Disabled Education: A Critical Analysis of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

By Ruth Colker | Go to book overview

4
Michael Panico

Michael Panico began kindergarten in the fall of 1975 at the Memorial School in Burlington, Massachusetts, shortly after Congress adopted the EAHCA.1 After three years of Michael’s foundering in school and not receiving an educational plan that was likely to help him make adequate progress, his parents decided to send him to private school and seek reimbursement from the school district for their educational expenses. Although they eventually reached a favorable settlement with the school district, Michael’s case reflects the sloppy way in which many school districts implemented the EAHCA in the early days of enforcement.

The case also shows the strain imposed on families as they seek to obtain an education for their child. Michael’s parents initially paid for local counsel but soon found those expenses out of their reach. Like Amy Rowley’s parents, Michael’s parents were fortunate to receive the assistance of outstanding pro bono legal counsel. And, although theirs was a family of modest means, they were also fortunate to receive enough scholarship assistance to make it possible for Michael to attend private school while this litigation proceeded. Most parents cannot afford to pursue Michael parents’ legal strategy—paying for their child to attend private school and then seeking reimbursement— because they do not have the funds for private school.

Michael struggled in school from the outset. Using Title I funds, the school provided him with remedial reading assistance in grades one and

-65-

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Disabled Education: A Critical Analysis of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • 1- Introduction 1
  • 2- The Education for All Handicapped Children Act- Historical Evolution 17
  • 3- Amy Rowley 45
  • 4- Michael Panico 65
  • 5- Post-1975 Amendments 81
  • 6- Brian Schaffer 109
  • 7- Joseph Murphy 125
  • 8- Ohio 137
  • 9- Florida 153
  • 10- New Jersey 169
  • 11- California 183
  • 12- District of Columbia 207
  • 13- The Learning Disability Mess 217
  • 14- A New Beginning 239
  • Notes 247
  • Index 277
  • About the Author 281
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