This Article examines whether or not a mediation process can be created that fits squarely into the goals of the IDEA. Mediation has become the preferred method for settling disputes under the IDEA between schools and families. Article discusses prior research that found high rates of settlement, and “lukewarm” parental satisfaction ratings, which were most positively influenced by the presence of an attorney to advocate for the parent. The author posits that the implementation of mediation in advancing the goals of the IDEA, is not without critique. The Article discusses the pros and cons of mediation versus an adjudication process, and which of these process bests preserves the complainants due process rights. Some of the downfalls with a mediation process are the power imbalance between parents and school districts, i.e., access to resources, and the ability to adequately advocate, which make the mediation process more difficult to implement. Includes descriptions of individual cases and of the Madison, WI IEP process. Parents of disabled children must be informed of the benefits and burdens of submitting their disputes to mediation. This Article concludes that both schools and families must carefully evaluate whether mediation is the appropriate venue for settling disputes as it relates to each individual child.
Date Published: Nov 30, 2001
Rutgers Law Review