Independent Educational Evaluation
A parent’s right to request an Independent Educational Evaluation is one of the strongest rights in the federal and state laws.
It is highly recommended that a parent ask for and receive approval by the school for an IEE before requesting a due process hearing.
If you request that a school pay for an independent educational evaluation, there are two, and only two answers, that are legal:
1. No. We think our evaluation is appropriate. Then the school files for a due process hearing in order to "prove" that their evaluation is appropriate and that your request for an IEE is unwarranted.
2. Yes. We'll be happy to pay for that. Will you be picking the person on your own or do you need for us to give you an all-inclusive list of every possible evaluator?
Is it legal for a school to say, "OK. We'll pay for your independent evaluation, but we want you to go see Dr. Expectinglotsofbusinessfrom us? Here's his number."
No. In fact, the Office for Special Education (OSEP) addressed the 34 CFR 300.502(a)(2) requirement regarding independent evaluations in "Letter to Young" in 2003. OSEP said that there is nothing in the regulations prohibiting an LEA from providing parents with a list of qualified examiners. If, however, a LEA wants to limit parents to using the examiners on the district's list, the list must be exhaustive, i.e., all qualified examiners in the geographic location must be included on the list. Also, the LEA must include in its policy that parents must have the opportunity to demonstrate that unique circumstances may justify the selection of an IEE examiner who does not meet the LEA's qualification criteria and are not on the LEA's list of examiners. Also see 34 CFR 300.502(e).
Controlling Possible Bias
If you believe that you might run into a bias situation by using an evaluator handpicked by the school, choose an evaluator out of your immediate geographic area, i.e. if you live on either end of the state, go to Indianapolis. If you live in Indianapolis, go to Chicago or Louisville. This helps reduce the possibility that the evaluator might be expecting future business from the school and might shade his/her evaluation toward supporting the school’s position in an effort to secure continued future business from the school.
Most evaluators will do a fair, honest job on their evaluations and, in fact, have a duty to do so. However, if you are concerned about possible bias, this geographic solution is a good one.
Sample request letter for an independent evaluation:
I / we are not satisfied with the [recent] evaluation performed by the school's evaluator [or the evaluator chosen by the district] on our child [name]. Among other things, we do not agree with X, Y, Z. [describe objections] With all due respect, we do not believe this evaluation accurately reflects our child's unique needs.
In light of this, we are requesting that the district agree to pay for
An independent evaluation of our son/daughter by [name of provider] who is
A private [child psychologist / speech language pathologist /
neuropsychologist / other ] located at [address] The anticipated cost of the evaluation is $____.
Please advise if the district will pay for this independent evaluation that we consider to be essential. In the event that the district refuses to pay or fails to advise of approval within 10 days, we reserve the right to secure and pay for the requested independent evaluation. If we have to go that route, we will have no choice but to request that the district
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