The United States Supreme Court began hearing oral arguments for the Endrew v. Douglas County School District today. This case could determine the goal of special education in America: a bare minimum special education or a more than minimum special education. These arguments weigh the words “significant” and “meaningful” quite a lot since it is the center of the case. Another question is how do you measure progress for a student with an Individualized Education Program. Does the IEP team just write the IEP and make sure the student is on target to perform as well as their non-disabled peers or do you go above and beyond?
Another huge issue is funding for special education. The fact that the Federal government spends less than 15% of what they promised to do for special education is a large problem. It was not the Congressional intent to dump all of this on the states and local school districts but that is exactly what happened. As well, what does “standard” mean in this context? Is it the Common Core State Standards and the high-stakes testing that supposedly measures the ability of the student to grasp those standards? Do classroom grades count for anything anymore?
The case is officially submitted into the highest court in the country. This will be fascinating to watch, especially the final ruling.