Local parents cheer Supreme Court call for better special education

- It's being hailed as a substantial victory for hard pressed parents shackled to public schools which too often produce little academic improvement for special needs kids.

In a unanimous vote, Justices of the Supreme Court ruled schools which generate minimal educational progress fail in their responsibility to disabled students.

"I think this is a game changer and the Supreme Court decision today makes it clear that that's not enough, and we have to raise the bar with students with disabilities," said Dustin Rynders of Disability Rights Texas.

Raising the bar is what many Houston area parents have been fighting for. Usha Jah says the new standard offers fresh ammunition in the ongoing battle to improve her autistic son's public school outcome.

"I am really excited, excited that they raised the expectation," said Jah.

Shiloh Carter, is both an attorney and the mother of a daughter challenged with disability.

"It makes me very hopeful that the courts are finally seeing the importance of holding schools accountable and making sure that all students including our students with disabilities are receiving quality education and are able to make more than minimal progress," said Carter.

Birgit Fisher says the high court ruling comes too late to help her twin teenage sons, pulled from Cy-Fair ISD where they suffered academic and emotional regression.

"It makes me hopeful that all the families coming after us will be able to stay in public school rather than spending thousands of dollars on private placement," said Fisher.

In its decision, the court signaled that disabled students are entitled to educational programs that are "ambitious" and "challenging".

But in this case and others, school districts have objected to higher standards citing cost.


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