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FIGHTING FOR FAPE -- AND WINNING. In May of 2009 we published a story in 2e Newsletter about a Texas family involved in a legal wrangle with the Klein ISD over the district's alleged failure to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for their twice-exceptional son, Per Hovem. The family prevailed in a due process hearing, in which the hearing officer ordered the school district to pay for the completion of the young man's high school education at Landmark School in Massachusetts, where his parents had already unilaterally enrolled him. The school district appealed the decision. Yesterday, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, agreed that Klein ISD had failed to provide a FAPE to the 2e student and ordered the district to reimburse the family for the educational expense at Landmark (but not for the residential expense). Excerpts from the decision:
  • "KISD determined that Per was eligible for special education services under the IDEA; it cannot excuse a failure to provided special related services addressing his unique needs merely because he is highly intelligent and ahead of many regular education students in his areas of strength.
  • "While KISD was clearly not required to cure or remediate Per’s learning disability, it was required to address his learning disability. Instead the record supports a finding that KISD ignored Per’s area of weakness and even chose to obscure it by highlighting Per’s success in areas not impacted by his learning disability.
  • "In sum, the Court finds that Per’s IEP at KISD was not reasonably calculated to provide him with some “meaningful” educational benefit, with progress which is neither trivial or de minimis, and ultimately a FAPE “tailored to the child’s unique needs by” means of an appropriate IEP."
No word at present on whether the school has or will use more legal avenues of appeal. Congratulations to Per's parents and attorneys.
BOSTON-AREA GIFTED EVENT. A variety Massachusetts gifted organizations are sponsoring an event on Sunday, October 17, at Boston University. Titled "Educational Forum for Intellectually Curious Students and their Families," the event will feature presentations (one on overexcitabilities and giftedness), roundtable discussions, an exhibit hall, and interactive activities for students. Find out more.
NEW JERSEY NEED FOR 2e-FRIENDLY SCHOOL. A family in the South Orange area is looking for a 2e-friendly school for their six-year-old boy. We ask readers with suggestions to send them to us, and we'll forward them. Thanks!
REMEMBER THE VALUE OF A STANDOUT KINDERGARTEN TEACHER? The estimated value of a stand-out kindergarten teacher was estimated at $320,000, based in the increased later earnings of his or her students. We blogged about that on July 30th. The economist who derived that value has been awarded a MacArthur Genius Award. Find out more.