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1. IEP Goals: How Many Goals are Allowed? Can you Help us Write a Vision Statement?
"What is the maximum number of goals that can be in a child's IEP? I was told that our son can only have 4 IEP goals under the new plan (he has 10 goals in his present IEP). Is this true?"
"Also, the IEP team wanted us to write a '5 year vision statement' for our son. We'll be lucky if we can come up with a one year vision statement! Is this a new part of the law? How do you write a vision statement? We don't know where to start."
What do you think? Is there a limit on the number of goals in a child's IEP? If so, what's the limit? 4 goals? 10 goals? And what is this vision statement?
2. New Decision from 4th Circuit About Notice & Limitations
On Wednesday, February 21, 2001, Pete prevailed in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
With no evidence being heard, a North Carolina family lost at due process, lost at review, and filed suit in the U. S. District Court. After the case was filed, Pete was retained. The U. S. District Court upheld the earlier dismissals by the Administrative Law Judge and Review Officer.
The issue was the 60 day statute of limitations in North Carolina to request a special education due process hearing following an IEP meeting or other significant event. Pete argued that the 60 day timeline was void and against public policy, and that the parents did not have proper NOTICE of the running of the statute of limitations.
The U. S. Department of Justice participated in the case on behalf of Pete's clients. The N.C. Office of the Attorney General participated on behalf of the school districts.
Pete won a favorable decision, but for the wrong reasons. Pete wanted statute declared void. Instead, the court upheld the NC statute, but held that the parents did not have notice of the running of the statute. The case was remanded back to the District Court.
North Carolina parents: Read this case carefully. If you do not request a due process hearing within 60 days, you may lose your rights. In law, when parties have rights, but "sleep on them" (let them pass), they lose their rights. Courts rarely step in to protect individuals who fail to assert their rights. You must ensure that you provide the school district with the mandated 60 day notice.
Pete's case, M.E. v. Buncombe County, was merged with another case, CM v. Henderson County which was also an appeal of an adverse ruling on the 60 day statute of limitations.
3. Ohio District Appeals James case to U.S. Supreme Court
Pete may be headed back to the U. S. Supreme Court.
Several months ago you learned about the James family from Ohio. Without hearing evidence, and based on motions, Pete lost at due process, lost at review, appealed to the U. S. District Court, and lost again. On appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, he prevailed.
Upper Arlington School District asked the entire panel of judges to reconsider the case. The judges declined. Upper Arlington has filed a petition for certiorari with the U. S. Supreme Court. We are waiting to hear if the high court agrees to hear the case.
The decisions in Joseph James v. Upper Arlington Sch. District are at:
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5. "Issues in Special Education Litigation"
On February 5, we advised subscribers about "Issues in Special Education Litigation," the new issue of Perspectives. The issue includes:
"Theme Editor's Summary" by Peter W. D. Wright, Esq.
"Special Education Law, IEPs, and Tactics Issues" by Peter W. D. Wright, Esq.
"How to Prepare a Psychoeducational Evaluation Report and Testimony As An Expert Witness" by Margaret Kay, Ed.D, NCSP, DABPS
"Lay Advocacy in Special Education" by Brice L. Palmer
"Dyslexia and the Aptitude Achievement Discrepancy Controversy" by G.Emerson Dickman III,Esq.
"Special Education Litigation" by Sonja D. Kerr, Esq.
You can order "Issues
in Special Education Litigation" for $3.00, with