“Minimum” vs. “Maximum” FAPE

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A sped director told me some states were “minimum” FAPE states and some were “maximum” FAPE states.  Where can I find this concept in writing?

There is no such concept as a minimum and maximum FAPE state.

IDEA says all children with disabilities and who are eligible for an IEP are entitled to FAPE.

You will find FAPE defined in IDEA at 20 U. S. C. § 1401(3)(A)(9) and in the Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. § 300.17.

(See Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, pages 51 and 196).

The US Supreme Court in the Rowley case said that FAPE is not the same as “best.”

No state is required to provide what is best for a child,  nor to maximize educational performance.

At one point, Massachusetts had a higher state standard, but that has not been upheld by the Courts and I believe that their standard now tracks that in IDEA.

Ask the sped director to provide you with the specific state statute or regulation citation that she is referring to.

Once you have that regulation, compare it to the definition of FAPE in IDEA and the federal regulations.

I bet you will find that it is identical.  Word for word!

  1. But appropriate means that my twice-exeptional child gets treated as the gifted student that she is – with supports for her learning disabilities in her honors and advanced placement classes because that’s FAPE!

    And if that means the district needs to provide her with a laptop and other assistive technology, then that’s what they must do. Not the best, only appropriate. Dell laptops work just fine – she doesn’t need a fancy one. <<>>

  2. The word I concentrate on is “appropriate”. Don’t try to figure out what is “best” or not. An appropriate education is based on an appropriately developed IEP.

    That is why it is so important for parents to be sure the child’s present levels are clearly defined, both at the meeting and in the IEP. That will in turn define the child’s needs. Now you can set goals based on those needs. From the goals come the needed services. It gives you a great question if the services are not what you are looking for; “What special education or related service will help my child meet that goal?” Document as you go through the development of levels and needs. Then you can go back and be sure the needs are reallly being met.

    It sounds complicated but if you take it step by step, it really helps.

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