Special ed law, though, is new law new law being roughly defined as what did not come over on the boat from England. The mid 1970's stuff is brand new law. Especially when you mix in equal parts of social policy and children's rights, the result is probably less predictable than other fields of law. Pity the fool.
Add to this mix, the never-ending cycle of special education law and things become even less clear. IDEA must be periodically reauthorized by Congress, and we are once again overdue. Then the U. S. Department of Education must promulgate regulations (if that is still a thing in this age), upon which the public may comment before they are finalized. Then, states develop regs. Soon hearing officer decisions appear followed by court opinions. Just when we become comfortable with the current state of the law, Congress reauthorizes and the process begins again. Let's just say that our "rules" are a little fuzzy around the edges.
Could this be an example of the deep division in our society today? Culturally, politically, racially and by gender and region, we are divided. We now even work from differing "facts." Is the divide between parents and school officials, especially in the five states that have 90% of due process hearings, so strong that we see different court decisions on the same pages? This would be bad if IDEA is meant to be a collaborative process between parents and school officials. Schaffer v. Weast 546 U.S. 49, 126 S.Ct. 528, 44 IDELR 150 (2005). Or maybe not? We were able to unite all eight generally divided justices in one unanimous opinion so this cannot be a liberal-conservative thing, can it?
So what explains the discrepancy? Once again, I have many questions and few answers. What do you think?