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

By Ruth Colker | Go to book overview

11
California

California is an important state to investigate for many reasons. First, it probably has the most sophisticated system of hearing officer decisions in the United States. The decisions are word-searchable in a database. The hearing officers clearly receive significant training in writing opinions because all of the opinions follow a similar structure and contain the same boilerplate language about the legal rules that apply to IDEA matters. Second, California has a comparatively high rate of litigation so it is a rich source of hearing officer decisions.1 Third, California has a lot of students for whom English is the second language. The hearing officer decisions sometimes delineate these cases by noting that a foreign language interpreter was present at the hearing. Thus, these cases can provide a lens into how the special education system deals with students whose primary language is not English. Finally, California has a relatively high rate of cases brought by school districts, often when they contest the parents’ right to an independent educational evaluation. Because the district bears the burden of proof when it brings cases, these cases can lend insight into the impact of the burden of proof on outcome. A survey of the California decisions reflects a hearing officer structure that is heavily biased in favor of school districts, even when the district bears the burden of proof. Children whose parents require an interpreter to participate in these cases have a particularly difficult time prevailing.

-183-

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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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