A-1 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 not be greatly impacted. The court decision created a middle ground of what was established in Rowley and what Endrew’s parents were demanding 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 the plaintiff’s 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 with their disabilities in mind. 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 bend and allows the consideration of the expertise of our schools’ personnel.
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We need to be more concerned with the continuation of our existing IEP procedures and be mindful of the spiraling costs associated with the education of 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.