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Why Free Doesn’t Really Apply to FAPE

May 20, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is a myth!  Generally[1] speaking, if your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) they are either receiving a Free Public Education or an Appropriate Public Education but not both.  The term FAPE means special education and related services that:

  1. have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
  2. meet the standards of the State educational agency;
  3. include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and
  4. are provided in conformity with the IEP required under Section 1414(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Read the rest of this entry →
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Call to Action: We can’t expect fairness when we do nothing about it when it’s taken away

August 20, 2012 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

Dear Members of Congress;

Today all over the United States children with a disability are not being provided an appropriate education via their Individualized Education Program (IEP).  While there are many wonderful School Districts there are some that are skirting their responsibility because they know they can get away with it.  In these troubled economic times some School Districts are cutting necessary services as a cost saving method knowing that many parents don’t have the means to disagree and file a complaint.  The law that governs special education in the United States, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was not meant to shift the balance of power to the school districts but that is what has happened.  The fairness was taken from IDEA in 2006 and it’s time to give it back and level the playing field for parents. Read the rest of this entry →

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Top Ten Special Education Supreme Court Cases

November 28, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

The list outlines the top ten Special Education Supreme Court Cases and a short description of each ruling.  To read the entire opinion click on the name of each case below:

1. Hendrick Hudson Board of Education. v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982)

First Supreme Court case regarding special education set the standard for what is a “Free Appropriate Public Education”.   The ruling provided children with disabilities access to public schools that also provided a basic floor of opportunity.  Not the best education but one where the child has passing grades in classes and is advancing to higher grades. Read the rest of this entry →

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Arlington Central School Distict v. Murphy, 548 U.S. (2006)

October 28, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Justice Alito delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA or Act) provides that a court "may award reasonable attorneys' fees as part of the costs" to parents who prevail in an action brought under the Act. 111 Stat. 92, 20 U. S. C. §1415(i)(3)(B). We granted certiorari to decide whether this fee-shifting provision authorizes prevailing parents to recover fees for services rendered by experts in IDEA actions. We hold that it does not. Read the rest of this entry →

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IDEA Fairness Restoration Act: Will the Third Time finally be the Charm

March 23, 2011 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

It’s that time of year again, birds are chirping, bees are buzzing and the latest introduction of the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act has just occurred.  This is an important Bill for Parents who are trying to exercise their Due Process Rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  Why is that?  The Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that while Parents can be reimbursed for Attorney Fees, if they prevail, they can’t be reimbursed for Expert Witness Fees.  This puts Parents at a major disadvantage to all of the School Districts who already employee these types of specialists.  The Supreme Court has also ruled in the past that the “Burden of Proof” in any IDEA related case is on the Party that files.  This means that when a Parent files a Due Process complaint they must prove their case or the Hearing Officer must assume the School District is in the right.  You can only prove your case with facts and testimony from Experts in the field.  Parents are spending thousands of dollars to hire Expert witnesses to assess their children and testify at the Hearings on their behalf.  The IDEA Fairness Restoration Act would add to IDEA that Expert Witness fees could be reimbursed to Parents who prevail in a Due Process Hearing. Read the rest of this entry →

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