The primary mechanism for dispute resolution under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) is a due process hearing. The total number of adjudicated hearings under IDEA has dropped from the high level during the latter part of the 1990s and the early part of the current decade. Yet relatively few jurisdictions, led by the District of Columbia and New York, account for the overwhelming majority of these decisions. This article presents the results of a state-by-state survey of the hearing officer system. This current “snapshot” identifies the key features, including (a) whether the system is one tier or two-tiered; (b) whether the IHOs are part-time or full-time; (c) whether their legal background is primarily in law or special education; (d) which agency assigns them and its procedures for the assignment; and (e) what is the updated volume of adjudicated hearings—i.e., those conducted to completion resulting in a written decision.
Journal of Disability Policy Studies