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Independent educational evaluations paid for by the school district

posted Apr 30, 2011, 7:15 PM by Diane Willcutts   [ updated Apr 2, 2019, 3:55 PM ]
What is an independent educational evaluation (IEE)?

An IEE is an evaluation conducted by someone who is not an employee of the school district.

When may I request a district-paid IEE?

A parent's right to a district-paid IEE is triggered by the parent's disagreement with a school evaluation.  I.e., the parents do not have a right to a district-paid IEE until after a school evaluation is conducted.

The district asked me "what tests do you disagree with?"  Do I have to know this?

No.  Although districts can ask parents why they disagree with the district's evaluation, IDEA says that parents are not required to give an explanation.  And certainly, most parents have no idea what the tests mean.  Many simply say, "The testing doesn't sound like my child."  Or "the testing doesn't tell us what we need to know to program for my child."

I requested a district-paid IEE, but the school said no.  What happens next?

If the District refused to pay for an IEE, the District is required to file for a due process hearing without unnecessary delay to show its own evaluation was appropriate.  I.e., "just say no" is not an option.

It's been over three weeks since my request, but the District has neither agreed to pay for the IEE nor filed for a hearing.  What should I do?

Typically, I recommend the parents file a state complaint, stating that the District has violated the procedural safeguards by not either providing the evaluation nor filing for a hearing without delay.  As a remedy, the family should request that the District pay for an independent evaluation.   More information about filing state complaints in Connecticut is here.

The District says that we need to select a "mutually agreed upon evaluator."  Is this correct?

No.  Although it is great if the parents and district agree on the independent evaluator, this is the parents' decision alone.  The parents have the right to choose any evaluator who meets the district criteria (with the opportunity to demonstrate, if needed,  that a child requires an evaluator who does not meet criteria).  The parent's right to choose the independent evaluator is described in OSEP's Letter to Parker, which is attached to this blog post.  Just scroll down to the end.

Legalese related to a parent's right to an independent educational evaluation (bold added):

§300.502 Independent educational evaluation. 

(a) General.

    (1) The parents of a child with a disability have the right under this part to obtain an independent educational evalu- ation of the child, subject to paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section.

    (2) Each public agency must provide to parents, upon request for an independent educational evaluation, information about where an independent educational evaluation may be obtained, and the agency criteria applicable for independent educational evaluations as set forth in paragraph (e) of this section.

    (3) For the purposes of this subpart—

        (i) Independent educational evaluation means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not em- ployed by the public agency responsible for the education of the child in question; and

        (ii) Public expense means that the public agency either pays for the full cost of the evaluation or ensures that the evaluation is otherwise provided at no cost to the parent, consistent with §300.103.

(b) Parent right to evaluation at public expense. 

    (1) A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency, subject to the conditions in paragraphs (b)(2) through (4) of this section. 

    (2) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation at public expense, the public agency must, without

unnecessary delay, either— 

        (i) File a due process complaint to request a hearing to show that its evaluation is appropriate; or

        (ii) Ensure that an independent educational evaluation is provided at public expense, unless the agency dem- onstrates in a hearing pursuant to §§300.507 through 300.513 that the evaluation obtained by the parent did not meet agency criteria.

    (3) If the public agency files a due process complaint notice to request a hearing and the final decision is that the agency’s evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at public expense.

    (4) If a parent requests an independent educational evaluation, the public agency may ask for the parent’s reason why he or she objects to the public evaluation. However, the public agency may not require the parent to provide an explanation and may not unreasonably delay either providing the independent educational evaluation at public expense or filing a due process complaint to request a due process hearing to defend the public evaluation.

    (5) A parent is entitled to only one independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the public agency conducts an evaluation with which the parent disagrees.

So where can I learn more?

Connecticut's IEE guidance is attached to this post, below.

Diane Willcutts,
Apr 2, 2019, 3:54 PM
Diane Willcutts,
Feb 28, 2012, 5:55 AM