Thursday, December 01, 2005

Charles Fox on Schaffer: "The Sky Isn't Falling"

Over at the Special Education Law Blog, Charles Fox agrees with my take on Schaffer:

The biggest danger to parents of special needs children post-Shaffer is the belief that the sky is falling, and as one commentator stated, “it is all over.” I say hogwash to that sentiment! If parents buy into the unfair and unfounded rhetoric, then there is a real problem. On the other hand, armed with the realization that the relative negotiation positions have remained unchanged after Shaffer, parents will have the same power they had before this decision, and in some ways, they may have marginally more power (as discussed below). In the story, Chicken Little was wrong. So are the commentators that state Shaffer has changed everything.


Blogger Daniel said...

We shouldn't confuse judgment and perception. I find his comments ironic in that 15 years have passed since the ADA and every single article I have seen laments its unfilled promise. I do think there is a perception, widely shared, that the ADA has been under attack both in the courts and in the public sphere. "Death by a 1000 cuts," it might be called. In my eyes, the angst over Schaffer stems from this context rather than the specific legal issues at stake. People sense that their values are under attack and react to this threat in ways that are not always rational. But the simple fact that their behavior is not consistent with a logical and legalistic judgment does not mean the underlying perception of the context is wrong. Fulfilling the promise of the ADA is as much a task of winning people's hearts as it is of winning over their minds. People's disgust over Schaffer is not a case of being wound up over nothing. What people are wound up about is the simple failure of many in the legal system to take the ADA as a valid response to a real social need. The sky may not be falling but I think it is indisputable that 15 years on the ADA has not achieved what people hoped. This does not exactly create a joyful environment in which to receive news. This fact may not make some of the puffery over Schaffer any more helpful but an awareness of this negative context does, to my mind, make such a reaction predictable.

12:29 PM  

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