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Recent Changes in Special Education Policy: Implications of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District

In March 2017, a landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court sent ripples through the landscape of special education policy, fundamentally altering the way the free appropriate public education (FAPE) requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are understood. The unanimous opinion in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, 137 S. Ct. 988, marked a significant turning point in special education law, setting a new standard for the educational rights of students with disabilities. In this blog post, we will explore the implications of this case and how it affects students, parents, special education attorneys, and education law firms.

Understanding the Endrew F. Case

The Endrew F. case revolved around a child with autism, challenging the educational program provided by the school district. The Tenth Circuit's decision in favor of providing "merely more than de minimis" educational benefits was overturned by the Supreme Court, redefining the FAPE requirements.

The New FAPE Standard

The Supreme Court's ruling clarified that schools must offer an individualized education program (IEP) that is "reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances." This significant shift emphasizes that every child, regardless of their disabilities, should have the opportunity to meet challenging educational objectives.

Implications for Students and Parents

The Endrew F. decision places greater importance on tailoring education plans to meet the specific needs of students with disabilities. It empowers parents to advocate for a more comprehensive and personalized education for their children.

Special Education Attorneys and Education Law Firms

For special education attorneys and education law firms, this ruling underscores the critical role they play in advocating for the rights of students with disabilities. Legal experts are now even more essential in ensuring that students receive the level of support and resources needed to succeed in their education.


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