ERIC Number: ED229878
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1983-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
What Does Due Process Do? "PARC v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" Reconsidered.
Kirp, David L.; Jensen, Donald N.
The landmark judicial decision "Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children (PARC) v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" exemplifies a growing tendency toward the legal redefinition of educational issues previously committed to professional or bureaucratic solutions. During the decade since the "PARC" decision went into effect, the hearings and appeals process it mandated has come to emphasize procedural concerns at the expense of substance. The decision ushered in a dramatic increase both in the number of children receiving special education services and in financial support for such services. Its due process hearings, however, have proved more useful for settling individual grievances than for bringing about institutional/systemic reform. A comparison of model appeals cases reveals that, although the quality of decisions has improved, confusion still remains concerning what constitutes "appropriate" instruction and placement. Federal judicial second-guessing since the 1975 "Fialkowski v. Shapp" case has complicated matters legally by challenging the "PARC" system's autonomy. Although the "PARC" case had the positive function of placing special education on the political agenda and shocking the educational system into responsiveness, its decade-long history argues for an awareness of the dangers of legalism and the extent to which a fixation on process can trivialize substantive rights. (JBM)
Descriptors: Access to Education, Court Litigation, Disabilities, Due Process, Educationally Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, Federal State Relationship, Legal Problems, Mental Retardation, Nondiscriminatory Education, Special Education, Student Placement, Student Rights
Publications, Institute for Research on Educational Finance and Governance, School of Education, CERAS Building, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305 ($2.00).
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Stanford Univ., CA. Inst. for Research on Educational Finance and Governance.