The Supreme Court ruling in Endrew F. clarifies the scope of a school district’s obligations under the IDEA to a child with a disability. The key provisions of the decisions are as follows:
- The IDEA requires educating children with a wide spectrum of disabilities, and the benefits that children at each end of the spectrum can obtain are drastically different, and there are infinite variations for children in between;
- The IDEA guarantees an adequately substantive educational program to all eligible children;
- A school district meets its substantive obligations when it offers an IEP reasonably calculated to enable the child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances;
- The IDEA does not guarantee a specific outcome for a child. Rather, the purpose is to assist a child in pursuing academic and functional advancement. The question is whether the IEP is reasonable, and not ideal;
- When a child is fully integrated, the IEP should be typically calculated to permit advancement through the general curriculum, achieve passing marks and advance from grade to grade. But advancement from grade to grade does not automatically mean that the child is receiving FAPE;
- When grade-level advancement is not feasible, the IEP cannot offer a barely more than de minimis benefit to the child. Rather, it must offer an appropriately ambitious program in light of the child’s circumstances, and the goals on her IEP must offer her the chance to meet challenging objectives.