We live in an unprecedented era where schools are dealing with shrinking budgets and fewer resources but still must figure out how to educate an increasingly large number of student age children. This is compounded by the fact that class sizes are increasing and the number of credentialed Teachers are decreasing due to layoffs. Just like every other area of education, school districts are trying to figure out ways to cut special education costs as well. Even though cost cannot be a factor when determining services in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) the children receiving the appropriate services are the ones whose parents are educated and prepared when attending their child’s IEP. This makes it even more important to be prepared for your next meeting. This article will help you truly prepare for the next IEP meeting. Read the rest of this entry →
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How does a parent, who doesn’t have a degree in their child’s suspected disability, fight for the proper amount of services when the school specialist is recommending something less than the parent thinks is necessary.
The parent could always get a private assessment done and submit the results to the IEP team, but not all parents have the means to pay for a private assessment. This is why IDEA allows parents to ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense. The only way a School District can stop from paying for an IEE is to file for due process and convince a hearing officer that their original assessments were proper. IDEA is very clear in what a School District must do if they turn down a request for an IEE but it’s what happens when the School District says yes that can sometimes bother me the most. Read the rest of this entry →
1. What is the special education law that can help my child with a disability?
The foundation of today’s special education law was passed in 1975 and enacted in 1977. This was Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975. In 1990 EHA was renamed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. IDEA was most recently reauthorized in 2004. The Purpose of IDEA is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education or FAPE that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.
It’s important to note that the law only guarantees an appropriate education and not the best education. Best is a four letter word and Parents should learn to replace it with the word appropriate when discussing their child’s special education needs Read the rest of this entry →
A School District in Alabama decided it was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to try to invalidate a Parent’s right to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense that has been part and parcel with the Individual’s with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for decades. Parent’s are at a marked disadvantage when dealing with a School District regarding their child’s Individualized Education Program and Congress was well aware of this when they crafted IDEA. This is why IDEA includes various Procedural Safeguards for the sole purpose of leveling the playing field for Parents who are trying their best to raise a child with a disability and negotiate for an appropriate education for that child. This is why it enrages me when a School District spends money that should have been used to educate students on lawyers when the intention of Congress regarding reimbursement of IEE’s is very clear. Read the rest of this entry →
You’ve suspected it since your child was three. You were quite sure of it when your child was five and now your child is in school and you are convinced and unwavering about it. The school is not quite as convinced and they are slow to react to your suspicions. Be prepared; the road to the diagnosis may not be easy or cheap, but in the long run it will be worth it. The steps to diagnosis below make the assumption that you have done your research about dyslexia and you understand the symptoms. If you are still at that stage, you can visit www.interdys.org for more information. Read the rest of this entry →
How well do you think you understand the law that governs Special Education? Test your IEP knowledge by answering these ten basic questions regarding IEPs and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You will find a link at the end of the questions that will take you to the answers. Read the rest of this entry →
When establishing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) certain requirements were put in place to help protect the rights of children with a disability and their parents. These protections called the Procedural Safeguards are outlined in 20 U. S. C. § 1415. In my opinion, one of the most important of these safeguards is the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) which is found in Section 300.502 of IDEA. It States:
(1) The parents of a child with a disability have the right under this part to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child, subject to paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section. Read the rest of this entry →
Memorandum United States Department of Education
To: Peggy McDonald, Director of the Office of Special Education, New Jersey Department of Education
Through: Alma McPherson, Associate Division Director
From: Susan Falkenhan, OSEP New Jersey State Contact
Subject: Specific Part B Assurance for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2012
Date: March 28, 2012
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) received correspondence addressed to Secretary Arne Duncan, U.S. Department of Education (Department) on December 20, 2011 alleging that the New Jersey Department of Education regulation N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1) regarding Independent Education Evaluations (IEE) violates the IEE provisions in 34 CFR§300.502.
Based on review of the New Jersey regulation, OSEP’s assessment is that N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1) limits the parents’ rights to an IEE by giving the public agency an opportunity to conduct an assessment in an area not covered by the initial evaluation or reevaluation before the parents are granted the IEE. In order to receive its Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2012 Part B grant award, the State will need to provide specific written assurance to OSEP that the State will: (1) Revise New Jersey regulation N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1) to eliminate the provision that, “If a parent seeks an independent evaluation in an area not assessed as part of the initial evaluation or a reevaluation, the school district shall first have the opportunity to conduct the requested evaluation.” (2) Ensure compliance in the interim throughout the FY 2012 grant period with the specific requirements of 34 CFR§300.502; and (3) Send a memorandum to all Local Education Agencies to inform them of the changes to the regulation and the need to comply with the requirements in 34 CFR§300.502.
Attached is assurance language that the State may use to meet this requirement. Please submit the necessary assurance, dated and signed by the official who has authority to ensure compliance with the assurance, as soon as possible.
Please feel free to contact me or Alma McPherson, if you have any questions or concerns.
Cc: Gregg Corr
The New Jersey department of Education hereby specifically assures that it shall:
- Revise New Jersey regulation N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1) to comply with the provisions in 34 CFR§300.502 regarding Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) by eliminating the language which gives the Local Education Agency (LEA) an opportunity to conduct an assessment in an area that was not part of the initial evaluation or reevaluation before granting the parents an IEE, and submit to OSEP the revised regulation as soon as it is finalized but no later that December 31, 2013.
- Ensure that, throughout the period that the State uses Federal Fiscal Year 2012 grant funds under Part B of IDEA, all LEAs will comply with the provisions of 34 CFR§300.502 regarding IEEs.
- Provide OSEP with a copy of the memorandum notifying all LEAs of the changes to New Jersey regulation N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1), regarding IEEs and the provisions of 34 CFR§300.502
Probably the most frustrating part of being the parent of a child with a different ability  is the response from the very organization you hoped you could trust the most to do right by your child – your school district. After all, teachers and administrators are trained to adapt the teaching environment to help my child, right? (No.) I pay my property taxes, so I should be able to control how the schools work, right? (You should, yes, but in reality you don’t.)
So what should I do when the school district won’t do what they are supposed to do for my child? Read the rest of this entry →
The term Free Appropriate Public Education is thrown around a lot in Public Education. There are two separate laws having to do with disabilities that specifically define this term. It can be found in the Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). So what exactly is the difference between the two definitions? Let’s start by looking at how each law defines FAPE. Read the rest of this entry →