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Saturday, June 23, 2018

CA Due Process: Students Prevail Less Than 20% of the Time

In The Politics of Autism, I write about litigation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. School districts prevail in most due-process hearings.  Here are some reasons:
School districts have built-in expert witnesses in the form of teachers and staff.  They also have full access to all relevant information about a proposed placement, and often deny parents access to those programs in advance of hearings. When parents’ experts can observe children in class, districts can limit their observations.   More important, parents have to foot the bill for their experts because of a 2006 Supreme Court decision that IDEA does not authorize reimbursement of witness fees. “While authorizing the award of reasonable attorney's fees, the Act contains detailed provisions that are designed to ensure that such awards are indeed reasonable,” Justice Alito wrote for the majority. “The absence of any comparable provisions relating to expert fees strongly suggests that recovery of expert fees is not authorized.” It goes without saying that this decision disadvantages all parents, and especially those with modest incomes. 
California OAH ( Office Of Administrative Hearing ) Special Education statistics 
Percent of cases when student prevailed :

Year 2017 : 18 %
Year 2016 : 12 %
Year 2015 : 13 %
Year 2014 : 15 %
Year 2013 : 11 %
Year 2012 : 14 %
Year 2011 : 14 %
Year 2010 : 10 %
Year 2009 : 15 %