Virginia Regulation Restricts Parents' IEE Rights

Virginia must change its Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) regulations.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released a Differentiated Monitoring and Support (DMS) Report June 23, 2020, which states that Virginia's "regulation restricts a parent’s right to an IEE at public expense to only those areas in which the public agency had previously evaluated the child. . . . The provisions in Virginia Administrative Code 8VAC20-81-170(B)(2)(a) and (e), as interpreted by the State and implemented by its LEAs, are inconsistent with the language and intent of 20 U.S.C. § 1415(b)(1) and 34 C.F.R. § 300.502(b), which do not limit a parent’s right to an IEE at public expense to circumstances where the parents disagree with the results of a specific evaluation component already conducted by the public agency."

Fairfax County Public Schools has a practice of restricting IEEs to "components" already evaluated.

For example, FCPS will deny a parent's request for an audiological evaluation if FCPS has not first done its own evaluation.

In addition, FCPS often proposes educational and psychological components and presents them to parents as a full evaluation, not advising parents that there are other "components" available for evaluating.

It takes a knowledgeable parent to know the wide range of components available, and to know to question FCPS's definition of "comprehensive".

Section 300.502 of IDEA 2004 states: "The parents of a child with a disability have the right under this part to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child, subject to paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section."

It does not state that the Local Education Agency (LEA) or the State, may 1) set a below-market price cap on the evaluations; 2) place limits on the type of evaluation and the assessments within the evaluation; 3) nag parents to state the reason for their IEE request of put any other burden upon the parents; or 4) require the IEE provider to edit its evaluation upon request of the LEA or State.

However, Fairfax County Public Schools has done all of the above.

Below is FCPS' response to a FOIA request for IEE information. It details the last time FCPS set price caps (as of the time of this writing) — in 2017 — as well as the process for developing its list of providers. The correspondence between these providers and FCPS is included, too.

*Thank you to JM for submitting this FOIA request and for sharing it.

Click on image above to view complete file.

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