Topic Areas: Independent Educational Evaluation
POLICY LETTER: October 22, 2016 to Jennifer Carroll on Independent Educational Evaluations (PDF)PDF
POLICY LETTER: October 22, 2016 to Jennifer Carroll on Independent Educational Evaluations (PDF)
400 MARYLAND AVE., S.W. WASHINGTON, D.C. 20202-2600 www.ed.gov The Department of Education’s mission is to promote student achievement and prepar ation for global competiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATIVE SERVICES October 22, 2016 Ms. Jennifer Carroll Law Clerk Walsh, Gallegos, Trevino, Russo & Kyle, P.C. Crestview Towers 105 Decker Court, #600 Irving, Texas 75062 Dear Ms. Carroll: This is in response to your March 11, 201 6 correspondence to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) requesting further clarification regarding the scope of an independent educational evaluation (IEE) under 34 CFR §300.502 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) . Specifically, you ask whether once a district’s evaluation is complete and the parent communicates a desir e for a child to be assessed in a particular area in which they have not previously expressed concern, would the district have the opportunity to conduct an evaluation in the given area before a parent invokes the right to an IEE. The e valuation procedures at 34 CFR §300.304(b)(1) require that in conducting an evaluation, the public agency must use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the child that may assist in determinin g whether the child is a child with a disability and the content of the child’s individualized education program, including information related to enabling the child to be involved in and progress in the general education curriculum. Furthermore, the public agency must ensure that in evaluating each child with a disability under 34 CFR §§300.304 through 300.3 11 , the evaluation is sufficiently comprehensive to assess the child in all areas related to the suspected disability, and must identify all of the chi ld’s special needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category in which the child has been classified. 34 CFR §300.304(c)(4) and (6). Under 34 CFR § 300.502 , parents of a child with a disability have a right to seek an IEE at public expense , if the parents disagree with the evaluation conducted by the public agency. This is so even if the reason for the parent’s disagreement is that the public agency’s evaluation did not assess the child in all areas relat ed to the suspected disability. U nder 34 CFR §300.502(b)(2), if a parent requests an IEE at public expense, the public agency must, without unnecessary delay, either: (i) initiate a hearing under 34 CFR §300.507 to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or (ii) ensure that an IEE is pro vided at public expense, unless the agency demonstrates in a hearing pursuant to 34 CFR §§300.507 through 300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria . The IDEA affords a parent the right to an IEE at public expense and d oes not condition that right on a public agency’s ability to cure the defects of the evaluation it conducted prior to granting the parent’s request for an IEE. Therefore, i t would be inconsistent with the provisions of 34 CFR §300.502 to allow the public a gency to conduct an assessment in an area that was not part of the initial evaluation or reevaluation before either granting the parents’ request for an IEE at public expense or filing a due process complaint to show that its evaluation was appropriate. Un der 34 CFR § 300.502(b)(5), a parent is entitled to only one IEE at public expense each time the public agency conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees. The Court of Appeals’ decisions cited in your letter do not refute this interpretation. In the cases you cite where the court affirmed the right of a school to conduct its own scheduled reevaluation (which must occur at least once every three years, unless the parents and the public agency agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary) and denied th e parent’s request for an IEE, it was because the parent had not presented the child for any of the scheduled reevaluations and therefore the school was not allowed to conduct those reevaluations. In your hypothetical, however, the school conducted an eval uation pursuant to 34 CFR § 300.502, but did not fully identify all areas needed to be evaluated. In that case, the parent has a right to ask for an IEE at public expense if the parent disagrees with the evaluation. Based on section 607(e) of the IDEA, we are informing you that our response is provided as informal guidance and is not legally binding, but represents an interpretation by the U.S. Department of Education of the IDEA in the context of the specific facts presented. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lisa Pagano of my staff at 202-245-7413 or by email at Lisa.Pagano@ed.gov . Sincerely, /s/ Ruth E. Ryder Acting Director Office of Special Education Programs
Addresses the procedures for parents seeking an Independent Education Evaluation at public expense based on areas not assessed by a district evaluation.
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Last modified on October 24, 2023