Change is everywhere. From the way we live to our hobbies and interests, the world we live in now is far from the world where our parents grew up in. With the many changes happening in our surroundings, it makes perfect sense to educate the youth about these changes so they can better adapt to them once they grow up. But there is a small part of the population that have special needs, and thus require special education.
The Special Education system devotes itself to the learning needs of children with disabilities. It aims to provide them with sufficient education and to enhance their skills so they can survive in a far-more-complex world even if their body senses are lacking.
March 22, 2017 will go down as a good day for parents, like me, who have a child in the public education system who has special needs. In a time when many of the exceptional children’s programs in this state and in this country seem to be under constant attack, the Supreme Court has given us some new ammunition in the form of (i) a new and higher standard for the level of education that our children are required to be provided with and (ii) an acknowledgment from the highest judicial figure in the land in a Supreme Court opinion that affirms the presence and importance of the role that parents must play in the formation of their children’s IEP’s [Individualized Education Plan].
The U.S. Supreme Court recognizes that students with special needs also requires special education that is not limited to just teaching them the basics but in providing them a quality education that boosts their potential as an individual despite their disabilities.
In a stunning 8-0 decision in the case Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a higher standard of education for children with disabilities. Advocates and parents say the case dramatically expands the rights of special-education students in the United States, creates a nationwide standard for special education, and empowers parents as they advocate for their children in schools. But critics say the decision will not have any impact on schools, arguing that the vast majority already provide a good education for those kids.
As I explained in January, the parents of Endrew F. removed him from his local public school, where he made little progress, and placed him in a private school, where they said he made “significant” academic and social improvement.
In 2012, Drew’s parents filed a complaint with the Colorado Department of Education to recover the cost of tuition at the school, which is now about $70,000 per year. The lower courts ruled on behalf of the school district on the grounds that the intent of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is to ensure handicapped kids have access to public education—not to guarantee any particular level of education once inside. But the parents appealed, with the case eventually landing at the Supreme Court.
The case revolved around a central question: Must schools provide a meaningful education in which children show significant progress and are given substantially equal opportunities as typical children, or can they provide an education that results in just some improvement?
As such, the court ruling showed the value of education above everything else, regardless of the circumstance of the student. This positive move raises the hopes of families with students with special needs because it promises them a better education than what they currently get today. Parents are also grateful that their children are given the attention and support they need and this court ruling guarantees their children will have a better future. Let’s wait and see whether President Trump also sees the justice system eye-to-eye regarding this matter considering his first few policies involved budget cuts on the education system as a whole.