Special Education

“IDEA Fairness Restoration Act”

By Christina A. Samuels — May 05, 2008 1 min read

The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and other like-minded organizations want you to spend May 6 calling your congressional representatives on behalf of a bill that seeks to award expert witness fees to parents who win due-process disputes against schools.

H.R. 4188 seeks to undo a policy created by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in Arlington V. Murphy. In that case, the court decided that parents who prevail in special education cases are not entitled to be reimbursed for the fees they pay to experts, such as educational consultants.

(Education Week covered the case extensively, as you can find here and here. I wrote a profile of Marilyn Arons, a parents’ advocate at the center of the case, in a story here.)

COPAA’s take on the issue is that “few parents can afford the thousands of dollars needed to pay qualified medical, educational, and technical experts. While parents must hire expert witnesses to testify, school districts can use therapists, psychologists, and other expert witnesses on their own payroll, or hire outside experts with taxpayer dollars.”

Charles Fox’s Special Education Law Blog has more information about the May 6 call to action.

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