EdWeek on IDEA Cert. Grant
In their own brief to the Supreme Court, the Schaffers say many parents find the process of pursuing administrative hearings “too daunting and simply capitulate.” They cite a 2003 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the audit arm of Congress, that said that more than 11,000 hearings were requested in 2000, but that only 3,000 were held.
“Placing the burden on the parents significantly strengthens the hand of often-intransigent school district bureaucracies,” the parents’ brief says.
But the district says people who sue under federal statutes that prohibit discrimination based on race, sex, and age must bear the burden of proof, and it is reasonable for parents of children with disabilities to meet a similar legal standard.
“It is highly unlikely that a parent who believes that his or her child is not receiving sufficient services will forgo a challenge merely because of an evidentiary rule that is common to most litigants,” the district’s brief says.