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School District Services: What is Considered “Best in Class”?

12/20/12
by Pam Wright

School districts track students that are classified with a disability. The committee tries to determine whether services are provided in district or better served out of district. Are there measurements that can be used to compare what is considered “best in class”?

This is a new one. I have never heard that term used in this context.

I can tell you that kids with disabilities are NOT entitled to the “best education” nor to an education that “maximizes potential.”

We advise parents to ban the word “best” from their vocabulary, especially when negotiating with the school for services.

We’ve written a number of articles about “banning the word best.”  I’ve copied some links below.

Cadillac-Chevrolet Disputes

Sometimes these disagreements about educational benefit are called “Cadillac-Chevrolet” disputes.

Remember: In Rowley, the Supreme Court ruled that children are entitled to an appropriate education (i.e. a Chevrolet), not the best education money can buy (a Cadillac).

One Ohio Hearing Officer wrote that the child was entitled to a Chevrolet—and the school district gave him a lemon! (Fayetteville-Perry Sch. District, 20 IDELR 1289 (SEA OH 1994))

Your Child’s IEP: Pratical and Legal Guidance for Parents

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/iep_guidance.html

Courts have held that while children are not entitled to a Cadillac, they are entitled to a serviceable Chevrolet that runs. Courts have also held that if a child isn’t learning, the school provided a lemon and the school should reimburse.

Individualized Instruction is Not One-Size-Fits-All

http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?p=273

Banning the word Best

Loving Parents Want What’s “Best” for Child.  Your child is not entitled to the “best” education money can buy. The school only needs to provide an “appropriate” program.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/fape.notbest.htm

Who is Responsible for Providing FAPE?  Your child is entitled to a free appropriate education, but not an education that “maximizes” his potential.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/fape.sped.failed.htm

Educational Benefit – How Much is Enough?

What makes a program appropriate:  Roadmap to FAPE

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/fape.roadmap.rhinebeck.htm

Comments Please?

Anyone else familiar with the term “best in class” used in this context?  Please don’t hesitate to comment below.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cindy 01/12/13 at 3:13 pm

    Hi All,
    I am a School Psychologist in the public school system and have never heard of the term “best in class”. By law, schools are only required to provide students, regardless of their disability, a Free and Appropriate Public Education. The key word being “Appropriate”. This means if the Chevrolet (to reference a previous entry) can appropriately meet a child’s needs, then that’s all a district is required to provide. As much as a parent wants what’s best for their child, public schools can’t bare this responsibility and the best would have to be provided by the parents.

  • 2 Hadassah 01/02/13 at 3:28 pm

    A few years ago, after I provided a ten day notice that we were considering placement in a private school, a principal actually told me that I was expecting “a Cadillac instead of a Chevrolet.” I laughed inside because I knew that she’d been recently taught that phrase by the district’s legal team.

    I kindly replied, “No, we just want the student to receive FAPE.” And if it can be provided on your campus, we will be delighted to keep the student enrolled.