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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

The Geometry of Endrew F.
The New Angle Used by Advocates

Leave it to the parents’ attorneys and advocates to create a new “gotcha” out of the Supreme Court’s 2017 decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. The new angle is that of measuring goals and objectives. It is rare that you set a “100% of the time goal” for anything. Why? Because no one is perfect. Plus, you want the goal to be reasonably achievable in a year. At a recent IEP meeting, a parents’ attorney and two advocates (did your parents bring an attorney and two advocates to their parent-teacher conferences?) argued that the school’s IEP team was not individualizing the IEP because the team proposed measurement at 80%. Never mind that the student was starting at 40%. The claim was that the school system “always” uses 80% and therefore there is no individualization. Endrew F., of course, requires that the goals and objectives be reasonably calculated to enable the student to make progress appropriate in light of the student’s circumstances. The school team explained that 100% is not achievable as it demands perfection and that 100% for a student at 40% was not a readily achievable goal. The response of the attorneys and two advocates was to repeatedly accuse the school team of treating the student like all others and failing to individualize the IEP. The reference to Endrew F. was not used, but anyone familiar with the decision understood the motivation behind the argument. The school team held firm, but it is hard to do when being accused of failing to consider the parents’ input. One advocate in that meeting also kept arguing that by refusing to go to 100%, the IEP team was failing to allow the parents to be equal participants. The answer to that is that parental participation means that the parents’ views must be considered, but not necessarily accepted.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
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