U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled earlier this year that schools must offer educational plans "reasonably calculated" to enable academic progress for students with disabilities, and the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) is now offering advice to school districts on how to address the issues raised in the case, Endrew F. v Douglas County School District.
In the case, parents of a child with autism, Endrew F., enrolled him in a private school over concerns his academic progress had stalled under the individualized education programs (IEPs) developed over the years by the Douglas County School District in Colorado. They then sought reimbursement for the private school tuition via a complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to the Colorado Department of Education.
After losses in lower courts, the Supreme Court unanimously sided with the parents.
"The Supreme Court sent a strong and unanimous message: all children must be given an opportunity to make real progress in their learning environment -- they cannot simply be passed along from year to year without meaningful improvement," said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a statement. "For too long, too many students offered IEPs were denied that chance. I firmly believe all children, especially those with disabilities, must be provided the support needed to empower them to grow and achieve ambitious goals."
A question-and-answer document USDOE prepared for schools on the implications of Endrew is available at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/idea/memosdcltrs/qa-endrewcase-12-07-2017.pdf.
The opinion in Endrew is available at https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/16pdf/15-827_0pm1.pdf.
Story originally published in The Hannah Report on December 22, 2017. Copyright 2017 Hannah News Service, Inc.