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NSBA Asks Court to Uphold the Law that Enables More Than 6 Million Children with Disabilities to Receive Individual Educational Opportunities

December 22, 2016

Alexandria, Va. (December 22, 2016) - The National School Boards Association (NSBA) along with the California School Boards Association and its Legal Alliance Fund, the Colorado Association of School Boards, and the Horace Mann League have filed an amicus brief in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1 asking the court to uphold the standard the Court established in the Rowley case decades ago that provides for students to receive an educational benefit from their special education. A ruling in favor of Endrew F. would create confusion that would jeopardize the level of educational benefits school districts provide students with disabilities, endangering the ability of schools to meet individual student needs.

NSBA supports Congress’ intent to allow educational experts in collaboration with parents to determine the educational services necessary to address the needs of students with disabilities when it enacted the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA). The milestone law ensures children with disabilities have the same rights as other children to obtain a free and appropriate public education.

“NSBA believes the IDEA process promotes collaboration between schools and families allowing dialogue and decision making on the student’s needs and addressing his or her potential,” said Tom Gentzel, NSBA Executive Director and CEO. “Under an individualized education approach, which we have, school districts have provided educational support and services to help millions of children with disabilities.”

The Individual Education Program (IEP) is a key aspect of IDEA. It enables schools to address each child’s unique learning issues and establish specific educational goals.

Congress has reauthorized IDEA several times since it was enacted in 1975, and it chose not to deny statutorily the substantive level of educational benefit necessary to meet IDEA’s requirement for a free and appropriate public education.

Francisco Negron, NSBA Chief Legal Officer stated “Congress has amended IDEA five times since it was enacted in 2004, but it never expressed concern with the court’s decision in Rowley or sought to change the definition of free and appropriate public education. The Court should not do so now.”

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The National School Boards Association (NSBA) is the leading advocate for public education and supports equity and excellence in public education through school board leadership. NSBA represents state school boards associations and their more than 90,000 local school board members throughout the U.S.  

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