“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin

For the second semester of my passion blog I will focus on the 10 Supreme Court cases that have been highlighted as “must see” for this year’s docket, which is great because we need 10 posts! Since these cases are so recent most, if not all, will not have a final verdict, so these posts will simply act as an area for commentary on the topic presented. The cases are as follows: Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, Lee v. Tam, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., Los Angeles County v. Mendez, Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Pauley, Murr v. Wisconsin, Hernández v. Mesa, TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods, Turner v. United States and Overton v. United States, and Microsoft v. Baker. Today we will discuss the first: Endrew F. v. Douglas Country School District.

This case revolves around the idea of public education, especially when educating children with disabilities, specifically autism. Endrew F. is an autistic fifth grader who was sent to a private school because his parents believed that the public education offered to him was insufficient and did not meet his needs. Endrew’s parents thus sued the school district for reimbursement of the tuition of Endrew’s private school on the grounds that the public school had failed to provide their son a proper education and were forced to look elsewhere. They did this under the (IDEA)—the Individuals with Disabilities Act. The case has been rejected before based on (FAPE)—the “free appropriate public education” requirement dictated by IDEA because the court decided that Endrew’s public school did provide him adequate education. Thus the question posed by this case is “what is the level of educational benefit that school districts must confer on children with disabilities to provide them with the free appropriate public education guaranteed by the individuals with disabilities education act?”

It appears that this case exhibits a greater “gray” area of interpretation than most cases because it is hard to standardize the education requirements and needs of children. There appears to be no one clear answer because, as cliché as it sounds, all students learn differently and it is hard to prove whether or not they are learning enough and learning properly. With this case, there also may be an issue of whether parents are trying to send their child to a better school, even if their public school offers a great education for free, by claiming that their choice of location for their child’s education was out of necessity, not choice.

Thus I feel as though they may make a very general conclusion on the ruling, so that there can be some room for personalization when discussing these cases because that is the only way to appease both sides of the argument.







2 thoughts on ““Ed(you)cation”

  1. I certainly agree with you that this case has a lot of gray areas regarding what an adequate education means for an individual. I think the case being a student with a disability makes it even harder because my senior year of high school, I worked throughout the entire year with the special needs students, helping them read, write, and do everyday educational activities. The teachers made it seem like the kids could understand and perform, but they pick up that we help them a lot and they begin to take advantage of that so they finish their assignments in order to take their breaks and play their games. This can add a whole other layer of grayness when trying to figure out if the education provided was good enough for the students. I love Supreme Court cases and I look forward to reading the other 9 posts on your blog.

    Nice work!

  2. I really like how you moved from the historical perspective last semester to the current view now, should be really interesting! I guess I never really realized it until now, buy my school district has a very comprehensive and advanced special education program, which I suppose means I’ve been spoiled in terms of my personal relation to this issue. I agree with you in that it does all get kind of hazy and unclear. The parent’s of Endrew might now view the public education as adequate, but adequate is so hard to define and the state might consider it good enough. Obviously it is tough to satisfy the needs of everyone, as every parent wants the best for their child. The outcome of this case should be interesting, but I am slightly concerned about the precedent it may set. Great job though, this was a very interesting post!

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