Federal Laws Impacting Your Child’s Education
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement ACT 2004
IDEA Reauthorized – H.R. 1350
Definition of a Parent (§ 300.30)
parent appointed. In Utah, individuals who act as volunteer surrogate parents in the IEP process are trained by the Utah Parent Center about their responsibilities.
Six Important Principles Covered in IDEA 2004
- Free appropriate public education (FAPE): The right to FAPE means
special education and related services are available to eligible children with disabilities age 3 to 22 and are to be provided at no cost to the parents. The specially designed educational programs and services reflect the child’s individual educational needs, and are to be provided in conformity with the Individualized Educational Program (IEP). The provision of FAPE differs for each child, but the principle is the same. FAPE applies to all qualifying children with disabilities, including those who have been suspended or expelled from school.
- Appropriate evaluation: An appropriate evaluation gathers accurate information to determine eligibility or continued eligibility; it also identifies the student’s strengths and educational needs. An individualized education program is then designed to respond to the student’s needs.
- Individualized Education Program (IEP): The IEP is a legally binding, written document that outlines the special education program, services and related services based on the child’s educational needs.
- Least restrictive environment (LRE): The LRE is the environment where the student can receive an appropriate education designed to meet his or her special education needs, while still being educated with nondisabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate.
- Parent and student participation in decision making: IDEA requires that parents must be given the opportunity to play a central role in the planning
and decision making regarding their child’s education. Parents must have the opportunity to participate in the meetings regarding identification, evaluation, educational placement and the provision of FAPE to the student. Student rights and participation are strongly encouraged, particularly when addressing transition planning.
- Procedural due process: The guarantee of procedural due process means that there are safeguards designed to protect the rights of the parents and their children with disabilities, as well as to give families and schools a mechanism for resolving disputes.
Parent Rights Summary
- Parents have the right to provide information and be involved in the evaluation process. Parents can be involved in the review of existing evaluation data during the initial evaluation and re-evaluation of their child.
- Parents have the right to be a part of the group that makes the decision regarding their child’s educational placement.
- Parents must be given the opportunity to participate in meetings held with respect to the identification, evaluation, and educational placement of their child, and the provision of FAPE to their child. School personnel may have informal meetings without the parents.
- Parents have the right to receive periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports at the time report cards are issued.
- Students must be invited to attend the IEP meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the postsecondary goals and the transition services needed to assist the student in reaching those goals which are based on individual student needs, preferences and interests. If the student does not attend the IEP meeting, the team must take other steps to ensure that the student’s preferences and interests are considered (§300.321).
- Transition planning will begin for the student with disabilities beginning no later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student turns 16 (the IEP meeting conducted when the student is 15 years old), or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team. For more information, please see the section in this book on transition planning (§300.322).
- On the student’s 18th birthday, parental rights transfer to the student. At least one year before the student’s 18th birthday, a statement is required on the student’s IEP, that the student and parents have been informed of the transfer of rights (except for a student who has been determined to be incompetent by a court). Parents may want to consider guardianship options, at least for educational programming, if they believe the student does not have the ability to provide informed consent about educational decisions. Otherwise, parental rights will transfer to the student. (§300.320)
Eligible students at all public schools including charter schools have the right to FAPE(free appropriate public education). §300.320
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
- Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more of such person’s major life activities;
- Has a record of such impairments; or
- Is regarded as having such an impairment.
- Caring for oneself
- Performing manual tasks
- Working, and
- Non-volitional bodily
- Attention deficit disorder (ADD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Learning Disabilities
- Special Health Care Needs
- Parents with hearing impairments who need an interpreter
- Homebound students requiring services for when the disability substantially limits a major life activity.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-380, FERPA), also known as the Buckley Amendment:
- Guarantees you the right to inspect and review your child’s file. You also have the right to receive copies of the file information.
- Says that only people who need to see the file can see it.
- Allows you to challenge information in the file you feel is inaccurate or misleading.
- Allows you to ask the school to remove something in the file that you disagree with. If the request is denied, you have at least two options:
- You may attach a statement to the page in question telling why you disagree.
- You may request a hearing (However, consider the value of this formal process and what you need to accomplish).
The MCKinney-vento Act (Title x, part c of No Child left behind)
- Sharing the housing of others due to lack of housing, economic hardship, or similar reason
- Living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, camping grounds, due to lack of adequate alternative accommodations
- Living in emergency or transitional shelters
- Abandoned in hospitals,
- Awaiting foster care placement
- Living in a public or private place not designed for humans to live
- Living in cars, parks, abandoned buildings, public train stations, etc.
- A migrant child who qualifies under any of the above
- A homeless education liaison in every public school district
- Right to immediate enrollment in school where seeking enrollment without proof of residency, immunizations, school records, or other documents
- Right to choose between the local school where they are living, the school they attended before they lost their housing, or the school where they were last enrolled
- Right to transportation to their school of origin
- Right to be free from harassment and exclusion. Segregation based on a student’s status and homelessness is strictly prohibited.
- Right to access to educational services for which they are eligible including IDEA services, ESL, gifted and talented programs, vocational/technical education, and school nutrition programs.
- Right to be notified of their options and rights under McKinney-Vento. Liaisons must post rights of students experiencing homelessness in schools and other places in the community.
- Right to have disagreements with the school settled quickly