IEP Team Members: Should We Replace the General Ed Teacher?

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My son is 11, his academic skills are at the 4-yr old level. He gets one hour a week of APE, but we do not have the APE teacher on his IEP team. A general classroom teacher is part of the team, but my son does not receive inclusion services.

Is it advisable to replace the general classroom teacher with the APE teacher who actually has contact with him during the school week? Does such a decision fall under federal or state mandates for special education?

You may not want to replace the general education teacher on your child’s IEP team, but there is no reason the APE (Adapted Physical Education) teacher cannot also be part of the team.  IDEA 2004 requires one regular education teacher as part of the team, but in no way restricts or limits the number of teachers.

As a parent, you have the right to invite other people to the meeting that have special knowledge and expertise about your child – his APE instructor. This is in the federal statute, IDEA 2004, 20 U.S.C. 1414 (d)(1)(B).

Appendix A to IDEA 1997 strongly encouraged input from all teachers. (Remember, IDEA also allows for alternative means to participate in meetings.)

Here’s what Appendix A to IDEA 1997 says:

If the child has more than one regular education teacher responsible for carrying out a portion of the IEP, the LEA may designate which teacher or teachers will serve as IEP team member(s), taking into account the best interest of the child.

In a situation in which not all of the child’s regular education teachers are members of the child’s IEP team, the LEA is strongly encouraged to seek input from the teachers who will not be attending.

Turn to Chapter 2 in your Wrightslaw: All About IEPs book – you will find what you need to know about IEP team members, input from teachers & service providers, and attendance.  You’ll also have reference to the legal resources to back you up.

I hope you will take advantage of the information and resources on the Physical Education page.

The slide presentation (video is no longer available) on this page has a wealth of information.

More Questions

When the IEP team meets to review your son’s IEP, you may want to consider these questions.

  • Why only 1 hour a week of APE?
  • Does this meet your son’s needs for motion, motor development, fundamental motor skills, etc.?
  • Is this what all the other kids get?

  1. I would also like to have any and all input from the child’s teachers. To me this would be an important issue to arrive at the best avenue for my child. Each teacher could have some meaningful information to help support him in any way necessary.

  2. You have a right to have anyone you identify as having “Special Knowledge” of your child. You can ‘Parentally” invite anyone including “Related Service providers” 20 USC 1401 (26) page 54 in WRIGHTSLAW Special Education Law 2nd Edition. While you can not force a school to present a related service provider such as a bus driver, YOU can invite that driver and the decision is up to you and the driver. The LEA can not block their attendance. Read 3f CFR 300.344 (a) I have had to fight this one as an advocate many times. The schools will not back down until you present this piece of legislation. I am actually fighting this as we speak for a client. It is not uncommon at all. Parents have a profound right to invite ANYONE they want even in states where a lay advocate who lacks a license to practice law has been found by the Supreme Court to be allowed to represent a parent under 34 CFR 300.321. Look up Winkleman and the other is Arons v New Jersey . But you better have the law in your hand or they wont back down.

  3. While the APE person should be there, my question would be if the general ed teacher is not adding any value, why not excuse him (or her). We have a general ed teacher in our IEP meetings but since the District no longer considers inclusion a viable prospect, she just sits in the back working on her laptop and never says anything.

    Excusing her is probably a better use of taxpayer money.

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