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In unanimous decision, Supreme Court raises bar for special education (+video)

The Christian Science Monitor – Patrick Reilly

“On Wednesday, the US Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of two parents of an autistic son, finding that his Colorado school district had failed to provide him with a “free and appropriate public education.” School districts are required to provide such an education under the 1975 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). But the exact meaning of an “appropriate” education has remained unclear. In January, The Christian Science Monitor’s Henry Gass explained that some federal appeals courts have “held that the district is only required to provide educational benefits that are more than minimal or trivial,” while others have instead ruled that “schools must supply a ‘meaningful educational benefit.’” As a result, “it is unclear whether school districts have to provide ‘meaningful’ or just ‘more than trivial’ educational benefits to students.” In their unanimous opinion, the Supreme Court’s eight justices came down decisively against the “more than trivial” camp, a ruling that could bring major benefits to students with disabilities – especially those with “individualized education programs,” or IEPs.”(more)

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