|Old gavel and court minutes displayed at the Minnesota Judicial Center (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
OK So I Overstated It: Why Do Some Folks Hate Special Ed Hearings.
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.