The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, 798 F.3d 1329 (10th Cir., 2015), to consider what level of educational benefit is required for a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Every child with a disability has a right under federal and state education law to receive a free appropriate public education from his/her local school district. What constitutes an "appropriate education" for a student with a disability, however, is the source of much litigation.
Courts have generally held that a school district need not maximize a student's potential. However, in considering what affirmative obligation a school district does have, different courts around the country have been applying different standards.
Some courts have held that an appropriate education is one designed to allow a student with a disability to achieve more than trivial advancement while other courts have held that an appropriate education must be reasonably calculated to result in meaningful or substantial educational benefit.
The Supreme Court is expected to chime in. The outcome of this case could significantly affect the landscape of IDEA litigation and, more importantly, have broad implications for the rights of students with disabilities.