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School districts must provide students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, "appropriately ambitious" progress, the Supreme Court said today in an 8-0 ruling.I do worry some over that "appropriately ambitious" progress; is that like "with all deliberate speed?"
The decision in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District could have far-reaching implications for the 6.5 million students with disabilities in the United States.
"It cannot be right that the IDEA generally contemplates grade-level advancement for children with disabilities who are fully integrated in the regular classroom, but is satisfied with barely more than de minimis progress for children who are not," read the opinion, signed by Chief Justice John Roberts.
The case drew a dozen friend-of-the-court briefs from advocates for students with disabilities who argued that it is time to increase rigor, expectations and accommodations for all.
"A standard more meaningful than just above trivial is the norm today," wrote the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.
Significantly, Judge Neil Gorsuch, currently in confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court's vacant ninth seat, has repeatedly ruled the other way on similar cases.
A little late, sir.
Gorsuch's opinions in eight out of ten cases involving students of disabilities all tended toward limiting the responsibilities of school districts — for example, if they leave school of their own accord out of frustration. IDEA's standard of a "free appropriate public education," reads Gorsuch's opinion in one of these cases, "is not an onerous one."
When questioned on his record, in light of this new ruling, during his hearing today by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, he said "I was wrong, Senator, because I was bound by circuit precedent, and I'm sorry."