As your Director of Special Education for the City of Bridgeport

As your Director of Special Education for the City of Bridgeport, CT, I am clarifying the recent Supreme Court decision of Endrew F. and what it will mean for our district. District practices should be able to proceed without a lot of difficulties if we remain diligent about our procedures. The court decision created a middle ground of what was established in Rowley and what Endrew’s parents were asking for in their lawsuit. The IDEA requires schools that receive federal funding to provide a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) to all children with disabilities. The court rejected Endrew’s parents’ argument that a student with exceptionalities should have a “substantially equal” measurement of the progress of their education compared with other students. Instead, the justices required to provide some meaningful educational benefit and also to meet all of the IDEA’s procedural requirements. The decision promoted the concept that children with disabilities should receive an education that shows progress when placed along side of their disabilities. Schools in our district are already doing this. It should not cause major disruptions in the education of our students in Bridgeport. The new interpretation of the IEP process has some leeway and considered how effective our school personnel are at developing plans. We need to be more concerned with the continuation of our existing IEP procedures and be mindful of the ever escalating costs we incur educating about our students with special needs. This past year the State of Connecticut cut in half our educational funding for all our programs which has stressed our ability to provide the services and programs that all our students need and deserve. Yet adhering to both the letter and intent of the new decision should be our aim and direction.

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