"It is in the nature of the Act and the standard we adopt to resist such an effort: The adequacy of a given IEP turns on the unique circumstances of the child for whom it was created", Roberts said, adding, "This absence of a bright-line rule, however, should not be mistaken for 'an invitation to the courts to substitute their own notions of sound educational policy for those of the school authorities which they review'".
Gorsuch remarked on his ruling in favor of a Colorado school district over an autistic student after Sen.
The Associated Press reports that the court's decision to require a more demanding test for measuring teh progress of special-education students has major implications for about 6.4 million disabled students who rely on special programs to make that happen.
As Judge Neil Gorsuch continued to testify at his Supreme Court confirmation hearing Wednesday, his potential soon-to-be colleagues were busy reversing an interpretation of a federal anti-discrimination statute that he played a role in crafting.
The parents of Endrew F., a minor with autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), sought private school reimbursement under IDEA after pulling their son from public school over a proposed IEP for his fifth grade year.
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A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision March 22 regarding the Douglas County School district will have ramifications for special needs students across the country.
The Court then returned the case to the Court of Appeals to reassess the parents' claims under the correct standard. For children with disabilities, receiving instruction that aims so low would be tantamount to "sitting idly. awaiting the time when they were old enough to 'drop out'". The school programs must be "reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances".
Nancy Anderson of the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, said the Colorado district's argument was that it "only had to provide an education that was, really, just better than nothing", which is how they interpreted the standard. School officials had cautioned that imposing higher standards could be too costly for some cash-strapped districts.
But the boy's parents, after complaining about his lack of progress, decided in 2010 to send him to private school. They asked the school district to reimburse them for his tuition - about $70,000 a year - on the basis that public school officials weren't doing enough to meet their son's needs. A federal appeals court in Denver upheld that decision.
The boy, known as Drew, is now 17 and continues to attend the private school, where he is learning vocational skills and preparing for life after high school, according to his parents. But he praised the court for saying it would defer to the judgment of educational officials.