Image by lauromaia via Flickr
I was giving a presentation last month and one of the participants yelled out, "but we still don't have an answer." This took me by surprise inasmuch as there is rarely an "answer" in special education law. To explain my point, I told the unhappy participant that special education law is more like metaphysics than it is like contract law. This may not have satisfied the participant, but it is true and I like the analogy.
The ever-changing nature of it makes teachers, parents, administrators and many others hate special education law. It's slippery, and it's hard to get a handle on. How many cases, like the recent Supreme Court case of Forest Grove, have we seen where several of the decision makers disagree as to the result based upon the same set of facts? The answer my friend is in the eye of the beholder.
Only those who enjoy metaphysics, a shrinking number indeed, refuse to hate special ed law, or the "player" as we call it. We do have some guiding principles, but the rule of law model of applying a clearly established legal standard to any given set of facts doesn't really work here. Don't hate the player!