The Case of the Promised Yardstick…

The district’s failure to complete a promised evaluation was the basis for the court’s conclusion that the district denied FAPE.  The opinion underscores the importance of evaluation data.  The district had promised to do an evaluation of the student’s need for assistive technology.  Due to a variety of circumstances, an entire school year elapsed before the evaluation was completed. On that basis alone, the court upheld the hearing officer’s determination that FAPE had been denied. Key Quotes:

But as the Hearing Officer rightly observed, “satisfaction of the student’s right to a FAPE requires an IEP based on data obtained through evaluations and progress monitoring.”

Having deprived itself, the Family, the Hearing Officer, and this Court of this promised yardstick, the District cannot maintain that it measured up. 

Evaluation data is the rudder that steers the ship in special education matters.  All of the ARDC’s decisions should be based on solid, relevant, accurate and timely observations and evaluations.  As this case shows us, failure to keep up with promises of an evaluation can be costly. It’s Downingtown Area School District v. G.W., decided by the federal court for the Eastern District of  Pennsylvania on October 8, 2020.  We found it on Special Ed Connection at 77 IDELR 155.