Academic journal article Fordham Urban Law Journal

A Poor Idea: Statute of Limitations Decisions Cement Second-Class Remedial Scheme for Low-Income Children with Disabilities in the Third Circuit

Academic journal article Fordham Urban Law Journal

A Poor Idea: Statute of Limitations Decisions Cement Second-Class Remedial Scheme for Low-Income Children with Disabilities in the Third Circuit

Article excerpt

Introduction  I. Identifying the Affected Population: The Relationship     Between Socioeconomic Status, Disability, and Educational     Outcomes       A. The Links Between Socioeconomic Status, Child          Development, and Educational Outcomes          B. The Link Between Socioeconomic Status and          Disability          C. The Link between Disability and Educational          Outcomes          D. The Intersection of Socioeconomic Status, Disability,          and Educational Outcomes  II. Overview of the IDEA'S Remedial Scheme       A. Tuition Reimbursement       B. Compensatory Education  III. Application of the IDEA 2004's Statute of Limitations to      Compensatory Education Claims in the Third Circuit        A. Timelines for Filing Special Education Claims Pre-IDEA 2004        B. Courts' Misapplication and Overly Restrictive           Interpretation of the IDEA 2004's Statute of           Limitations and its Exceptions in Compensatory           Education Matters           1. Application of the IDEA 2004's Statute of              Limitations              a. Courts Improperly Restrict Adjudication of                 Compensatory Education Claims to Two Years                 Prior to the Date the Complaint Was Filed              b. Courts Improperly Restrict Adjudication of                 Compensatory Education Claims to Two Years                 Prior to the KOSHK Date Regardless of the                 Scope of the Claim           2. Application of Equitable Tolling to the IDEA              following the 2004 Amendments           3. The Third Circuit's Interpretation of Exceptions to              the Statute of Limitations  IV. Application of Third Circuit Courts' Opinions to Case     Studies        A. The Case of Aaron        B. The Case of Asia   V. Remedying Inequalities in the Remedial Scheme  Conclusion 

Introduction

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, or the Act), enacted in 1975 as the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA), (1) was widely praised as landmark civil rights legislation providing equality in educational opportunity to children with disabilities. (2) For decades preceding the law's passage, school districts routinely denied children with disabilities an adequate education. (3) They provided no educational assistance or accommodations to children in school, "warehoused" children in institutions thereby segregating them from their non-disabled peers, or excluded them from school altogether. (4)

In the years following the U.S. Supreme Court's historic 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education? individual and class action lawsuits across the country challenged the exclusion of students with disabilities from school on equal protection and other grounds. (6) Two seminal federal district court decisions, Pennsylvania Ass'n for Retarded Children v. Pennsylvania and Mills v. Board of Education, significantly transformed the education landscape by granting children with disabilities access to an adequate, publicly supported education, and by instituting due process and procedural protections for parents and children. (7) Plaintiffs in these cases successfully argued for extension of the Supreme Court's reasoning in Brown to school-age children with disabilities who were denied proper educational programs and services, specifically that "separate but equal" is "inherently unequal" and that education "is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms." (8) The end result was the promulgation of the Education of All Handicapped Children Act, now known as the IDEA.

Nearly forty years later, tremendous progress has been made both in educating children with disabilities and in safeguarding their right to an appropriate education. (9) Yet, despite the myriad of benefits stemming from its aim to create equality in educational opportunity for children with disabilities, the IDEA has inadvertently advanced inequality on the ground of socioeconomic status. …

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