By: Jeff McCullough, J.D., Senior Director for Accessibility at ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that requires public schools to offer special education programs and supports that meet higher standards. “When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing merely more than de minimis progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts said. “For children with disabilities, receiving instruction that aims so low would be tantamount to sitting idly awaiting the time when they were old enough to drop out.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling bolsters the rights of children with special needs and overturns a lower court ruling in favor of school districts to side with parents. According to the Washington Post, in its unanimous ruling, the Supreme Court said that a child’s “educational program must be appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances” and that “every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives” even if the child is not fully integrated into regular classrooms.
All students deserve the right to a quality education. We are optimistic that this unanimous ruling will benefit the more than 6 million children with disabilities who will now have the opportunity to receive the high-quality education that they deserve.