COPAA is pleased that the USSC reversed the 10th Circuit decision in Endrew F today. We expect this unanimous decision, authored by Chief Justice Roberts, to be transformative in the lives of the students and families for whom the law is intended to benefit.
As COPAA noted in its amicus brief, along with fellow amici Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/
Disorder (CHADD) and the California Association of Parent Child
Advocacy (CAPCA), the IDEA contains substantive requirements for
appropriate programming. COPAA argued that the only way to determine
whether the IEP meets these requirements is to analyze whether a school
district has complied with all of the substantive
obligations created by the IDEA. Congress realized that the planning
and initial offering of a particular educational program and course of
study would not always lead to a program that would enable the student
to make adequate educational progress. As such, the IDEA requires that
the school district make changes in the goals or the services in the IEP
to enable the student to make progress.
Today's decision says: “To meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. Some children with disabilities will advance from grade to grade progressing smoothly through the general education curriculum. For those who cannot, their educational programs must be "appropriately ambitious." Their "goals may differ, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives."
For children being educated in the general education curriculum in the regular classroom, IDEA typically aims for grade-level advancement. For those educated in a modified general education curriculum, a school cannot satisfy its IDEA obligations by planning for "barely more than de minimis progress." That is because when all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing 'merely more than de minimis' progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all."
Today the USSC affirmed what we know to be the promise of the IDEA.