Endrew F.’s Unintended Consequences

Journal of Law & Education, Vol. 46, No. 4, Fall 2017

27 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2018

See all articles by Claire Raj

Claire Raj

University of South Carolina School of Law

Emily Suski

University of South Carolina School of Law

Date Written: August 1, 2017

Abstract

More than thirty years ago, the Supreme Court held that students with disabilities have a substantive right to a “free appropriate public education,” or “FAPE,” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). At that time, however, it declined to set a standard for evaluating that right. This year, the Court re-visited the issue in Endrew F. ex rel. Joseph F. v. Douglas County School District and finally and unanimously set that standard. The Court determined that a child’s individualized education program (IEP), the document that sets out a child’s special education services, must be “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” Although many disability rights advocates praised the Court’s holding as finally putting teeth in the substantive meaning of FAPE, the Endrew F. standard presents steep pitfalls for low-income parents who seek to assert their child’s rights under the IDEA. When read together with the Court’s previous decisions in Arlington Central School District Board of Education v. Murphy and Schaffer ex rel. Schaffer v. Weast, Endrew F.’s new FAPE standard further entrenches the extant disparities between the special education programs of low-income children with disabilities and those who come from higher income families.

Suggested Citation

Raj, Claire and Suski, Emily, Endrew F.’s Unintended Consequences (August 1, 2017). Journal of Law & Education, Vol. 46, No. 4, Fall 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3117020

Claire Raj (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina School of Law ( email )

701 Main Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States
8037771391 (Phone)
8037771391 (Fax)

Emily Suski

University of South Carolina School of Law ( email )

1525 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

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