In March 2017, the Supreme Court made an important 8-0 decision in favor of a special education student and his family despite being denied by the lower courts.
The central point that was being argued in this case was: Must schools provide a meaningful education in which students with disabilities show significant progress or can they provide an education that results in just some improvement?
In Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, the Supreme Court ruled the way all special education advocates hoped, in favor of meaningful progress for students with disabilities. It is no longer acceptable for schools to watch students with disabilities fail year after year; it is no longer acceptable to believe that students with disabilities just aren't capable of making the same progress as their peers; and it is no longer acceptable to simply offer de minimis for students with disabilities.
Special education students need more, and this decision is demanding that schools recognize this. Parents can now feel empowered when entering IEP meetings, knowing that schools must be ensuring that their children are making progress and not just receiving de minimis. Parents can advocate that their student receive more services and that they receive updates on their academic progress.
While this ruling is important and meaningful, I still worry whether or not it will have the effect it should. We as special education advocates need to ensure that parents are aware of meaningful decisions such as this one. Parents need to know that schools can not let their students fail simply on the basis that they have a disability.
So spread the word, share this post, make sure that all parents know that their student has a right to a meaningful education that ensures that students are making meaningful academic progress.