The Endrews decision, 2 years later

As stated in this April 2018 article, https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/05/02/a-year-ago-the-supreme-court-raised.html

“A year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools must offer students with disabilities an education reasonably calculated to enable them to “make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances,” what has changed?

On the one hand, not much, if evaluating the dozens of special education cases that have cited Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, which was decided March 22, 2017.

Around 90 percent of those kinds of disputes between school districts and parents were decided in favor of districts; the notable exception was that of Endrew F. himself, the teenager with autism who was at the center of the Supreme Court case.”

and

“. . . school districts are not losing [Due Process] cases because of the new Endrew F. standard, said Perry Zirkel, a professor emeritus of education and law at Lehigh University, who has been tracking the impact of the case. Forty-nine cases were decided by a judge who cited Endrew F. and applied its standard that a special education program must be “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress in light of the child’s circumstances.” Of those, 44 saw no change in the decision, and in 37 of those cases, the decision was for the school district.

So, how is this case impacting children’s education and leading to Better Outcomes?

“There does seem to be a difference before cases ever make it to court, Reisman said. Parents are able to cite the case’s standards when they are talking with school staff members and drafting IEPs.

“It definitely has focused the discussion much more clearly on what it is we’re supposed to be doing for these kids with disabilities,” she said.

Phyllis Wolfram, the director of special education for the Springfield, Mo., school district, said that her interpretation of the decision was that it matches up well with what districts already are trying to do for students with disabilities.

“It wasn’t a major shift in the way we’re doing business,” said Wolfram, the incoming president of the Council of Administrators of Special Education.

But the case offered a chance to make sure that school personnel are collaborating with parents and that they are, indeed, creating ambitious academic standards. Wolfram is particularly mindful of the need to solicit meaningful parent input in crafting a child’s education plan.

Your focus should be in the IEP process and ensuring that your school holds high expectations for your child’s success and that supports to help them achieve to their highest potential are being considered and implemented.

The work to bring educational equity to kids with disabilities continues, but Endrews is helping to bring attention and focus to the initial intent of IDEA and its predecessor laws – Education of ALL kids.

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