Without Data All We Have Are Assumptions: Revisiting the Meaning of a Free Appropriate Public Education

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August 2012Without Data All We Have Are Assumptions

About This Article

Thirty years ago, the United States Supreme Court handed down its first major decision interpreting the nation’s special education law, now commonly called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, the U.S. Supreme Court interpreted the IDEA requirement that schools provide a “free and appropriate public education” (FAPE) to students with disabilities to mean that schools should provide services necessary for children “to benefit” from instruction. However, the Court limited the FAPE standard, stating that “the intent of the Act was more to open the door of public education … than to guarantee any particular level of education once inside.”  In the years since the Rowley decision, the meaning of FAPE has continued to evolve, and this article examines that evolution.

This article revisits the significance of past decisions in the case of Board of Education v. Rowley, which can help reframe current policies in the U.S. or clear the way for new ones. It also considers how complex issues of accountability require educators to be more diligent, and parents to be more vigilant, in using student-centered data and scientifically-based instructional practices when designing and assessing an appropriately individualized public education. The article then offers principles derived from revisiting this landmark case as a means for restoring the promise of the individualized education program (IEP) as the tool for demonstrating the effectiveness of specially designed instruction.

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General Information

Read the article: http://nichcy.org/wp-content/uploads/docs/journals/Crockett_Yell_2008.pdf

Full APA Citation:

Crockett, J. B., & Yell, M. L. (2008). Without data all we have are assumptions: Revisiting the meaning of a free appropriate public education.  Journal of Law & Education, 37(3), 381-392.

Authors:  Crockett, Jean B., & Yell, Mitchell L.

Title:    Without Data All We Have Are Assumptions: Revisiting the Meaning of a Free Appropriate Public Education.

Year:   2008

Journal:  Journal of Law & Education

Publisher:  Jefferson Law Book Company and the University of South Carolina School of Law

Volume:  37

Issue:   3

Pages:  381-392

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Is this article copyrighted?

Yes. NICHCY expresses its appreciation to the Journal of Law & Education for its generous permission to post this article on our website.

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