Des Moines: Thousands of disabled students didn't meet criteria of SPED

July 19, 2017, Des Moines Register: Ruling could expand special education services to more Iowa students A legal judgment could force Iowa schools to change how they determine which students qualify for special education, potentially allowing thousands of more children to qualify for services, advocates say. Administrative Law Judge Christie J. Scase issued a ruling that requires the Iowa Department of Education to reimburse an Urbandale family for private tutoring costs incurred after their child was denied access to special education programming at school. The case could have broad implications for Iowa schools. In her ruling, Scase wrote that the Department of Education should revisit its policies and procedures for determining who qualifies for special education. The state should not use criteria that essentially require a student to be severely behind his or her peers before a disability is recognized, she wrote in the 70-page document. Potentially, several thousand Iowa students with learning disabilities could qualify for special education services if the department's approach to determining eligibility changes, said Randy Califf, vice president of Decoding Dyslexia Iowa, a parent advocacy group.