Although the IDEA purports to entitle disabled children to a "free, appropriate, public education" (FAPE), disagreements regarding the concept of "appropriateness" have been an ongoing source of conflict between parents and educators. While parents demand that school districts and other educational service providers program so as to maximize the child's potential, school personnel frequently insist that an educational program is "appropriate" within the meaning of the Act if it permits a child to make any progress at all. This Article proposes a middle ground under which the "appropriateness" of a program is to be judged on an individualized basis taking into consideration each child's potential for educational growth.

Additionally, based on personal experience gained in years of litigation with schools over the appropriateness of special education programs and services, many of the common abuses of the system established by the IDEA are identified and changes are suggested.



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