Friday, April 25, 2014
Mark Weber's new article, In Defense of IDEA Due Process, is now available here on ssrn. The abstract indicates:
Due Process hearing rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are under attack. A major professional group and several academic commentators charge that the hearings system advantages middle class parents, that it is expensive, that it is futile, and that it is unmanageable. Some critics would abandon individual rights to a hearing and review in favor of bureaucratic enforcement or administrative mechanisms that do not include the right to an individual hearing before a neutral decision maker.
This Article defends the right to a due process hearing. It contends that some criticisms of hearing rights are simply erroneous, and that others are overstated. The system is generally fair to the various classes of parents, even if some parents are better able than others to use it effectively. Costs are remarkably low given the number of children receiving special education, and hearings and hearing requests have been in decline for years. Far from being futile, the due process hearing system is one in which parents win a significant percentage of cases. And far from being out of control, hearings are generally being managed effectively. The system could be rendered still more efficient with a few modest reforms of the special education statute and its interpretation.
The call for minimizing IDEA process has been around for a while, but I suspect it will only gain more steam in coming years, as it fits "nicely" with the overarching theme of flexibility and deregulation that has driven charter school and voucher growth. Whatever one thinks of charter schools and vouchers, Mark offers the rationale for why the current rules in IDEA work.