The Rowley Standard – Part Two

THE MAJORITY OPINION CONTRADICTS ITSELF, THE LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTE, AND THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY…
Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson School District v. Rowley
JUSTICE WHITE, with whom JUSTICE BRENNAN and JUSTICE MARSHALL join, dissenting.

The passage of time has not yet vindicated the dissent authored by Justice White and joined by Justice Brennan and Justice Marshall in Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson School District v. Rowley. For a quick primer on the facts surrounding the decision in Rowley, please refer to my previous article. In this post I will look at the reasoning behind Justice White’s dissent in Rowley and Congress’ re-authorization of the IDEA in 1997 which was the catalyst for a number of cases that were brought forward re-examining the Rowley standard.

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The Rowley Standard – Part One

The IDEA Guarantee of a Free Appropriate Public Education
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), children that qualify for special education are guaranteed a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The Free, Public, and Education aspects of this acronym are generally not an issue. However, defining “appropriate” is at the core of most disputes between parents of a child with special needs and that child’s school district. If a special education director has ever reminded you that your child need only receive “some educational benefit” or that the school need only provide a “floor of opportunity” or that your child was not entitled to a “Cadillac Education” than you and your child have encountered the Rowley Standard.

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