Betcha Didn't Know
Betcha Didn’t Know are a series of light-hearted posts to teach basic special education advocacy tips.
Betcha Didn't KnowBETCHA DIDN'T KNOW that the school is only required to provide your child with the "Chevrolet" and not the "Cadillac" of educational programs, according to the Supreme Court in the seminal special education case commonly referred to as Rowley. What the Court meant was that schools are only required to provide the basic floor of opportunity, not maximize your child's potential. Of course, school administrators run with this idea and try and cash in at every opportunity they have when you are requesting services and/or placement for your child.
Do's & Dont'sDon't: Do not make a request for special education because "it's what is best for my child," or "it would maximize my child's education." The minute your start phrasing requests in this format, is the minute you put the school in the driver's seat. Schools are not required to "give your child the best," or "maximize your child's potential," they just need to provide a basic floor opportunity.
Do: Make all your requests based on your child's "unique needs" in order to "benefit from their education." This is the legally appropriate language to trigger the school's obligation to give you a written response to your request. Have specific evidence that the unique need exists and why your child would benefit.
Now I KnowNOW I KNOW that any request I make for special education must be based on my child's unique needs, in order to benefit from their educational program. In the least, if you start phrasing your requests like this: (1) the school cannot use the jalopy defense; and, (2) if you end up having to sue the school district, you have a clean request that will hold up in court a lot better. Set the stage to make yourself the finest looking Chevy you can!