Saturday, March 12, 2011

"FAPE" Rhymes With Cape

Tarot card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, al...Image via Wikipedia
FAPE rhymes with cape.  By the way if you haven't seen the new TV series, "the cape," you're missing out on some great television.  I think that every hearing officer and mediator should be issued a cape like the one with the magical powers used in the TV series.  Yes, I'll say it, My Powers Are Beyond Your Comprehension. (Note:  I just learned that like many shows I enjoy, the cape has been canceled. Yikes.)

But I digress...(sometimes the tangent is more fun than the main point!...It isn't easy being green...)  My original point is that FAPE rhymes with cape.  I have heard it pronounced many different ways.  One person said FAPE, rhyming it with cap.  My favorite was a person who pronounced it to rhyme with frappe.  (To be clear: the special education laws do not entitle anybody to a high end coffee infused beverage.)    

All of which was a preface (journalists call this burying the lead.  I am not a journalist!) to my real point which is my recent call for a middle ground on FAPE.  Why should the only choices be the basic floor of opportunity and potential maximization. An education should be more than a floor even if it cannot bring out the greatness in us.  There has to be a compromise position on the contours of a free and appropriate public education.  

What do you think?  I have gotten a lot of suggestions so far from our readers.  Please share your ideas.  I'm going to compile the best ideas and place them into my suggested changes for the reauthorization - when the time comes.  Let me know what you think.

Now then, where did I put my cape?   
Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. I'm sure other commenters have hit all of these issues but my 2 cents;
    Perhaps all kids should have IEP's and the funds should not be automatic for any student? To me that evens the playing field a bit and makes education more individual as it should be. Many "typical" kids would benefit and are not learning as much as they should. I work in mental health and that's the way it is done for everyone- except private providers.
    Just like most laws that actually legislate common decency to override financial/social bias it is sad that we have to have any laws like this. My sister in laws are both teachers, one spec ed and they comment often about the death of the public schools system related to limits placed on creativity in teaching due to trying to meet mandates but in mental health we have actually been able to be more creative with block grant funding rather than fee for service and provide much more individualized services.
    Well, I'm not a lawyer and I'm talking off the top of my head but there you are.

  2. SL,

    You don't have to be a lawyer to have an opinion. In fact some lawyers shouldn't be allowed to have opinions. I kid lawyers....

    Thank you for your comment. Well said.


  3. Does the parent of a child with Autism have the right to request and receive an evaluation of their child for the interst in their child attending another school that they feel with benefit that child both behaviorally and long term? Does the school district control whether or not that child can be evaluated by another facility ?

  4. Anon,

    As the disclaimer on the blog says... i am an impartial(mediator, hearing officer and state consultant) so I never represent or give advice to parents or school districts. Perhaps some readers may have an opinion for you.

    Good luck,


  5. Anonymous,

    If I understand your question correctly, you are seeking a re-evaluation of your child in order to support the appropriateness of a school he/she currently doesnt attend, but that you want him/her to attend? If so, you are entitled to seek a reevaluation of the student. You can ask the school to do it, or get one done on your own. But if you dont give the school district the first right of refusal to evaluate, you wont be able to get your chosen evaluation (commonly called an IEE or Independent Educational Evaluation) paid for via public expense (unless the school is already in violation of the law requiring them to timely evaluate). Of course, a good evaluator will not just lock step recommend your child for the school you want; they will analyze and test the child objectively and make recommendations accordingly.

    The school cannot force you to have your child evaluated by only a select group of professionals of its choosing. If they do decide to evaluate him/her themselves, you can always afterward go to anyone you want, get your own independent evaluation, and seek public funding for it. The school might just pay for it without controversy, but they also have the right to not pay for it and challenge the appropriateness of the evaluation at an impartial.

    This answer assumes you have a child already with an IEP and thus classified by the school district as a student with a disability under the IDEA.

    I hope this was helpful.