Progress: Is Your School District Just Using the “Good Enough” Standard?

Apparently not all school districts use the same standards in determining the benefit of the education they provide. While practically this should come as no surprise, given the vast differences in available resources among districts, it may surprise you to know this:  Special education law has been interpreted by the US Court of Appeals to make districts only responsible for “some educational benefit” (the good enough standard), as opposed to the higher standard of “meaningful benefit” (the appropriate standard).  The problem is, parents and districts often do not even agree on what good enough could be.

This is why here in the US, we have judicial review. Early in 2017 the US Supreme Court heard arguments that determined the level of responsibility that all public school districts will need to abide by when determining whether they have adequately provided for a student’s special education.  If you needed to define the “meaningful benefit” of your child’s education, what would you include? Or would “some” educational benefit be enough?

Most people who are currently using and depending on special education legislation did not vote for these laws. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was first passed in 1975, (For a concise history see here) and it has had many revisions. The written law is cumbersome and sometimes contradictory, making it hard for parents to know what to ask for, let alone be entitled to. If you are looking to reduce your district’s tax burden, you might like the good enough standard of education. But don’t we all benefit when education is meaningful?

I can help make school a better match for your K-12 student’s educational and personal growth. Contact me here.


About the author

Sherri Fisher, MEd, MAPP, executive coach and learning specialist, uncovers client motivation and focus for perseverance. She has decades of successful experience working with students, parents, and professionals who face learning, attention, and executive function challenges at school, home, and work.

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