Free and Appropriate Public Education: Everything You Need to Know
This is connected with the principle of zero-reject. It states that children have to receive an education that is appropriate for their needs and based on proper diagnosis. The federal law guarantees the right of children with disabilities to a FAPE. The right to FAPE originates from the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
It’s important to note that while the government pays for the education of children with disabilities, families need to pay the same additional school fees. For instance, they need to pay club and sports fees that all students pay.
FAPE requires an institution to do the following:
· Provide special education to fulfill the unique needs of a kid. For instance, a student with reading challenges may be taught using a multisensory reading program.
· Provide associated services to help the kid benefit from special education. These services may include counseling, speech therapy, or even transportation.
· Provide these services for free, at zero cost to parents or caregivers.
· Provide modifications and accommodations that help children learn and participate in the general education curriculum.
· Develop an IEP (Individualized Education Program). This is a written plan for a kid’s special education experience at school. By law, an individualized education program has to include things like progress monitoring, services, annual goals, and more.
· Teach children in the LRE (least restrictive environment). As much as possible, children with IEPs should be learning alongside their peers. Putting children in separate classes is only allowed if it’s required to fulfill their unique needs.
FAPE doesn’t require an institution to do the following:
· Provide the best services for children or maximize their potential. Rather, the law requires that institutions provide reasonably calculated services to aid kids in making progress.
· Provide a specific class setting or program that a parent/caregiver wants for a kid. Parents are members of the team that develops the IEP, and they can provide inputs. However, FAPE doesn’t require institutions to offer a certain educational program. The IEP team is the final decision-maker based on the needs of the kid.
· Guarantee a kid a spot in sport or an extracurricular activity. But the school has to give all children an equal opportunity to participate.
At times, families and schools may disagree on what FAPE requires for a kid. They may disagree on the amount or type of services. When there’s a disagreement, it’s vital to work together to figure out a solution.