Legal Trends in Transition. Educational Services Unit #13 January 29, 2013 Diane S. Bassett, Ph.D. University of Northern Colorado d firstname.lastname@example.org. Essential Questions. Is the special education mandate a “minimal” or “optimal” education?
Educational Services Unit #13
January 29, 2013
Diane S. Bassett, Ph.D.
University of Northern Colorado
a “minimal” or “optimal” education?
and consistency in the application of education standards; no transition requirements.
1997: Goal of "access" reached, now Congress seeks to:
Transition is designedto be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities…to prepare [them] for further education, employment, and independent living….
and happy occupations….” (W.Virginia)
state admin. & district court rulings
related to school-to-postsecondary transition plans (1997-2004)
Identified 5 transition themes
at heart of the decisions:
All decisions addressed importance of individualizing transition planning on basis of strengths, needs, preferences, and interests.
Districts won cases when they could
(a) demonstrate good faith efforts to obtain info. about agency services, (b) include agencies in transition planning, and (c) link parents & students with agency resources.
Students must attend IEP meeting; but if not, then preferences, interests, concerns must still be considered by the IEP team.
Districts need not address every student preference, but team may determine a course of study aligned with interests & services to achieve transition goals.
Appropriate courses of study, based on assessed strengths, preferences and interests.
Cannot substitute sound, coherent, individualized programs of study with activities such as generic information to students and families.
Involve students & parents.
Courts can require solutions such as: community- based programming in ‘real world’ settings; functional skill development after graduation with peers.
No guarantees, but district
must do more than provide information and help apply to college.
Must provide coherent plan of studyand services calculated to provide benefit the student.
Fact that student met grad.requirements, did not mean district is relieved of its obligation to provide transition services needed to complete IEP goals (Etcheidt, 2006).
When districts failed to provide adequate services in secondary ed mandated to provide and fund compensatory services to students already graduated, or enrolling in college.
If districts demonstrated they offered FAPE and ensured successful participation in and completion of IEP goals compensatory services not
required (nor granted).
A youth with autism
Able to do certain skills at school but they did not generalize to home
Home behaviors were untenable, including eating, sleeping, dressing, toilet training, and incidences of violence against family members
Parents asked for residential treatment center and moved Luke P. to Higashi School in MA, then sued Thompson Valley S.D. for tuition reimbursement
Parents moved Luke P. to Higashi School in MA, then sued Thompson Valley S.D. for tuition reimbursement
Luke was at Higashi school for four years at a cost of approx. $160k per year.
“…all education has as its purpose the advancement of knowledge and skills so that the student can reasonably apply them in other contexts…public schools must accord some educational benefit…must address issues of generalization..”(2005, Due Process Decision)
“…while the inability to generalize certain academic skills across environments would not always mean that an IEP is not providing an educational benefit, I must agree with the administrative decision-makers that the lack of generalization of the most basic life skills, such as appropriate behavior, toileting, and eating indicate that the educational benefits received by Luke werede minimis” (p. 17).
Generalization is a critical skill for self-sufficiency but IDEA may not attach “essential importance” to it
“ Congress did not provide in IDEA a guarantee of self-sufficiency for all disabled persons”
Congress established procedures to guarantee disabled students access and opportunity, not substantive outcomes (Rowley Standard)
Parents appealed to U.S. Supreme Court but were denied
Luke back at Higashi School but it is unclear who is funding his tuition
impacted her reading and writing skills.
it is focused on “transition services….an outcome-oriented process,
which promotes movement from school to post-school activities…”
Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit Decision - August 6, 2009 vacated the District Court’s decision and remanded back to District Court to reapply the Rowley standard
“The substantive test of Rowleydoes not require the absolutely best or ‘potential maximizing’ education for the individual child, but the benefit must be real and measurable”
Per Hovem, a twice exceptional student, scored in the 600s on SATs but wrote at 1st grade level
Hovem’s parents sent him to Landmark School and sought reimbursement from school district
Transition plan judged too general (written expression problems not even addressed) and educational and vocational interests disregarded
District ordered to reimburse family for last 2 years of tuition expenses.
August 6, 2012, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals considered the case and reversed the District Court’s decision saying the ISD did not fail to comply with IDEA and that “Rowley requires no more.”
"While highlighting his passage of classes ... [the district] downplayed the crucial impact ... [that] an inability to write ... inevitably plays in a person's ability to function in life,"
“The school district in fact was ignoring that area of continuing weakness, Per's learning disability, and relied on the highly intelligent student's good scores in other areas unaffected by that disability to obscure the fact that over the years KISD was not providing "a 'free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet [Per's] unique needs and prepare [him] for further education, employment, and independent living.”
Compensatory education has been awarded to remedy the denial of FAPE
Usually occurs while a child is still in school (e.g., extended school year, intensive therapies, one-on-one)
C.E. may be offered or ordered if a district denies FAPE by not developing an appropriate IEP or not implementing it appropriately
Remedy should place students in the position they would have been in had FAPE not been denied
C.E. must be the type of educational and related services that are part of a K-12 education offered through the district
The purpose of C.E. is to remedy the failure to provide those types of services
Judges or administrative offices can craft very specific awards detailing what services will be provided, who will provide, and under what timeline
For students under 21, compensatory education may mean either "current compensatory education" or "future compensatory education." The former includes extended day programs, extended year services, summer school or tutoring; the latter is essentially a promise now to provide education beyond the student's 22nd birthday.
C.A., a student with ADHD, bipolar disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and anxiety disorder, claimed inadequate transition services.
Hearing Officer and District Court found FAPE was denied
IEPs not reasonably calculated to provide meaningful benefit
Failure to provide transition assessments until the last IEP and info not utilized from the parents’ assessment
Vocational assessment did not address post-secondary education and independent living skills
District ordered to issue a diploma and then provide compensatory transition services for 2 years
“Although Dracut ultimately offered C.A. a five‐month long internship at a credit union located in the high school, a four‐month technology internship, and a gym class mentoring program, it passed most of the relevant two year window without action, failing to assess or provide services to address C.A.’s vocational skills, despite its obligation to do so throughout this period.”
A class action suit brought before the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Milwaukee Public Schools MPS) in 2001
A “class” of former students contended that MPS was negligent in providing timely and appropriate education to each of them
Plaintiffs contended they were suspended, or excluded from receiving special education services even upon multiple requests for assessment and placement
Both DPI and MPS were found in violation of IDEA (specifically, FAPE)
DPI settled with students, MPS was under court order to seek compensatory remedies as specified by DPI
Possibilities for Compensatory Education Relief For students still in school, academic in-school compensatory ed. will be consideredFor students who have aged out of the district, suggestions for compensatory education are very transition-focused:
Court throws out class certification order from District Court
Court vacates the liability and remedial orders that MPS was obligated to follow
DPI’s settlement required more of the district than DPI had the statutory right to demand
March 5, 2012, new hearing at the Court of Appeals denied
Feb. 27 – Horizon Instructional Systems Charter School CA – ALJ ruled that school failed to offer a student with autistic-like characteristics adequate vocational training through his transition plan. The district must conduct a functional assessment of the student and create goals for acquired skills off-campus and in the community.
June 25 – Carrie I. ex. rel. Greg I. v. Dept of Ed. State of Hawaii – Hawaii Dept of Ed. violated IDEA by failing to consider the harmful effects that a public school might have on a student with autism (i.e., darting into busy streets) as well as failing to conduct transition assessments and develop an appropriate postsecondary transition plan.
July 12 – Worthington City S.D. Ohio – Ohio ED said district violated IDEA in facilitating the transfer of age of majority rights to a 17 year old. The transfer was not completed in a timely fashion and consisted only of reading the “transfer of rights” to the student, leaving him still confused about his new adult responsibilities
September 10 – Strongsville City S.D. Ohio – Ohio ED determined that a district failed to provide appropriate and measurable goals and objectives for a student with ADHD (an employment goal targeted the goal of going to college, not the ultimate employment goal therein).Thus, employment and education goals must be specific unto themselves.
Child Find (Jamie S.)
Goals addressed in the community
Transfer of age of majority
Goals and objectives pertinent to post-school goals
Hendrick Hudson Central School District Board of Education v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176, 200,
Supreme Court mandated that EHA offers “minimum educational benefit”
Basic floor of educational opportunity
Cadillac vs. Chevrolet argument
Now, 25 years after Rowley, purpose of IDEA has shifted from providing access to educational services to providing meaningful and measurable programs within the context of gen. ed.
We may be held to a higher standard today in the provision of educational services and FAPE
Yell, Kantsiyannis, and Hazelhorn, 2007
longer an ‘adequate education’
Conduct appropriate and thorough transition assessments
Ensure that academic and skill needs are addressed
Develop goals and objectives that relate directly to each post-school goal
Work with parents and child to ensure appropriate and thoughtful transfer of adult rights
Keep lines of communication open with parents!!!!
“…ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities…..” K.L. v. Mercer Island S.D.