The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has been around in its various forms for more than forty years. It guarantees a free, appropriate public education to students with disabilities, and that they will be educated to the maximum extent appropriate with their non-disabled peers. The IDEA’s core principles, including full access to education, individualized evaluation and prescriptive program development, full parental participation, prior written notice, and parents’ opportunity to challenge education decisions for students with disabilities, have had a profound impact on the lives of children and their families. How will the growing emphasis on school choice initiatives, including charter schools, cyber-charter schools, and school voucher programs, affect those lives? In this panel, experienced counsel from both sides, representing parents and school districts, explored the foundations of special education law and the impact of those initiatives on access, quality and accountability for today’s special education students.

MODERATOR: Ken Gelburd, Esq., PA


Jaimmé Collins, Adams and Reese LLP, NOLA;

Eden Heilman, Managing Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center, NOLA;

Caryl Andrea Oberman, PA.