To the Editor:
Every time I read something about the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“Best Evidence,” On Assignment, Sept. 28, 2005), I become nauseated.
My son receives special services from his school. It has been a nightmare, a horrible experience compounded by changes in law at all levels and conflicts between state and federal laws.
The Schaffer v. Weast case to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court brings it all home. Parents want to educate their children, and think they are protected, but they are not. Parents no longer know what is best for their children, because laws and teachers have been given the right to say.
How can laws be so ambiguous that they are left open to such a drastic range of interpretation?
Why so much paperwork? Why are students with disabilities still brushed off or magically cured?
In the discussion about special education problems, I’ve heard a lot about the schools, states, and teachers. But I hear nothing about the students. Aren’t they who we should be fighting for? We should put ourselves in their shoes. I would rather do paperwork, work cooperatively on an individualized education program, and educate a child than say I gave up on even one.
A version of this article appeared in the October 12, 2005 edition of Education Week as Ambiguity Leaves Its Mark on Special Education Law