Law & Courts

Milwaukee Judge Orders Compensatory Special Education

By Christina A. Samuels — June 30, 2009 1 min read
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I’m a little late on this story, which was in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal last week: A judge has ordered the district to search for students who didn’t get the special education services they were entitled to between 2000 and 2005 and figure out some way to “make that up to them.”

[Judge Aaron Goodstein] said students during that five-year period were entitled to get a determination by a team of special education professionals on what educational help they should get now to make up for the failings of the system at that time. There was no discussion in his lengthy opinion about offering money, but even those who have graduated high school and are doing other things now might be entitled to compensatory education. Goodstein strongly criticized [Milwaukee Public Schools]. He said that while the record showed MPS was paying more attention to compensatory education, "the evidence demonstrates that MPS has a long way to go."

Disability Rights Wisconsin, an advocacy organization, sued the district in 2001, leading to this result. The Journal-Sentinel is urging the district to address the matter quickly, or it’ll end up costing even more money.

I just wonder how much it will cost to find these former students—and can they ever really be made whole?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.