My idea is to explore how other countries around the world are dealing with education and special education issues. I’d like to see different successful schools, wherever they may be, up close. I’d like to sit down with directors and administrators. I’d like to speak with government officials who keep a pulse on the education affairs of their communities. I want to learn more about education around the globe through speaking with locals, seeing the schools, and shaking hands with the people responsible for implementing the systems. If you know of any outstanding (public or private) special needs schools in other parts of the world, I’d love to hear about them. If you know any education experts from around the world, I’d love to be introduced to them. Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts or ideas. Read more about my mission.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Section 504 Revisited
In this case, Holmes-Ramsey vs. District of Columbia (D.C. District Court, November 2, 2010), the court said that in order to state a claim under Section 504, the parent has to show that the child was discriminated against solely because of her handicap. BUT, in order to make out a Section 504 claim in the context of an IDEA case, the parent must show that the district acted in bad faith or with gross misjudgement. It's not exactly clear what would make it an "IDEA case" per se. But in such a case, it is not enough just to show a failure to provide a FAPE under the IDEA. You need to show something more than that to make out your 504 claim. One might say: "If anyone who has protections under the IDEA has the same protections under Section 504, it should be enough just to show a violation of IDEA to make out your 504 claim." Unfortunately it doesn't work that way. The correct way to think about it is that the IDEA is made up in part by Section 504 and in part by other stuff, and showing a violation of "FAPE," for example, which is guaranteed under the IDEA but not under Section 504, is not necessarily a violation of Section 504. Section 504 is a discrimination statute intended to protect individuals with disabilities being treated differently because of their disabilities. But it doesn't say anything about ensuring that a child with a disability will get an educational program that is specially designed to meet his/her unique educational needs -- that's the IDEA's job.