March 22, 2017 The Supreme Court offered it’s opinion on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. Here are a few highlights from the ruling:
To meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.
The “reasonably calculated” qualification reflects a recognition that crafting an appropriate program of education requires a prospective judgement by school officials, but this fact-intensive exercise will be informed not only by the expertise of school officials, but also by the input of the child’s parents or guardians.
The IEP must aim to enable the child to make progress. After all, the essential function of an IEP is to set out a plan for pursuing academic and functional advancement.
Accordingly, for a child fully integrated in the regular classroom, an IEP typically should be “reasonably calculated to permit advancement through the general curriculum and enable the child to achieve passing marks and advance from grade to grade.”
If that is not a reasonable prospect for a child, his IEP need not aim for grade level advancement, but his educational program must be appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances. The goals may differ, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives, not barely more than de minimus progress.
School districts will now be held responsible to offer a cogent and responsive explanation for their decisions that shows the IEP is reasonably calculated to enable the child to make progress appropriate in light of his circumstances.
Overall, a huge win for students with special education needs!