Author: Klotz, Mary Beth
Date published: March 1, 2012
A National Update: Special Education Case Law
The National Association of State Directors of Special Education has published a new compendium of litigation, A National Update of Case Law 1998 to the Present Under the IDEA and Section S04/A.D.A. by Lehigh University Education and Law Professor, Perry Zirkel. This annotated compendium provides brief summaries of important case law under these three major civil rights laws with respect to students with disabilities. The coverage focuses on issues of concern to school psychologists such as identification and eligibility, free and appropriate education, least restrictive environment, related services, assistive technology, and discipline issues. Available at: http:// nasdse.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=H VYx4RH8nOE%3d&tabid=36.
The Department of Education is allowing state educational agencies to apply for waivers for some of the specific requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in exchange for agreeing to set new academic targets and establish new strategies for evaluating educators and turning around struggling schools. Thus far, 39 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have applied, or signaled their intent to apply, for ESEA flexibility. The first 10 states received waiver approval in February of this year: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. In states granted a waiver, students will still be tested annually but will no longer face the same sanctions and prescriptive actions spelled out under ESEA. States without a waiver will be held to the current ESEA requirements. NASP, in conjunction with our coalition partners in the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (http://www.c-c-d.org), submitted comments to the Secretary of Education regarding recommendations to ensure accountability for the academic performance of students with disabilities will not be diminished by the waiver process. In the interest of transparency and to help inform other states, the Department has posted both initial and approved flexibility requests, peer review notes, and a summary of improvements, as well as the agency's letter regarding peer review feedback and the Secretary's approval letter. More information about the ESEA waivers and individual state's requests may be found at www.ed.gov/ esea/flexibility.
Charter Schools and Students With Disabilities
The Facts on Charter Schools and Students With Disabilities, from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) was releasedrecently. This fact sheet addresses 10 commonly asked questions that families and educators of students with disabilities have about charter schools and offers helpful background information. For example, guidance is provided as to the responsibility of charter schools to meet the same accountability standards as traditional public schools, and also to provide services to student with disabilities. While state laws often grant charter schools some flexibility from meeting certain state or local education regulations, charter schools must follow all federal laws that apply to any other public school. A listing with links to individual state charter school policies is also provided. Available at: http://nichcy .org/publications/charters.
In Court: RTI Delaying Special Education Evaluation
In Harrison (CO) School District Two, 57 IDELR 295 (OCR 2011), the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) determinedthat implementing RTI strategies did not compensate for the school district's failure to evaluate a student with ADHD in a timely manner. The student's mother had enrolled him in the school district and notified personnel that he had ADHD. Instead of evaluating the student for special education or related services eligibility, the district implemented RTI strategies. The next year, the mother repeatedly mentioned the student's ADHD and requested an evaluation for special education when his behavior escalated. The district intensified the RTI strategies already in place rather than completing an evaluation. The student ultimately received 10 suspensions for his behavior before the district completed an evaluation and instituted an IEP. OCR determined that the student was denied FAPE since the frequency and number of suspensions constituted a significant change in placement. [Source for In Court: Special Education Connection, LRP Publications, 2011]*
Martin, J. L. (n.d.), Legal implications of response to intervention and special education identification, RTI Action Network, Retrieved from http://www.rtinetwork.org/learn/ld/legalimplications-of-response-to-intervention-andspecial-education-identification.
National Association of School Psychologists. (2011), Students With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder [Position Statement]. Bethesda, MD: Author. Retrieved from: http:// www.nasponline.org/about_nasp/position papers/Students_With_ADHD.pdf
Zirkel, P. A. (2012). The ninth circuit's recent ruling: RTI? Communiqué, 40(5), 26-27. Retrieved from: http://www.nasponline.org/pub lications/cq/40/5/professional-practice.aspx
MARY BETH KLOTZ, PhD, NCSP, is NASP Director, IDEA Projects and Technical Assistance.