Special-ed parents win in court

Parents of disabled students can seek reimbursement for private school tuition, even if their child didn’t receive special education services in public school, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled this week. The case involved an Oregon high school students in the Forest Grove district who was diagnosed as learning disabled only after he enrolled in private school.

If the public school can’t provide an appropriate education to a disabled students, parents have the right to seek a private placement at public expense. “Nationally, about 90,000 special-education students are in private schools, most of them referred by their public schools,” reports the New York Times.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion for the 6-3 majority.

“It would be strange for the act to provide a remedy, as all agree it does, where a school district offers a child inadequate special-education services but to leave parents without relief in the more egregious situation in which the school district unreasonably denies a child access to such services altogether,” he wrote.

Why not extend choice to all parents, asks Jay P. Greene. “Why should any child, disabled or not, be made to wait for an appropriate education?”