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IDEA Reauthorization: Congressional Research Service Report

Posted May 12 2009 3:23pm


A recent report by the Congressional Research Service provides a good summary of the major caselaw under IDEA since the 2004 reauthorization. I found this report through the excellent NSBA Legal Clips service, and there appears to be some controversy as to whether reports by the Congressional Research Service should be available to the public. But such issues are too big for us here.

The report gives an excellent summary of many of the key recent cases. It also provides a list of many of the issues raised by the caselaw that Congress is likely to consider. On its short list are the following:

• What amount of educational progress is required to meet FAPE standards?

• What educational benefits are required to be put in an individualized education
program (IEP)?

• What use of seclusion and restraints is allowed (if any) under IDEA?

• Are all settlement agreements enforceable in federal court or only those reachedthrough dispute resolution or mediation?

• Is information disclosed in a resolution session confidential?

• What are the rights of a noncustodial parent of a child with a disability?

• Does the Supreme Court’s decision inSchaffer v. Weastcorrectly allocate the
burden of proof in IDEA cases?

• Are compensatory educational services required for the same amount of time that
the appropriate services were withheld?

• Does the Supreme Court’s decision inArlington Central School District v.Murphycorrectly deny reimbursement for expert witness fees?

• Does there need to be more detailed guidance on systemic compliance
complaints?

As you may recall from a previous post, I am planning to collect feedback from you regarding reauthorization issues and join them with my own list. Then I hope to present the whole bunch to Congress when they begin to consider the topic again. Many topics on the CRS list resemble topics that previously appeared on my list. How does the CRS list compare to yours? What else would you have them think about changing?


------- Thanks for subscribing! Jim Gerl
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