Get the FAPE in here! Supreme Court ruling supporting special education.

Jun 02, 18 Get the FAPE in here! Supreme Court ruling supporting special education.

FAPE is…???

FAPE stands for “free appropriate public education.” It’s the main thing your property taxes pay for and what your lottery dollars are supposed to pay for. So, if you buy scratch offs and your child school sucks you might want to start asking some questions. IJS.

There’s an expectation that with FAPE, children have the opportunity to advance through a general curriculum. Emphasis on the word advance.  To advance is purposeful. To advance in school means acquiring skills and building upon those skills acquired. This is what we want for all our children.

FAPE and the IEP

The Rehabilitation Act of 1965 ensured that FAPE rights were given to our disabled children. How this is accomplished is outlined in our child’s individual education plan (IEP). The plan establishes annual goals and outlines services needed to accomplish those goals. It is a legal document, a contact if you will, between the child and the school. The whole purpose of the IEP meeting is for all parties to get on the same page and sign the “contract” establishing that everyone agrees to provide the established services and special education, and provide them in the way described in the plan. Remember, it is individualized for that child.

Supreme Court FAPE and special education

The SCOTUS reviewed the case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District and determined that our disabled children with an IEP deserved more than just the minimum. Free and appropriate education means more than just passing to the next grade. SCOTUS determined that our disabled children deserved to be challenged even in a special education setting

A child’s educational program must be appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances, just as advancement from grade to grade is appropriately ambitious for most children in the regular classroom. The goals may differ, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives.

What this means for your child

Your child can do more than just pass or move from one grade to the next. Your child can advance. Your child can participate in a rigorous academic program that challenges thinking and improves skills. As the parent, you are the expert on your child. For example, you know your non-verbal child communicates with you in ways that may not make sense to school staff that only see her in one type of environment for a few hours a day. But don’t get upset. The school staff and other professionals chose their fields in order to help you and your child. They are just not you. And who could be? As mom and dad, no one will ever be more vested in your child’s growth and welfare. Work with the other experts on the IEP team to craft a challenging, but realistic, plan for your child.


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