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(4.23) Can I suggest goals that are more challenging for my child than the district is suggesting?

(4.23) Can I suggest goals that are more challenging for my child than the district is suggesting?

Yes, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated that a child’s educational program must be appropriately ambitious in light of the child’s circumstance and the child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives.[ Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, 137 S. Ct. 988, (U.S. 2017)]. Following the decision in Endrew F, the U.S. Department of Education issued a guidance emphasizing the school districts’ responsibility to improve students’ outcomes, monitor progress and train administrators and teachers on how to write appropriate IEPs that satisfy the directive by the Supreme court. [Questions and Answers, 71 IDELR 68, (Edu. 2017).] Because of the Endrew F decision, you can question lack of progress in your child’s IEP and insist that the IEP contains ambitious and challenging goals in light of your child’s circumstance.

Moreover, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction and State Board of Education must adopt performance goals and indicators for special education students that are consistent, to the maximum extent appropriate, with the standards for all students in the public schools. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.157; Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56138.] The California Association of Resource Specialists and Special Education Teachers (CARS+) publishes Goals and Objectives Related to Essential California Content which contains the academic standards and related sample goals.

IEP goals must be measurable. [20 U.S.C. Sec. 1414(d)(1)(A)(i)(II).] Therefore, parents should not consent to goals such as: “Miriam will improve in math.” The “present levels of educational performance” section of the IEP should specify at what level Miriam is performing in math. Her IEP math goals should specify how much the team expects her to improve from that level.