated "that education law requires school systems to supplement and realign their resources to move beyond those systems, structures and practices which tend to result in unnecessary segregation of children with disabilities”.Case that begins the change from mainstreaming to inclusion.
42 Two Big IssuesCompensatory Educationa legal term used to describe future educational services' which courts award to a disabled student under IDEA “for the school district's failure to provide FAPE in the past”courts have awarded it to “grant such relief as the court determines appropriate”Tuition Reimbursementbig issue of debate between special needs children and private school tuition reimbursementdebate has raged since the inception of IDEAearly 1980's Supreme Court established that special needs children are entitled “only to appropriate educational services and not the best services available”parents have been litigating this issue since then in hope of gaining the right to educational alternatives for children with disabilitiesthings have now changed
43 U.S. Supreme Court Forest Grove School District v. T.A. (2009) In 2003, T.A., a former student in the SD, was evaluated for suspected learning disabilities.In 2004, the Office of Administrative Hearings for the State of Oregon determined that T.A. was disabled and eligible for special education under IDEA and Section 504.T.A. was no longer enrolled in the SD but attending private school -- the hearing officer ordered the Forest Grove SD to reimburse T.A. for the private school tuition ($5,200 per month), determining it had failed to offer him FAPE.SD appealed in an Oregon federal district court arguing that reimbursement was not appropriate because T.A. withdrew from school, never received special education services while enrolled and withdrew for reasons unrelated to his learning disability.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the district court. T.A. appealed.The Supreme Court held that IDEA authorizes reimbursement for private special-education services when a public school fails to provide FAPE and the private school placement is appropriate, regardless of whether the child previously received special education services through the public school.The Supreme Court found that courts had the power to make sure districts reimburse parents for private school tuition when a school district fails to provide FAPE and a private school placement is appropriate.
44 Gaskin v. Pennsylvania Department of Education (2004) United States District Court for the Eastern District of PennsylvaniaThe Gaskin settlement affects over 280,000 students in Pennsylvania who receive special education. The lawsuit, which was settled in 2005, had 12 named plaintiffs and 11 disabilities advocacy organizations. Lydia Gaskin was the lead plaintiff in the case represented by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia.The main focus of the settlement is to ensure that school districts comply with existing federal laws, specifically around issues of LRE. Schools will be monitored on how well they are providing services to students with disabilities beginning first with the general education classes. Greater technical assistance and on-site training will be provided from the Pennsylvania Department of Education. New policies require IEP teams to consider and school districts to provide a full range of supplementary aids and services in regular ed classrooms to all students with disabilities, including those with significant disabilities who can benefit from education in regular ed classes. A Special Education Advisory Panel on LRE was formed and all complaints regarding LRE will be investigated.
45 2.) So is providing FAPE and LRE. 3.) Parents have rights too! In ConclusionAs educators we need to remember…1.) IDEA is the law.2.) So is providing FAPE and LRE.3.) Parents have rights too!4) Students with disabilities should be our number one concern.
46 References“Avoiding Legal Pitfalls in Special Education” handoutChanges to IDEADiscipline of Special Education Students under IDEAEducation and the Law, Important Court CasesGaskin’sGaskin’s“Gaskin Settlement Agreement – Implications for School Leaders and Teachers” handoutIDEAInformation and Resources for Adults and Children with DisabilitiesOffice of Special Education and Rehabilitative ServicesOyez Project (2009). Forest Grove School District v. T.A.“Pennsylvania Parent Guide to Special Education for School Age Children” handoutRaskin, J. B. (2003). Supreme Coiurt Cases for and about Students. CQ Process Washington, D.C.U.S. Department of Education