Legal IEP Meeting? Predetermined Goals?

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I’m a teacher and have questions about what happened at the IEP Annual Review Meeting. No math or reading goals were presented. The school told the parents they would send a copy the next day for the parents to review. No discussion or input from the sped teacher, the general ed teacher, or the parents.

Was this a legal meeting? Did the school (not the team) predetermine the goals?

It’s hard to view the meeting as a “legal meeting” if the parents, regular ed teacher, and special ed teacher were not part of the group that developed the IEP goals and objectives.

The IEP is intended to be a collaborative meeting with team members who represent different perspectives on the child and his needs.  During the IEP meeting, the team members should discuss:

  • the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance
  • measurable IEP goals designed to meet the child’s unique needs
  • special education services, related services, and supplementary aids and services the school will provide
  • how the child’s progress will be measured and how the parents will be advised of progress
  • the child’s placement (where the child will receive services)

From your description, this process did not happen.

Someone prepared an IEP without consulting with the parent, regular ed teacher, special ed teacher – sounds like the “draft IEP” that was really the final IEP.

Unacceptable Draft IEPs

For years, the US Department of Education has made clear that these draft IEPs are not acceptable.

“With respect to a draft IEP, we encourage public agency staff to come to an IEP Team meeting prepared to discuss evaluation findings and preliminary recommendations. Likewise, parents have the right to bring questions, concerns, and preliminary recommendations to the IEP Team meeting as part of a full discussion of the child’s needs and the services to be provided to meet those needs.”

These sections are text pasted from the Commentary to the Regulations.

“We do not encourage public agencies to prepare a draft IEP prior to the IEP Team meeting, particularly if doing so would inhibit a full discussion of the child’s needs.  However, if a public agency develops a draft IEP prior to the IEP Team meeting, the agency should make it clear to the parents at the outset of the meeting that the services proposed by the agency are preliminary recommendations for review and discussion with the parents.”

“The public agency also should provide the parents with a copy of its draft proposals, if the agency has developed them, prior to he IEP Team meeting so as to give the parents an opportunity to review the recommendations of the public agency prior to the IEP Team meeting, and be better able to engage in a full discussion of the proposals for the IEP.”

“It is not permissible for an agency to have the final IEP completed before an IEP Team meeting begins.” (FR 46678)

Depending on your state, the parent(s) may be in a position to prevail if they filed a complaint with the State Department of Education.

Read more in Can the IEP Team Prepare a “Draft IEP” Before the IEP Meeting?

  1. This happens all the time here ( grants pass Oregon) when I question it and ask to see policy I was literally shushed and sped director walked out of unfinished IEP meeting in a huff I’m at my wits end my son is not getting FAPE but the state is policing the state so nothing happens when yuh complain

  2. We were sent a “draft ” present level of performance for math and was told that our feedback was welcomed. We wrote our “draft” and sent it back to the school. When we arrived to our meeting we were told that the PLP could only be the schools perspective and our draft/concerns were not discussed. Is this legal?

  3. Can using a pre-written “draft” IEP be the basis of a complaint if written prior to parent approval in TX? Also, how much do each committee members need to participate? For example, does the district representative need to provide input to (and approve) the recommendations of the speech teacher?

    • Probably not, if it is marked “draft”, and the parents & others are allowed to give input, & additions. Decisions are to be made by consensus of the team, not by vote or approval of one person. I work for the TX parent training & information center. We can provide you support, & resources.

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