The Case Against Private Schools

Op-Ed: California makes it too hard for schools to shield kids from extreme heat

In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case that raised fundamental issues about school districts’ authority to address the social, economic and emotional health of every child in the classroom. The case involved school bus operators who were accused of discriminating against a special needs student by failing to provide a “free appropriate public education” to him.

For the first time, the Supreme Court considered the issue of individualized education plans (IEPs), which are considered necessary when students receive an individualized education program for a disability. In the lead up to the decision, the Supreme Court heard from Dr. Richard Kahn, the nation’s foremost expert on IEPs and the founder of the Institute for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (ISER).

Dr. Kahn argued that many disabled children were being wrongly denied the opportunity to receive a free appropriate public education. In his article, “The Case Against Private Schools,” in 2017, Dr. Kahn highlighted the key factors that could be used to assess whether a child received a good public education and were not met in a private school or school district and how a noncompliant IEP can be used to challenge private schools on an individual level:

“(1) When determining what is a ‘free appropriate public education’—a key element of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the law that applies to all students with disabilities in public schools—we need to know whether the child’s needs are met and what goals the child is working toward. An IEP must identify the student’s current and future educational and related services—specifically, the child’s current and future services that are necessary for him to achieve the ‘IEP Goals’ that are the objective of the IEP.

“(2) When determining the appropriateness of private school programs, the standard we use to determine whether an IEP is ‘appropriate’ is whether the private school setting satisfies the child’s

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