With Endrew F. Case, Supreme Court Will Decide How Much Benefit an IEP Must Provide

Under federal special education law, an IEP must provide “educational benefit.” But how much of an educational benefit does an IEP have to provide? That’s the legal question in the Supreme Court case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. This case will be argued on January 11. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that kids with disabilities have the right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). That includes many kids with learning and attention issues. The right to FAPE means that students can get special education and related services through an IEP. But IDEA doesn’t spell out what “appropriate” means. It also doesn’t set a standard for the level of benefit the services must provide. Is some small benefit enough? Or do students have a right to something more meaningful?

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