U.S. Department of Education Supports Special Education Students by Publishing a Q&A Supporting the Endrew Case

On March 22, 2017, The Supreme Court of the United States (“SCOTUS”)issued a decision in the case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District (2017) 580 U.S. __ . Endrew was a case in which SCOTUS held that, under the IDEA, schools must provide students an education that is “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.”*

On December 7, 2017, The U.S. Department of Education released a question-and-answer document to provide insight regarding Endrew. “The Supreme Court sent a strong and unanimous message: all children must be given an opportunity to make real progress in their learning environment—they cannot simply be passed along from year to year without meaningful improvement,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “For too long, too many students offered IEPs were denied that chance. I firmly believe all children, especially those with disabilities, must be provided the support needed to empower them to grow and achieve ambitious goals.”

Here are a couple key excerpts from the Q&A:

18. Is there anything IEP Teams should do differently as a result of the Endrew F. decision?

The Court in Endrew F. held that to meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances and expressly rejected the merely more than de minimis, or trivial progress standard. Although the Court did not determine any one test for determining what appropriate progress would look like for every child, IEP Teams must implement policies, procedures, and practices relating to

(1) identifying present levels of academic achievement and functional performance;

(2) the setting of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals; and

(3) how a child’s progress toward meeting annual goals will be measured and reported, so that the Endrew F.standard is met for each individual child with a disability.

Separately, IEP Teams and other school personnel should be able to demonstrate that, consistent with the provisions in the child’s IEP, they are providing special education and related services and supplementary aids and services; making program modifications; providing supports for school personnel; and allowing for appropriate accommodations that are reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances and enable the child to have the chance to meet challenging objectives.
19. Is there anything SEAs should do differently as a result of the Endrew F. decision?

SEAs should review policies, procedures, and practices to provide support and appropriate guidance to school districts and IEP Teams to ensure that IEP goals are appropriately ambitious and that all children have the opportunity to meet challenging objectives. States can help ensure that every child with a disability has an IEP that enables the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and is appropriately ambitious in light of the child’s circumstances. While many States and school districts are already meeting the standard established in Endrew F., this is an opportunity to work together to ensure that we are holding all children with disabilities to high standards and providing access to challenging academic content and achievement standards.

You can read the entire Q&A here:

Click to access qa-endrewcase-12-07-2017.pdf


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