Article for Feb. 27 from Kristin, Samantha, Brenna & Cheryl

“Nudging Schools to Help Students With Learning Disabilities”

Here’s the article.
This article gives a basic understanding of the IDEA 2004 piece of legislation and also gives advice to parents, from a parent and professionals, on how to work with professionals and what to do when things get tricky. IDEA 2004 (IDEIA) became a law in 1990, originally IDEA. This policy was formed as a successor to a law enacted in 1975 for children with exceptionalities. It was written with children with exceptionalities and their families in mind. This law was enacted in order to help parents and guardians become an active part of their child’s education. This piece of legislation requires that each child that has a learning disability has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and that parents/guardians have the right to ask for an evaluation, or re-evaluation, of their child at any time. This law takes into consideration that the parents/guardians are equal participants in developing an education plan. IDEA 2004 also states that each child receives an IEP meeting to decide new goals, therapies, interventions, etc. on a yearly basis. The IEP meeting will consist of several members of the school that the child might work with – including, but not limited to, the classroom teacher, therapists, a school administrator, school district representative and the parent/guardian(s). If the parent/guardian cannot reach an agreement of the services that are deemed necessary for the child, the parent/guardian(s) have the right to due process, and after a judge or an administrative officer will make an official decision on the dispute at hand.

Our Questions:
1. Think back to your own experiences in school, how involved were your parents? Do you feel that their involvement affected your education?

2. Now looking at it from the perspectives of a child with special needs, why is it important for their parents to be an active member of their education? Does this differ from typically developing children?

3. Districts spend thousands of dollars fighting against parents who want services for their children rather than providing the services, which are often much less expensive than the attorney’s fees. Why do you think schools are so hesitant to offer services? Is there more to it than just a lack of funding?

4. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that when it comes to issues concerning a child’s placement, that the burden of persuasion falls on the parents of the child. If the parents hire an expert witness to help their case, they may not recover the fees, regardless of the outcome of the case. Much like Becky McGee from our article, many parents have to spend their own money to fight for services, despite the fact that the law states that all children are entitled to a free and public education. Why do you think that parents are having to fight for the education of their children when it is supposed to be free for everyone? Does the funding of our schools mean that parents are now forced to spend their own money, or is that just an excuse being offered as to why they have to?

5.What are some improvements that could be made to IDEA 2004?
What do you feel is working?

6. The article discusses how the relationship between the child’s school and parents can be strained and offend time result in tension between the two. How do you think this tension affects the child’s experience at school or at home? Is it fair to have the child be brought into the discussions?

7. IDEA 2004 legislation requires free services for children with disabilities, however, not all schools have the funding or staff to make good on this promise. Fulfillment of the law is contingent upon what each individual school can actually offer. As we know, each school is not set up the same, and they are not funded equally, so as up and coming professionals, how might we be able to address this issue?

8. Under IDEA 2004, a “zero reject rule” was affirmed in 1985. The courts ruled that “even if the student is completely incapable of benefiting from educational services and all efforts are futile—even if the child is unconscious or in a coma—the school is still required to provide educational services to the child.” Why do you think law would mandate delivery of services for such circumstances when many children who are both conscious and capable must fight to get the same provisions?


About childandfamilypolicy

This blog is an effort of passion and commitment, created for the students of CD 479: Policy Analysis and Advocacy, a senior capstone course of the Child Development Department at Humboldt State University.
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