- The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and its decision is expected to offer a definition for special education as outlined in the law.
- USA Today reports federal appeals courts are split on whether schools must provide a substantial education or something less than that, and the Obama administration has encouraged the justices to step in with a final decision.
- In the case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, a boy with an Autism spectrum disorder claims his school offered an inadequate individualized education program year after year, which should have entitled his family to a tuition reimbursement when they moved him to private school.
The special education system is an incredibly complicated one for many parents to navigate. When students’ needs overlap and they are English language learners who also need special education services, the system can be even more complicated. Parents often do not know their children’s rights, and if schools do not provide IEP documents in their native language, as required by law, they can be left in the dark about the services their children get. The New York City Department of Education is years into an Office of Civil Rights investigation about its communication practices with non-English-speaking families of students with special needs. The complaint argues parents never receive IEPs in their native language and that requests for interpreters at IEP meetings are routinely denied.
While the Endrew F. case will not help resolve problems in New York City, it could impact a United States Justice Department case against Georgia. The department is suing the state for segregating students with special needs and failing to offer equitable access to educational opportunities.