in the IEP process? Surprisingly, asking the school to provide "the best" for their child.
Yes, all parents want the best for their child, and the
other parts of the law consider "the best interest of the child," but when it comes to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) the school is only required
to provide the special education supports and services that your child needs in order to make effective progress.
Courts try to explain this distinction with the Cadillac vs. Chevrolet analogy. The law requires that each child receive an education comparable to a "serviceable" Chevrolet, not a luxurious Cadillac. As the U.S. Supreme Court explained in Rowley, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires a "basic floor of opportunity," not the best possible education.
The takeaway: don't ask the school to provide what's best for your child (the Cadillac), but frame all special education requests in terms of your child's needs (the Chevrolet).
If you have questions about special education law, contact the Boston area law office of Lillian Wong today.