The Supreme Court split on a court case in New York. The focus of the case was, in brief, are parents required to try out a demonstrably inappropriate IEP before challenging it?
Note the words: demonstrably inappropriate.
And the court split.
I am so angry I could spit.
It's not just a matter of not giving the public school a chance. This is about the school offering an inappropriate program, and then telling you if you don't like it, sue us.
The point of the IDEA is to provide free and appropriate education. As in, knowing that your program is inappropriate means you need to make some changes and adjustments or even create a new program so the child can get an appropriate education. As in, not offering appropriate service means a child will not have a chance to be properly educated and have a shot at independent living.
When a school offers an IEP, it is supposed to take the parent as an equal member of the forming committee. It is far more comon that they present what services they want to offer your kid, and you have to decide to take it, leave it, or threaten to sue (which can lead to actually suing). Often, parents are not told about services that would be appropriate for their child (even if the services are being provided to other students!)
The problem is the school is given both the responsibility for providing services AND the responsibility to remain within small budgets. Everyone who has the power to provide the service also has the pressure of the purse strings. And folks, those people know who signs the paychecks, and parents are not that person. We can scream "taxpayer, paying your salary!" all we want, but ultimately, it is not our name on that check, but the name of a person pressured to spend as little money as possible. Speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, ABA, floor time, one-on-one instruction and testing... and anything else you can think of... costs money. It is far cheaper to not offer these things, and to get away with not offering them if you can. The chances of that parent suing, and winning, are so not good that it is worth a chance to offer services known to be inappropriate, inadequate... and cheap.
When you can demonstrate that an IEP is inappropriate, why should your child be subjected to that known inappropriate placement? I don't care if the kid has "time to waste" or not (does ANY child have "time to waste" in education??? Life is short!). Our money pays for that inappropriate service and placement- and therefore wastes our money! It wastes time of the teachers, the service providers, the admin, the lawyers, the parents... it wastes resources that could be appropriate for another child.
How on earth can anoyone be split on this?? How can you think it is in any way the right thing to subject a child to inappropriate program and service? How can anyone possibly think the law is intended to force kids to "try out" a demonstrably inappropriate placement?
That, folks, is how kids get abused.