National Federation of the Blind Comments on United States Supreme Court Decision Regarding Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Baltimore (March 23, 2017): The National Federation of the Blind today applauded the unanimous decision of the United States Supreme Court in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, (Docket No. 15–827).
Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “While we would have preferred an even stronger ruling, this decision clearly represents a shift from the paradigm of low expectations that has led to frustration and failure for so many blind students and their families. I know the frustration with this paradigm all too well myself, as both a blind person and a parent of blind children. The National Federation of the Blind knows that one of the biggest hurdles that students with disabilities confront is the low expectations too often set for them by well-meaning but misguided professionals in the education field. The Supreme Court of the United States has now affirmed that the blind and other students with disabilities can, and should, be expected to meet challenges and advance academically. The National Federation of the Blind stands ready to collaborate with educational administrators, teachers and parents of blind students to ensure that all blind students receive the kind of free appropriate public education that the IDEA and the Supreme Court's new interpretation of it require. At the same time, we will continue to hold school systems accountable when they fail to meet these requirements.”
In delivering the unanimous opinion of the High Court, United States Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in part: “The goals may differ, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives. This standard is more demanding than the ‘merely more than de minimis’ test applied by the Tenth Circuit. … When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing 'merely more than de minimis' progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all."