Friday, November 17, 2017

Technical Difficulties And Presentations #technology

First of all thank you to all of you who participated in my presentation on the Endrew F decision  by the Supreme Court sponsored by the National Conference of the Administrative Law Judiciary. I was amazed that registration had to be closed when 150 people signed up.

Unfortunately there were some technical issues with the presentation. Some of you told me that you were able to hear the entire  presentation hindered only by some static once I turned up my volume. Others had more difficulties. Sorry about that. As my nephew says "technology is great- except when it isn't."

In any event, I enjoyed the session and all of the great questions that you sent in. It was fun discussing the future of the meaning of FAPE! Thanks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Remember Tomorrow is My Presentation On Endrew F #FAPEstandard

My presentation on the Supreme Court decision in Endrew F is tomorrow from 1 - 3 pm Eastern Time. Please note that they have converted the session to telephone only- no skype. I look forward to connecting with some of you.

The presentation is free, but you need to register. See the flyer below for details. 

The Endrew F Decision: SCOTUS Clarifies the FAPE Standard
Thursday, November 16, 2017
1:00—3:00 pm Eastern
In this interactive session, Jim Gerl will discuss and analyze the Endrew F decision, an important ruling by the Supreme Court that clarifies the FAPE standard for special education cases. Decisions by circuit courts of appeal applying the new standard will also be covered. This program is complimentary, but advanced registration is required.

Jim Gerl is a lawyer, a hearing officer, a mediator, a blogger, and a trainer of hearing officers and mediators.  Since 1979, he has been a hearing officer, hearing examiner or administrative law judge for numerous agencies, primarily in special education and civil rights.  He has been an IDEA hearing officer for West Virginia, Utah, South Dakota, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has trained hearing officers from all 50 states.  He has trained hearing officers at several national and regional conferences.  Jim has served as a Faculty Advisor for the administrative law- fair hearing program offered at the National Judicial College.  He is a regular faculty member for the National Association of Hearing Officials and for the IDEA ALJ/HO Academy. Jim has a law degree from the University of San Francisco, a Masters degree in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois- Chicago, and a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Weekly Question!

The Endrew F decision has been around for a while now, is it making a difference for children with disabilities? #FAPE

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Special Education Law 101 - Part XV #dphProcedures



This is another post in a  series  comprising an introduction to special education law.  This series is meant to be an introduction for newbies and a refresher course for more experienced readers. 

Today's post concerns some additional unusual procedural issues in due process hearings:
   Resolution Session
IDEA provides provides that where a parent requests a due process hearing, the school district must convene a resolution session within 15 days of receipt.  The school district may not bring their lawyer unless the parent does so. An agreement resulting from a resolution session is legally binding and enforceable in court, but either party may void such an agreement within 3 business days. The federal regulations provide that if a parent does not participate in the resolution session the district may request that the HO dismiss the complaint.
IDEA, § 615 (f)(1)(B); 34 C.F.R. § 300.510.

                                         Evidence
IDEA, § 615(h)(2); 34 C.F.R. § 300.512(a)(2

                                         Representation
IDEA, § 615(h)(1); 34 C.F.R. § 300.512(a)(1).

        Other procedures
IDEA, § 615(h)(3); 34 C.F.R. §       300.512(a)(4)&(5) and 300.512(c)(1)-(3).

       45 day Rule/ Deadline for Decision
The hearing officer’s decision is due within 45 days after the conclusion of the 30 day resolution period, subject to various possible adjustments and extensions if granted by the hearing officer.
34 C.F.R. § 300.511(e) and (f).

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Next Week: My Webinar on The Endrew F Decision: SCOTUS Clarifies the FAPE Standard #EndrewF

Next Thursday November 16, 2017 from 1 -3 pm ET, I will be presenting a webinar on the Endrew F decision by the Supreme Court. The webinar is free but you have to register. Here's a link to register. 

The Endrew F Decision: SCOTUS Clarifies the FAPE Standard
Thursday, November 16, 2017
1:00—3:00 pm Eastern
In this interactive session, Jim Gerl will discuss and analyze the Endrew F decision, an important ruling by the Supreme Court that clarifies the FAPE standard for special education cases. Decisions by circuit courts of appeal applying the new standard will also be covered. This program is complimentary, but advanced registration is required.

Jim Gerl is a lawyer, a hearing officer, a mediator, a blogger, and a trainer of hearing officers and mediators.  Since 1979, he has been a hearing officer, hearing examiner or administrative law judge for numerous agencies, primarily in special education and civil rights.  He has been an IDEA hearing officer for West Virginia, Utah, South Dakota, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has trained hearing officers from all 50 states.  He has trained hearing officers at several national and regional conferences.  Jim has served as a Faculty Advisor for the administrative law- fair hearing program offered at the National Judicial College.  He is a regular faculty member for the National Association of Hearing Officials and for the IDEA ALJ/HO Academy. Jim has a law degree from the University of San Francisco, a Masters degree in public policy analysis from the University of Illinois- Chicago, and a BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Weekly Question!

The Endrew F decision has been around for a while now, is it making a difference for children with disabilities? #FAPE

Monday, October 30, 2017

Weekly Question!

The Endrew F decision has been around for a while now, is it making a difference for children with disabilities? #FAPE

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Special Education Law 101- Part XVI #dph procedures

This is another in a  series of posts comprising an introduction to special education law.  This series is meant to be an introduction for newbies and a refresher course for more experienced readers.  Please let us know what you think about the series.

Today's post and the next post concern some unusual procedural issues in due process hearings.  The due process hearing is the administrative law equivalent of a trial in a civil action.


A due process hearing resembles a court trial.  Increasingly, parties are represented by lawyers.  Opening statements are made.  Testimony is provided by parents, teachers, related service providers, administrators, and many others- often by expert witnesses.  Although the formal rules of evidence are generally not applied, exhibits, or documentary evidence, are offered and admitted.  The tone is increasingly adversarial.  Either closing arguments are made or written briefs are submitted.  Hearing officer decisions are generally lengthy and legalistic in tone.  The decision of the hearing officer may be appealed to one or more courts.

Parents and local education agencies may file a due process complaint for any matter related to the identification, evaluation, educational placement or the provision of a free and appropriate public education to a child with a disability. IDEA §§ 615(f);615(b)(6).

IDEA imposes a two-year statute of limitations on due process complaints.  Unless state law imposes a contrary limitations period, a party must request a due process hearing within two years of the date that the party knew or reasonably should have known about the alleged action that forms the basis of the complaint. § 615 (f)(3)(C).  The statute of limitations recognizes two exceptions – cases in which the parent was prevented from requesting the hearing due either to specific misrepresentations by the LEA that it had resolved the problem or to the LEA’s withholding of information that the IDEA requires it to provide. § 615 (f)(3)(D).  OSEP has clarified that a state may adopt a statute of limitations either shorter or longer than two years by statute or regulation, but not by common law, subject to the notification provisions of IDEA.  71 Fed. Register No. 156 at pages 46696-97 (August 14, 2006).  It is the province of the hearing officer to determine whether a specific complaint has been filed within the statute of limitations and whether an amended complaint relates to a previous complaint. 71 Fed. Register No. 156 at pages 46698 (August 14, 2006). 

In addition to the requirement that a hearing officer not have a personal or professional interest that would conflict with objectivity, three more qualifications for due process hearing officers were added in 2004.  The following new qualities are required in a hearing officer: the knowledge and ability to conduct hearings in accordance with standard legal practice; the knowledge and ability towrite decisions in accordance with standard legal practice; knowledge of and ability to understand special education law.   § 615 (f)(3)(A)(ii)-(iv). The changes in the qualifications for hearing officers are significant.  The fact that the Congress amended this section signals at least some concern about hearing officers. SEA personnel who train and select hearing officers need to be mindful of these changes to the law.  Those who train hearing officers should be people with experience in conducting due process hearings and in writing decisions thereafter.  New hearing officers should be able to cite prior experience concerning these qualifications. OSEP has noted that pursuant to its general supervisory responsibility, each SEA must ensure that its hearing officers are sufficiently trained to meet the new qualifications established by IDEA. 71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page 46705 (August 14, 2006). 

IDEA provides that the party requesting the due process hearing “…shall not be allowed to raise issues at the due process hearing that were not raised in the (due process hearing) notice…,” unless the other party agrees. § 615 (f)(3)(B). see, 34 CFR §300.511(d); 71 Fed. Register No. 156 at pages 46705 -06 (August 14, 2006).  However, note that IDEA § 615 (o) provides that nothing in § 615 “… shall be construed to preclude a parent from filing a separate due process complaint on an issue separate from a due process complaint already filed.”

OSEP noted that states have considerable latitude in developing procedural rules for due process hearings and that determinations upon procedural matters not specifically addressed by IDEA are within the sound discretion of the hearing officer so long as the parties’ right to a timely hearing is not denied.  71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page 46704 (August 14, 2006).  Other items left to the discretion of the hearing officer include the following: decisions concerning appropriate expert witness testimony.  71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page 46691 (August 14, 2006); ruling upon compliance with timelines and the statute of limitations.  71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page 46705 (August 14, 2006);   determining when dismissals are appropriate.  71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page 46699 (August 14, 2006); whether the non-complaining party may raise other issues at the hearing that were not raised in the due process complaint.  71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page 46706 (August 14, 2006);  the meaning of the word “misrepresentation” for purposes of the exception to the statute of limitations for filing a due process complaint. 71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page 46706 (August 14, 2006); and providing proper latitude for pro se parties. 71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page  46699 (August 14, 2006).

Concerning the five business day rule for disclosure of evidence prior to a due process hearing, OSEP commented that nothing prevents parties from agreeing to a shorter period of time.  71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page 46706 (August 14, 2006).

As to the location and time of due process hearings, OSEP resisted the suggestion that they be conducted in a “mutually convenient” time and place, fearing that the large number of participants to a hearing would necessitate long delays if  mutually convenient times and locations were required.  The regulations retain the requirement that hearings be conducted at a time and place that is reasonably convenient to the parents and student.    34 CFR § 300.515(d); 71 Fed. Register No. 156 at page 46707 (August 14, 2006).

Here is a recent Q & A document from OSEP on Dispute Resolution Procedures under IDEA Part B.  For due process, see Q C-1 to C-27; for the resolution process, see Q D-1 to D-25, and for expedited hearings see Q E-1 to E-9:

Monday, October 23, 2017

Weekly Question!

The Endrew F decision has been around for a while now, is it making a difference for children with disabilities? #FAPE

Monday, October 16, 2017

Weekly Question!

How will courts and hearing officers interpret Endrew F? #FAPE

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Special Education Law 101 - Part XV #Burden of Persuasion

This is another in a periodic series on the nuts and bolts of special education law.  The series is intended as an overview of key concepts for beginners and a review for those readers who have been around the block.

The citations for information about due process hearings are:IDEA, § 615(f); 34 C.F.R. § 300.507 to .515

Concerning the burden of persuasion at due process hearings...
  


Schaffer v. Weast 546 U.S. 49, 126 S.Ct. 528, 44 IDELR 150 (2005). The SupremeCourt held that the burden of persuasion in an IDEA due process hearing is upon the party challenging the IEP.  The “burden of persuasion” involves which party loses if the evidence is closely balanced.  In any civil legal proceeding, if the evidence for both sides is equal, the party with the burden of persuasion loses.  The Court exempted from its decision, however, the burden of persuasion applicable in those states that have laws or regulations placing the burden upon the school district. Note that the burden of persuasion is not the same as the burden of going forward, which concerns which party goes first in presenting evidence.  To increase confusion, both the burden of persuasion and the burden of going forward are loosely referred to as "burden of proof" in legal circles.  (I'm not sure why!)

Concerning the IDEA due process hearing process, the Court in Weast noted that such hearings are deliberately informal.  The Court went on to note that the IDEA due process hearing was set up by Congress with the intention of giving the hearing officers the flexibility they need to ensure that each side can fairly present its evidence.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Weekly Question!

How will courts and hearing officers interpret Endrew F? #FAPE

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Happy National Disability Employment Awareness Month #NDEAM




October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Here is the U. S. Department of Labor NDEAM website.  NDEAM started in 1945; here is a timeline. Here are some useful resources.  This page has some resources for educators about this celebration.

Related to this topic is the transition requirement under IDEA for children with IEPs as they approach life after secondary school. Here is our post explaining transition requirements.  Here is a post about a GAO report concerning transition for children with autism.



Monday, October 2, 2017

Weekly Question!

How will courts and hearing officers interpret Endrew F? #FAPE

Friday, September 29, 2017

Special Education Law 101 - Part XIV Attorney's Fees #attorney's fees

This is another in our ongoing series on the basics of special education law.  These posts are meant to be an introduction for those new to the field and a refresher for the seasoned veterans.

Attorney's Fees

A prevailing parent can generally get their attorney's fees from a court. IDEA §615(i)(1)(3).  They are not awarded by hearing officers but are awarded by the court.  Since 2004, a prevailing school district may get attorney's fees from a parent or parent's attorney if the case was frivolous or filed for improper purposes. IDEA §615(i)(1)(3)(b)(ii)and(iii).

Expenses-Expert witness fees

                             In Arlington Cent. Sch. Dist Bd. of Educ v. Murphy   540 U.S. 291, 126 S.Ct. 2455, 45 IDELR 267 (6/16/06) the Supreme Court ruled that a parent who prevails in an IDEA case is not entitled to recover expert witness fees under the Act’s provision allowing recovery of reasonable attorney’s fees and costs. The parents cited the legislative history of the Act- including the joint statement of the House/Senate Conference Committee which stated that “The conferees intend the term ‘attorney’s fees as part of the costs’ to include reasonable expenses and fees of expert witnesses...”  The 6-3 majority of the Court, however, rejected the parents’ argument, holding that “costs” is a legal term of art which does not generally encompass expert witness fees.  BecauseCongress used the legal term of art “costs,” rather than “expenses,” the Court found that there is no need to review the legislative history.  Thus the Court held that a prevailing parent in an IDEA case is not entitled to be reimbursed for expert witness fess.
              But See, MM & EM ex rel SM v Sch Dist of Philadelphia 66 IDELR 181 (ED Penna 11/3/15) Mgst recommended that parent be awarded IDEA expert witness fees under §504. Finding that a denial of IDEA FAPE is sufficient- no intentional discrimination necessary where parent had waived compensatory damages- and expert witness fees are available under 504; MW & DB-W ex rel DW v Sch Dist of Philadelphia 68 IDELR 36 (ED Penna 7/22/16) Where parents had proven IDEA violation of denial of FAPE, Court awarded expert witness fees under §504.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

DeVoss Feels That IDEA Regs Are Cumbersome And Congressional Funding Is Inadequate #DeVoss

In a recent interview, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVoss stated that special education regulations continue to get piled on and that they are cumbersome and burdensome for school districts. She also stated that it would be fair to ask Congress what adequate funding levels from the feds should be. 

You can review the Education Week article here. The entire interview is available here.

Your thoughts?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Weekly Question!

How will courts and hearing officers interpret Endrew F? #FAPE

Monday, September 18, 2017

Weekly Question!

How will courts and hearing officers interpret Endrew F? #FAPE

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Special Education Law - Part XIII #lawyers

This is another post in our ongoing series on the basics of special education law.  Please let us know how you are enjoying this series.  We feel that this is a good introduction for newbies and a good refresher for seasoned pros.  

The federal regulations implementing IDEA provide that parties to due process hearings have a right to be accompanied by legal counsel and by individuals with special knowledge or training with respect to the problems of kids with disabilities "...except that whether parties have the right to be represented by non-attorneys at due process hearings is determined under State law." 34 C.F.R. §300.512.  This regulation was changed a few years ago to reverse a previous long standing policy of the department of Education that had permitted non-attorney advocates to fully represent parents in the past. To be clear a parent may still have an advocate present to advise her, but the advocate may not be able to represent the parent depending upon state law.

There is one US Supreme Court decision concerning legal representation: 
In Winkelman by Winkelman v. Parma City Sch. Dist  550 U.S. 516, 127 S.Ct 1994,  47 IDELR 281 (5/21/2007) the Supreme Court ruled by a 7 to 2 margin that the IDEA grants independent enforceable rights to parents as well as students.  Accordingly, the court concluded that parents may pursue their own IDEA appeals in federal court without being represented by an attorney.  NOTE: This decision applies only to federal court appeals of due process decisions.  All parties agreed that a parent may appear at a due process hearing without counsel. Also many courts have held that a parent must retain legal counsel to assert their child's rights in federal court.


See also, Rideau ex rel TR v Keller Independent Sch Dist 819 F.3d 155, 67 IDELR 166 (5th Cir 4/5/16) Fifth Circuit declined to extend Winkleman to grant parents a cause of action under §504 or ADA for their anguish resulting from mistreatment of their child by a teacher

Monday, September 11, 2017

Weekly Question!

How will courts and hearing officers interpret Endrew F? #FAPE

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Special Education Law 101 - Part XII #stay put

This is another post in our ongoing series on the basics of special education law.  Please let us know how you are enjoying this series.  We feel that this is a good introduction for newbies and a good refresher for seasoned pros.  

Today we talk about the stay put provision- one of the basic concepts in this area of the law, yet also one of the most misunderstood. It only applies when a due process hearing is pending.


Stay Put

              IDEA § 615 (j) provides that (except in certain discipline cases), during the pendency of any due process or court proceedings pursuant to this section, unless the parties agree otherwise, the student ‘…shall remain in the then-current educational placement of the child…”  This is commonly referred to as the stay put provision.  The stay put placement is the last agreed upon IEP, unless the parties agree otherwise. See 34 C.F.R. § 300.518.

              The Supreme Court interpreted and endorsed the stay put decision in the case of Honig v. Doe 484 U.S. 305, 108 S.Ct. 594, 559 IDELR 231 (1988).  In that decision, the Supreme Court, noting the Congressional intent in preventing the exclusion of disabled students and reiterating the importance of the procedural safeguards under the IDEA, refused to read a dangerousness exception into the stay put provision.  Honig v. Doe, supra.  (NOTE; please note that IDEA’04 now has provisions pertaining to danger/injury.)

              John M. by Christine M & Michael M v. Bd of Educ of the Evanston Township HS Dist No. 202 502 F.3d 708, 48 IDELR 177 (7th Cir. 9/17/7) The Seventh Circuit noted that determining “then current educational placement’ is an inexact science requiring a fact driven approach.  Respect for the purpose of the stay put provision requires focus upon the child’s educational needs so the educational status quo for a “growing, learning, young person” often makes rigid adherence to a particular educational methodology an impossibility.  Stay put, therefore, requires flexibility in interpreting the educational placement per the last agreed upon IEP and flexibility concerning the child’s needs. CS by Julia V v Lansing Sch Dist #158 115 LRP 31079 (ND Ill 1/23/15) quoting John M, court held that a stay put educational placement falls somewhere between the physical school attended by the child and the abstract goals of his IEP and courts use a fact-driven approach to determine whether a change of placement has occurred. Here court found agreed upon placement was stay put.
                 In other Circuit Court decisions: KD by CL v. Dept of Educ, State of Hawaii 58 IDELR 2 (9th Cir 12/27/11) Ninth Circuit held that the language of a settlement agreement prevented a private school from being the “as agreed” stay put placement.  The agreement provided that the LEA would pay for a private school program for a specific period of time rather than merely agreeing to place the child in a private school. Therefore, LEA had no obligation to pay for the private school after the period of time designated in the agreement lapsed; and in Anchorage Sch Dist v. MP by MP 689 F.3d 1047, 59 IDELR 91 (9th Cir 7/19/12) Ninth Circuit ruled that the school district denied FAPE by failing to conduct IEPT meetings at least once per year despite a number of dphs and complaints pending by the parents.  Stay put did apply, but stay put only affects the educational program in general, and the IEPT could have discussed other items.
                       MR & JR ex rel ER v. Ridley Sch Dist 744 F.3d 112, 62 IDELR 251 (3d Cir 2/20/14)  Third Circuit held that stay put applies through the final resolution of the case. The Third Circuit held that stay put does not end with a district court decision adverse to the parents, but continues through the appeals process. Thus where an IDEA ho approves a unilateral placement by a parent, stay put takes effect and remains until the appeals are over. Reversal by a district court of a ho decision that the parent’s appropriate placement is necessary to meet the child’s needs does not release the school district’s obligation to pay until the appeal is concluded because stay put accrues when the dispute arises- not when the parent’s request reimbursement. The premise of IDEA is that parents and schools working together is the ideal way to reach the statutory goal of FAPE for every child, but Congress recognized that the collaborative process may break down. Stay put maintains the educational status quo. To determine the then current educational placement, courts look at the IEP actually functioning when stay put is invoked. Parents do not have to request stay put or reimbursement for stay put to apply(NOTE: The U S Supreme Court flirted with the notion of reviewing this case and requested a brief from the Solicitor General, but recently decided not to decide this one.) See our post on the Supreme Court denial of certiorari here
       Doe ex rel Doe v East Lyme Bd of Educ 790 F.3d 440, 65 IDELR 255 (Second Cir 6/26/15) Parent argued that SD violated stay put by failing to provide the related services of speech therapy and OT. District court agreed but limited relief only to money that the parent had already paid out for the related services to avoid awarding money damages which are not available under IDEA. Second Circuit reversed holding that the parent was entitled to the full value of the related services.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day #workers

Happy Labor Day. Today we celebrate those who work for a living!

Here are some relevant Labor Day facts from our friends at the U. S Census Bureau:

The first observance of Labor Day was likely on Sept. 5, 1882, when some 10,000 workers assembled in New York City for a parade. The parade inspired similar events across the country, and by 1894 more than half the states were observing a “workingmen’s holiday” on one day or another. Later that year, with Congress passing legislation and President Grover Cleveland signing the bill on June 29, the first Monday in September was designated “Labor Day.” This national holiday is a creation of the labor movement in the late 19th century and pays tribute to the social and economic achievements of workers in America.
Who Are We Celebrating?
159.8 million
The number of people age 16 and over in the nation’s labor force as of May 2017. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table A www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

Our Jobs
Largest Occupations, May 2016                                                      Number of Employees
Retail salespersons                                                                                             4,528,550
Cashiers                                                                                                              3,541,010
Combined food preparation and serving workers,                                             3,426,090 
       including fast food
Office clerks, general                                                                                         2,955,550
Registered nurses                                                                                               2,857,180
Customer service representatives                                                                      2,707,040
Laborers and freight, stock and material movers, hand                                     2,587,900
Waiters and waitresses                                                                                       2,564,610
Secretaries and administrative assistants, except legal,                                     2,295,510
  medical and executive
General and operations managers                                                                      2,188,870 
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Largest occupations in the United States, May 2016 www.bls.gov/oes/2016/may/area_emp_chart/area_emp_chart.htm

16.3 million
The number of wage and salary workers age 16 and over represented by a union in 2016. This group included both union members (14.6 million) and workers who reported no union affiliation but whose jobs were covered by a union contract (1.7 million). Among states, New York continued to have the highest union membership rate (23.6 percent), and South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.6 percent).
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Releases


15.3 million
The number of employed female workers age 16 and over in service occupations in 2015. Among male workers age 16 and over, 11.7 million were employed in service-related occupations. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey, Table C24010 https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/15_1YR/C24010

1.8%
The percentage increase in employment, or 143.7 million, in the United States between December 2015 and December 2016. In December 2016, the 344 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more jobs accounted for 72.8 percent of total U.S. employment and 78.1 percent of total wages. These 344 counties had a net job growth of 1.4 million over the year, which accounted for 80.7 percent of the overall U.S. employment increase. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release www.bls.gov/news.release/cewqtr.nr0.htm

Another Day, Another Dollar
$51,212 and $40,742
The 2015 real median earnings for male and female full-time, year-round workers, respectively. The 2015 real median household income of $56,516, an increase in real terms of 5.2 percent from the 2014 median of $53,718. This is the first annual increase in median household income since 2007, the year before the most recent recession. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015www.census.gov/library/publications/2016/demo/p60-256.html

$77,166
The 2015 median Asian household income, the highest among race groups. The median income of non-Hispanic, white households was $62,950 and for black households it was $36,898. For Hispanic households the median income was $45,148. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015 www.census.gov/library/publications/2016/demo/p60-256.html

Fastest Growing Jobs
108.0%
The projected percentage growth from 2014 to 2024 in the number of wind turbine service technicians (4,400 jobs in 2014), the projected fastest-growing occupation. Meanwhile, the occupation expected to add the greatest number of positions over this period is personal care aides (458,100). Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Table 1.3, Fastest growing occupations, 2014 and projected 2024, and Table 1.4, Occupations with the most job growth, 2014 and projected 2024 www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_103.htm 


Employee Benefits
90.1%
The percentage of full-time, year-round workers ages 19 to 64 covered by health insurance during all or part of 2015. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2015 www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2016/demo/p60-257.pdf

Say Goodbye to Summer
Labor Day is celebrated by most workers in America as the symbolic end of the summer and the start of the back-to-school season.
25,027
The number of shoe stores for back-to-school shopping in 2015. Also catering to back-to-school needs were 28,910 family clothing stores; 7,885 department stores; 7,185 children and infants’ clothing stores; 6,475 office supply and stationery stores; and 6,870 book stores. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 County Business Patterns

21,890
The number of sporting goods stores nationwide in 2015. Examples of these types of stores include athletic uniform supply, fishing supply and exercise equipment, as well as bicycle and golf pro shops. In U.S. sports, college football teams usually play their first games the week before Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing its first game the Thursday following Labor Day. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 County Business Patterns, NAICS 451110 https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/BP/2015/00A1//naics~451110

51,045
The number of travel agents employed full time, year-round in the United States in 2015. In addition, there were 17,915 tour and travel guides employed full time, year-round nationwide. On a weekend intended to give U.S. workers a day of rest, many people climb into their drivers’ seats or board an airplane for a quick end of the summer getaway. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey, Table B24124

921,654
The number of paid employees (for the pay period including March 12) who worked for a gasoline station in the United States in 2015. Oregon (11,003 paid gasoline station employees) and New Jersey (18,095 paid gasoline station employees) are the only states without self-service gasoline stations. Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day a holiday in February 1887. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 County Business Patterns, NAICS 447 https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/BP/2015/00A1/0100000US|0100000US.04000/naics~447

The Commute to Work
6.5 million
The number of commuters who left for work between midnight and 4:59 a.m. in 2015. They represented 4.6 percent of all commuters. The most common time was between 7 a.m. and 7:29 a.m. — with 20.9 million commuters. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey, Table B08132 https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/15_1YR/B08132

4.6%
The percentage of workers age 16 and over who worked at home in 2015. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey, Table B08128 https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/15_1YR/B08128

76.6%
The percentage of workers age 16 and over who drove alone to work in 2015. Another 9.0 percent carpooled and 0.6 percent biked to work. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey, Table S0801 https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/15_1YR/S0801

26.4 minutes

The average time it took workers in the United States to commute to work in 2015. New York (33.1 minutes) and Maryland (32.6 minutes) had the most time-consuming commutes. Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey, Table R0801 https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/15_1YR/R0801.US01PRF