Am I the only person who was taken aback by the Court’s decision to grant the parents reimbursement for their private placement (even though the child had not received special education in the public school) for several reasons, including the fact that the legal process takes too long! Oh my. Where is the justice for all?

The timing:

Parents sought a due process hearing in 2003.
The District Court issued its ruling in 2005.
And here we are in 2009, with the Supremes–almost a year after the student graduated from high school!

A ridiculous scenario, of course. We all know that. See lots of good work by Common Good on these issues.

The due process review is ponderous, says the Court, so it decides to ‘avoid detriment to the child’s education’ and grant the parents reimbursement.

We all know the process is onerous for everyone. So what to do? Change the process. Get rid of it. Streamline it. Do something systemic….

We should not put one hand on the scale for one side (parents) but not the other (our public schools). Schools did not create this flawed and out-of-control due process system. Congress did, more than 30 years ago. The courts continue it, adding layers upon layers.

We need to change the process–not use it to create further injustice.

About Miriam

Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, JD, MA—an expert in public education, focused on special education law— is a lawyer, author, speaker, consultant, and reformer. For more than 35 years, Miriam worked with educators, parents, policy makers, and citizens to translate complex legalese into plain English and focus on good practices for children. Now, she focuses her passion on reforming special education, with her new book, Special Education 2.0—Breaking Taboos to Build a NEW Education Law. Presentations include those at the AASA Conference, Orange County (CA), Boston College (MA), CADRE (OR), and the Fordham Institute (DC). Her writings have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Education Week, Education Next, Hoover Digest, The University of Chicago Law Review on line,, and The Atlantic Monthly on line.

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