Wednesday, February 5, 2014

OK So I Overstated It: Why Do Some Folks Hate Special Ed Hearings.

Old gavel and court minutes displayed at the M...
Old gavel and court minutes displayed at the Minnesota Judicial Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe it was hyperbole... I believe that I have overstated the amount of anger towards the special ed hearing process. In my experience, the vast majority of parties and lawyers have left the hearing feeling that it was fair.  I apologize to my fellow hos for making it sound like we always mess up; clearly we don't. But a minority of parties feel differently.  I believe that the emails and comments show that some people have very strong feelings that the system does not work properly, and I think that it good that we are having this discussion.  These sorts of feelings often simmer beneath the surface.  As a matter of public policy, I think it is better for us to talk about them.

Also it is clear from the comments and emails that satisfaction with hearing systems varies widely from state to state.  I'll admit that I have a bias here because I have trained the hearing officers (and mediators and complaint investigators) in a number of states, but I think that well trained hearing officers (in both how to conduct hearings and write decisions as well as updates on the law) conduct better hearings.  The commitment of the state education departments to training varies.  

But as reauthorization eventually comes, and it has to come eventually, it is good that we are having this discussion.  Are there specific changes in IDEA  concerning the hearing system that you would like to see?  Let's continue talking with an eye to how we can improve.  
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  1. I used to work for a man whose favorite saying was "either do it or don't do it" . Anyone that speaks to me about the law of IDEA knows my passionate view about using the word "consider" . Having been in due process in the state of Wyoming I believe it ended in March 2012 . I found the fact is, the only requirement of the "IEP team" is to consider...... many rights. Just get the IDEA law up on your computer and have it highlight the word consider. Or appropriate. The fact is the school such as my sons school Cody High School can required all disabled students attend a one size fits all and living skills classes they can already do in full segregation as long as the IEP team considers it appropriate. Parents and students are completely powerless and denied FAPE .

    1. If the IEP thinks it's appropriate, it probably is. But you sound like you see the IEP team is an entity that does not include the parents. The parent is the first and most important member of the IEP team, the only one with a riht of private action if they don't like what the district is deciding. If the parent didn't agree, the IEP team didn't say anything; the district did.

      It's not the IEP team that makes the offer; it's the district. It's the district, not the IEP team, that is required to issue PWN (34 CFR 300.503) concerning anything it proposes or refuses that the parents don't agree with. They won't remember that unless prompted, so you have to prompt them.

      But as long as you let the IEP team defined as the district members, who all hear their master's voice, ues, you'll be done out of your rights.

      Now if you enforce the law upon the district and the HO screws youtout of your justice at hearing, that's another thing. But if the district did it and you never filed, the problem is not with the HO that nbever gotr to hear your case.