It was 40 years ago this month that access to education fundamentally changed for children living with disabilities. In November 1975, a federal law was enacted that has since been named the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). One of the law's main goals was to ensure that students with disabilities were not denied the opportunity for a "free and appropriate public education." That education also had to be modified to fit their unique needs.
In our last post, we began speaking about the process of filing a complaint with the California Department of Education when a school district fails to comply with an individualized education program (IEP). It should be clarified that compliance complaints are different from due process hearings, which would be appropriate when there is a disagreement about the terms of an IEP. When the issue is failure to follow special education laws or to carry out the terms of an existing IEP, though, a compliance complaint is appropriate.