Laws passed by the US Congress and Supreme Court decisions ensure quality educational services for students with disabilities. Recently, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Supreme Court case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District emerged as landmark events significantly impacting special education services. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Alice-Ann Darrow, Judith Jellison, Mary Adamek overview the recent legislation and court decisions, identify ways to advocate for music therapy services in schools based on the legislative and court actions, and share valuable resources critical for staying informed about updates regarding special education services and music therapy.


MT in Schools: Laws & Court Decisions

AMTA-Pro Podcast April, 2018

Alice-Ann Darrow, PhD, MT-BC, Judith Jellison, PhD, Mary Adamek, PhD, MT-BC

Laws passed by the US Congress and Supreme Court decisions help ensure quality educational services for students with disabilities. Recently, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Supreme Court case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District emerged as landmark events significantly impacting special education services.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

What is the ESSA?

  • Legislation which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), and replaces the widely criticized No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB)
  • ESEA is the primary federal law that authorizes federal spending to support K-12 schooling, and represents the nation’s commitment to equal education opportunity for all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, disability, English proficiency, or income.

What does it mean for music therapists and educators?

  • The Every Student Succeeds Act establishes that every child deserves a “well-rounded education,” putting music and the arts alongside reading and math in the classroom.
  • The law also refers to time spent teaching music and arts as “protected time.”
  • Throughout the law and through the efforts of NAfME, AMTA, and NAMM, “music” is identified singularly in ESSA along side “the arts.”
  • Students with disabilities are often included in the category of ‘under-served students,’ particularly as it relates to their inclusion in the arts.
  • ESSA is an opportunity to broaden musical opportunities for students with disabilities, to seek funding for pursuing advanced training in working with students with disabilities, and for adapted instruments and technology that will support their music education.

What should music therapists and educators do in regard to ESSA?

  • Reinforce what ESSA states about the inclusion of music and the arts in a well-rounded education.
  • Remind state, district, and community leaders about the benefits of music education for all students. Include in your advocacy the importance of music and arts for students with disabilities.
  • Request that school and community leaders work with their school district administrators to expand music education curriculum offerings to under-served students (Luehrsen, 2016).

Supreme Court decision, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District (2017)

Two Court Cases: Rights of Children with Disabilities to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

  • Rowley (1982) and Endrew (2017)
  • At issue: Did schools meet the requirement to provide each of these children with a “free appropriate public education, or FAPE, by means of a uniquely tailored “individualized education program (IEP). 20 U. S. C. §§1401(9)(D), 1412(a)(1).
  • Implications for 6.5 million students (13% of the public school population) receive an IEP (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Office of Special Education Programs. (2016). 38th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, 2016. Washington, D.C.

United States Supreme Court Decisions

  • Requirements of the FAPE are met when the IEP is . . .

. . .designed so the child will make progress appropriate to the child’s circumstances.

. . .appropriately ambitious with challenging objectives.

  • Deference to expertise and judgment by school authorities about what “appropriate” looks like case by case.

Online resources for gathering information and identifying ‘hot topics’

Autism with a side of fries – http://autismwithasideoffries.blogspot.com/

AUTISM DADDY –   http://autism-daddy.blogspot.com/

Reflections from the Red Couch –   http://reflectionsfromtheredcouch.wordpress.com

WrightsLaw – www.wrightslaw.com

New America – www.newamerica.org

CEC Today (CEC members only) http://community.cec.sped.org/cectoday/home

Disability Scoop newsletter www.disabilityscoop.com

Other ‘hot topics’ addressed by Adamek, Jellison, & Darrow

1. Common Core and State Standards
2. Universal Design Learning (UDL)
3. Differentiated Instruction (DI)
4. Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS)
5. Autism Controversies
6. Response to Intervention (RtI)
7. Self-Determination

References

Adamek, M. S. & Darrow, A. A. (in press). Music in Special Education, 3rd edition. Silver Spring, MD: AMTA.

Board of Ed. of Hendrick Hudson Central School Dist., Westchester Cty. v Rowley, 458 US 176 (1982).

Darrow, A. A. (2016). The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): What it means for students with disabilities and music educators. General Music Today, 30(1), 41-44. Doi:10.1177/1048371316658327

Endrew F., a minor, by and through his parents and next friends, Joseph F. et al. v. Douglas County School District, 580 US __, (2017).

Hammell, A. M. (2017). Amy and Drew: Two children who helped determine what free appropriate public education means. General Music Today 1-4, doi:10.1177/048371317735921.

Individuals with Disabilities Act, 20 USC §§1401 (9) (D), 1412 (a) (1).

Jellison, J. A. (2015). Including Everyone: Creating Music Classes where All Children Learn. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

McAbee, G. N. (2017).   US Supreme Court decision may improve individual educational programs for children with special needs. Journal of Child Neurology, 32(2), 973-974. doi:10.1177/088307387723268

McKenna, L. (2017). How a Supreme Court ruling could affect special education. March 23, The Atlantic.

McKenna, L. (2017). Is the bar too low for special education? January 24, The Atlantic

Luehrsen, M. (2016). The good fight: ESSA passage provides opportunities to expand music learning during the school day: A call to action. Newsletter for School Band and Orchestra. Retrieved from http://sbomagazine.com/current-issue/5289-the-good-fight-essa-passage-provides-opportunities-to-expand-music-learning-during-the-school-day-a-call-to-action.html

National Association for Music Education (NAfME). (2016). The Every Student Succeeds Act: What it is, What it means, and what’s next. http://www.nafme.org/wp-content/files/2015/11/ESSA-In-Plain-EnglishFINAL-2-2016.pdf

Samuels, C. (2015). What does ESSA mean for special education? Spotlight on Special Education: Education Week. Retrieved from http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/speced/2015/12/essa_special_education.html

Strauss V. (2017). Why the Supreme Court special education case about a boy with autism is so sickening. January 12, Washington Post.

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Office of Special Education Programs. (2016). 38th Annual Report to Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, 2016. Washington, D.C.