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November 15, 2005

SCOTUS gives bad schools free pass

From the Washington Post...

In a case involving the Montgomery County schools, the Supreme Court ruled yesterday that parents of special-education students disputing proposed instructional plans for their children have the burden of proving why the plans are inadequate.

The case, brought by a Potomac couple displeased with an education plan for their son, had been closely followed by educators and parents across the nation. The 6 to 2 ruling maintains Montgomery County's practice of putting the onus on parents, which is the practice in most states. But the decision could overturn the District's rules, which had required the school system to prove the adequacy of its special-education plans when challenged by parents.

Okay, let's just stop right there and think about what that means. The Public Education system, which by any reasonable measure, is failing drastically, has the presumption that they know what they're doing, and does not have to prove that what they spend billions of taxpayer dollars on, actually does any good? Excuse me while I pick my chin up off the floor.

"Absent some reason to believe that Congress intended otherwise," Justice Sandra Day O'Connor wrote for the majority, "we will conclude that the burden of persuasion lies where it usually falls, upon the party seeking relief."

A federal law, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, guarantees disabled students an education tailored to their individual needs -- and gives families a right to a formal hearing before a neutral decision maker if they believe school officials have not come up with a good enough plan.

The good news is O'Connor will be gone soon, and we can hope that her replacement, unlike her, will have remembered to bring his brain.

Coverage: Don Surber, ACSBlog, Simianbrain, Hit and Run, Adam's Blog, Basil's Blog, bRight and Early, NIF, Political Teen, Choose Life, Tar Pit

UPDATE: Welcome Washington Post readers. Pull up a chair and sit a spell. Check out some of my other entries.

Posted by Danny Carlton at November 15, 2005 06:12 AM

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This is just unconscionable. SCOTUS has no clue what they just did to IDEA. Parents can sue, but now they won't win. How lovely for the children.

Posted by: Moi ;) at November 15, 2005 07:17 AM

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