In Defense of IDEA Due Process
Mark C. Weber
DePaul University College of Law
April 16, 2014
29 Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution 495 (2014)
Due Process hearing rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are under attack. A major professional group and several academic commentators charge that the hearings system advantages middle class parents, that it is expensive, that it is futile, and that it is unmanageable. Some critics would abandon individual rights to a hearing and review in favor of bureaucratic enforcement or administrative mechanisms that do not include the right to an individual hearing before a neutral decision maker.
This Article defends the right to a due process hearing. It contends that some criticisms of hearing rights are simply erroneous, and that others are overstated. The system is generally fair to the various classes of parents, even if some parents are better able than others to use it effectively. Costs are remarkably low given the number of children receiving special education, and hearings and hearing requests have been in decline for years. Far from being futile, the due process hearing system is one in which parents win a significant percentage of cases. And far from being out of control, hearings are generally being managed effectively. The system could be rendered still more efficient with a few modest reforms of the special education statute and its interpretation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 30
Keywords: special education, education, due process, dispute resoultion, disability, civil rights, private enforcement, disability discrimination
JEL Classification: I20, I28, J71, K41, K30
Date posted: April 18, 2014 ; Last revised: September 12, 2014