__ U.S. __ (2017), 15-827, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1

Docket Nº:15-827
Citation:__ U.S. __, 137 S.Ct. 988, 197 L.Ed.2d 335, 85 U.S.L.W. 4109, 26 Fla.L.Weekly Fed. S 490
Opinion Judge:Roberts, Chief Justice
Party Name:ENDREW F., a minor, by and through his parents and next friends, JOSEPH F. AND JENNIFER F., Petitioner v. DOUGLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT RE-1
Attorney:Jeffrey L. Fisher argued the cause for petitioners. Irv Gornstein argued the cause for the United States, as amicus curiae, by special leave of the court. Neal K. Katyal argued the cause for the respondent.
Judge Panel:Roberts, C. J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.
Case Date:March 22, 2017
Court:United States Supreme Court
SUMMARY

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) offers states federal funds to provide every eligible child a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE), by means of an “individualized education program” (IEP). 20 U.S.C. 1401(9)(D), 1412(a)(1), “reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits.” For children fully integrated in the regular classroom, this typically requires an ... (see full summary)

 
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Page 988

137 S.Ct. 988 (2017)

197 L.Ed.2d 335, 85 U.S.L.W. 4109, 26 Fla.L.Weekly Fed. S 490

ENDREW F., a minor, by and through his parents and next friends, JOSEPH F. AND JENNIFER F., Petitioner

v.

DOUGLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT RE-1

No. 15-827

United States Supreme Court

March 22, 2017

Argued January 11, 2017

Page 989

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 990

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE TENTH CIRCUIT

Vacated and remanded.

DECISION: To receive, under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq.), funding conditioned on providing individualized education program (IEP), school district had to offer each eligible child IEP reasonably calculated to enable progress appropriate under child's circumstances.

LAWYERS' EDITION HEADNOTES: [197 L.Ed.2d 336]

Schools 10.5

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

Headnote: 1

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq., establishes a substantive right to a " free appropriate public education" for certain children with disabilities.

Schools 10.5

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES -- FUNDING

Headnote: 2

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act offers states federal funds to assist in educating children with disabilities. 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq. In exchange for the funds, a state pledges to comply with a number of statutory conditions. Among them, the state must provide a free appropriate public education--a FAPE, for short--to all eligible children. 20 U.S.C.S. § 1412(a)(1).

Schools 10.5

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES -- PUBLIC EDUCATION

Headnote: 3

A free appropriate public education, as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq., defines it, includes both " special education" and " related services." 20 U.S.C.S. § 1401(9). " Special education" is specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability; " related services" are the support services required to assist a child to benefit from that instruction. § 1401(26), (29). A state covered by the IDEA must provide a disabled child with such special education and related services in conformity with the child's individualized education program, or IEP. § 1401(9)(D).

Schools 10.5

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES -- INDIVIDUALIZED PROGRAMS

Headnote: 4

The individualized education program (IEP) is the centerpiece of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act's, 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq., education delivery system for disabled children. A comprehensive plan prepared by a child's " IEP Team" (which includes teachers, school officials, and the child's parents), an IEP must be drafted in compliance with a detailed set of procedures. 20 U.S.C.S. § 1414(d)(1)(B). These procedures emphasize collaboration among parents and educators and require careful consideration of the child's individual circumstances. § 1414. The IEP is the means by which special education and related services are tailored to the unique needs of a particular child.

[197 L.Ed.2d 337]

Schools 10.5

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES -- EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS

Headnote: 5

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq., requires that every individualized education program (IEP) include a statement of the child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, describe how the child's disability affects the child's involvement and progress in the general education curriculum, and set out measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals, along with a description of how the child's progress toward meeting those goals will be gauged. 20 U.S.C.S. § 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(I)-(III). The IEP must also describe the special education and related services that will be provided so that the child may advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals and, when possible, be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum. § 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(IV).

Schools 10.5

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES -- DISAGREEMENT ABOUT PROGRAM

Headnote: 6

Parents and educators often agree about what a child's individualized education program should contain. But not always. When disagreement arises, parents may turn to dispute resolution procedures established by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq. The parties may resolve their differences informally, through a preliminary meeting, or, somewhat more formally, through mediation. 20 U.S.C.S. § 1415(e), (f)(1)(B)(i). If these measures fail to produce accord, the parties may proceed to what the Act calls a " due process hearing" before a state or local educational agency. § 1415(f)(1)(A), (g). And at the conclusion of the administrative process, the losing party may seek redress in state or federal court. § 1415(i)(2)(A).

Schools 10.5

CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES -- ADEQUATE PROGRAM

Headnote: 7

Even though Congress was rather sketchy in establishing substantive requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq., the Act guarantees a substantively adequate program of education to all eligible children. There is a substantive standard implicit in the Act. This requirement is satisfied, and a child has received a free appropriate public education, if the child's individualized education program (IEP) sets out an educational program that is reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits. For children receiving instruction in the regular classroom, this will generally require an IEP reasonably calculated to enable the child to achieve passing marks and advance from grade to grade.

Schools 10.5

CHILD WITH DISABILITY -- AUTISM

Headnote: 8

A child with autism qualifies as a " child with a disability" under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq.

Schools 10.5

CHILD WITH DISABILITY -- INDIVIDUALIZED PROGRAM

Headnote: 9

To meet its substantive obligation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq., a school must offer an individualized education program (IEP) reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances. The " reasonably calculated" qualification reflects a recognition that crafting an appropriate program of education requires a prospective judgment by school officials. The Act contemplates that this fact-intensive exercise will be informed not only by the expertise of school officials, but also by the input of the child's parents or guardians. Any review of an IEP must appreciate that the question is whether the IEP is reasonable, not whether the court regards it as ideal.

[197 L.Ed.2d 338]

Schools 10.5

CHILD WITH DISABILITY -- PROGRESS

Headnote: 10

An individualized education program (IEP) must aim to enable the child to make progress. After all, the essential function of an IEP is to set out a plan for pursuing academic and functional advancement. 20 U.S.C.S. § 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(I)-(IV). This reflects the broad purpose of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq., an ambitious piece of legislation enacted in response to Congress's perception that a majority of handicapped children in the United States were either totally excluded from schools or were sitting idly in regular classrooms awaiting the time when they were old enough to drop out. A substantive standard not focused on student progress would do little to remedy the pervasive and tragic academic stagnation that prompted Congress to act.

Schools 10.5

CHILD WITH DISABILITY -- UNIQUE NEEDS

Headnote: 11

A focus on the particular child is at the core of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C.S. § 1400 et seq. The instruction offered must be specially designed to meet a child's unique needs through an individualized education program (IEP). 20 U.S.C.S. § 1401(29), (14). An IEP is not a form document. It is constructed only after careful consideration of the child's present levels of achievement, disability, and potential for growth. 20 U.S.C.S. § 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(I)-(IV), (d)(3)(A)(i)-(iv). The IDEA requires participating states to educate a wide spectrum of handicapped children, and the benefits obtainable by children at one end of the spectrum will differ dramatically from those obtainable by children at the other end, with infinite variations in between.

Schools 10.5

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