Summary from an article written by Lauren Appelbaum (see note below)
The Supreme Court ruled unanimously Wednesday in favor of higher educational standards for children with a disability in one of the most important education cases in decades.
The case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, argued just how much educational benefit public schools must provide. While some lower courts had ruled the need for a “meaningful” educational benefit, others required only a bit more than de minimis – the bare minimum.
During the hearing, the Supreme Court discussed nine different levels of standards of education. They ruled unanimously (8-0) that schools must do more than provide “merely more than de minimis” education for students with a disability and instead provide them with the opportunity to make “appropriately ambitious” progress.
There are roughly 6.4 million students with disabilities between ages 3 to 21. Roughly 13 percent of all American students are students with disabilities, making this case important for a wide group of students.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion, stating that a school must offer an individualized education program that is “reasonably calculated” for each child’s circumstance in order to meet its obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
“It cannot be right that the IDEA generally contemplates grade-level advancement for children with disabilities who are fully integrated in the regular classroom, but is satisfied with barely more than de minimis progress for children who are not,” the opinion read.
Each year nearly 400,000 students with disabilities leave school – almost 40 percent without a high school degree. Only 65 percent of students with disabilities complete high school, which is a key contributor leading to just 1-in-3 Americans with disabilities having a job, causing many people with disabilities to live a life of poverty.
Lauren Appelbaum is the communications director of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. https://themighty.com/2017/03/supreme-court-rules-schools-must-support-students-with-disabilities/
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