Jun 24, 2009
A Rockville special-education attorney, advocate and mother is lauding the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision Monday that parents may be reimbursed for sending their youngster to private school without first trying a public-school curriculum they believe would not meet their child’s special-ed needs.
“I hope school districts sit up and take notice” of the decision and ensure their special-ed programs meet the students’ requirements, thus eliminating the desire of a number of parents to send their children to private school, said Lyda L. Astrove, a solo practitioner.
“The vast majority of families do start out in the public school system,” she added. Parents who opt for private school generally do so “only after years of failure and frustration” with a public school curriculum that did not meet their child’s needs, Astrove said.
The high court’s ruling permits families to avoid what they fear will be that failure and frustration by opting for private school at the outset, she added.
Under the court’s decision, parents seeking tuition reimbursement for private school must still show that the public school’s proposed curriculum would not meet their child’s needs.
Astrove’s two children have attended public and private special-ed programs in Montgomery County, and she said she has nothing but praise for the education and support the county has provided.
* Disclosure: This reporter also has two family members in Montgomery County Public Schools’ special-education program.