FAPE and class size…

In Education, Education advocacy, School reform, Special Education on Thursday, 27 December 2012 at 09:26

wow, 6-8 kids in a resource class sounds like a great idea and it is the law, but…what to do when the law and politics don’t mesh???  so the law says we must offer smaller classes, and i agree that some kids really, really need this type of individualized instruction only able to be taught in much smaller classes.  there are general education and team-taught classes with upwards of 40 kids in a class and that does not allow for the type of instruction some of our kids need.  so, glad to see the courts upheld smaller class sizes to adhere to FAPE, but i have to wonder exactly how that is going to happen when all i see in my district is cut, cut, cut.  cutting programs, closing schools, firing teachers…so i have to wonder how school districts are going to follow FAPE without teachers to teach the classes and, in some cases, rooms to hold them in.  guess we shall see.  maybe this, along with other recent events, will send the message that we need to be throwing money at education and early intervention services.  or, maybe there will need to be law suits to get the districts to realize where their money needs to go.  all i know now is that teachers are completely over-worked and under-paid (my district’s employees-that would include me-have not had a raise or any increase in SIX years) and programs and schools in my district are closing.  not sure how they are going to provide FAPE with a cap of 6-8 kids.  not unless we have a paradigm shift and decide education in the u.s. needs a complete overhaul and it does NOT start with the teachers.  we need to reorganize our priorities and make EDUCATION primary…not testing, numbers, pay-for-performance.  true education by any means necessary, i.e. NOT making up new standards every few years, NOT rating everything as it relates to test scores, and NOT blaming teachers.  i think after newtown we all saw where teachers’ hearts lie…with their students.  

Special Ed: FAPE Required a Smaller General Education Setting (6-8 Students)

NOVEMBER 27, 2012


Nov. 26 (2012): The United States Supreme Court recently denied the Petition for Writ of Certiorari filed by the Solana Beach School District in the case of KA.D. v. NEST (Case Nos. 10-56320, 10-56373). This case is significant because it effectively upheld the lower courts’ decisions that FAPE required an offer of a smaller general education class.

A summary of the underlying facts is that the student, diagnosed with autism, was placed by her parents at Hanna Fenichel (a small private preschool for typically developing peers), because the district failed to offer a small group setting with typical peers at a public school. The district’s offer consisted of a bifurcated placement, which divided the student’s school day between a special day class and a general education class. The parents’ position was that their daughter had difficulties in larger educational settings, but that their daughter was able to participate in a general educational setting with a 1:1 aide as long as the setting had a small student teacher ratio. There was no dispute that the student benefitted from her instruction at Hanna Fenichel. Parents sought reimbursement for the private placement.

At Hanna Fenichel, the classes consisted of 6 – 8 students. The District’s offer of placement would have required for the student to interact with about 42 children. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the trial court’s decision that the district’s offer of placement failed to provide FAPE. The district then filed a Petition in an effort to have the U.S. Supreme Court overturn the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although the actual opinion is not published,* parents should be aware of the reasoning of the lower courts in case they have similar claims or concerns with respect to their child.

For more information:

Ninth Circuit Opinion

U.S. District Court, S.D. California

Attorney for parents: Michael T. Kirkpatrick, Public Citizen Litigation Group, 1600 20th Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20009, 202-588-1000.

*Opinons that are not “published” do not serve as precedent and do not have the same binding effect as cases that are published. However, the reasoning of the courts may be beneficial to parties asserting similar claims and may be cited under certain circumstances.

Retrieved from: http://www.examiner.com/article/special-ed-fape-required-a-smaller-general-education-setting-6-8-students


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