My daughter is in 6th grade. She has an IEP. There are several goals that the school measures by saying "n" for not introduced. Why are they putting goals and objectives that they aren't introducing? I feel like the school thinks I am stupid and they are doing the least possible to give the help my daughter needs for the appropriate education that they are supposed to be providing. Are they breaking the law?


Dr. Pierson's Response: 

To help answer your question, I went to Tricia Luker, who is a parent advocate here in Michigan. She and her husband, Calvin Luker, operate the Respect ABILITY Law Center. Here is what Tricia said when I asked her about your situation:

"The mom is correct, the school district is treating her like she is stupid. Annual goals are statements that describe what a child with a disability can reasonably be expected to accomplish within a 12-month period in the child's special education program. The description of annual goals should be specific enough to allow the district to determine whether the student made progress and also make clear which specific skills will be required in order to achieve those goals. The IEP team must write IEP goals in a way that allows for an objective measurement of the child's progress toward ACHIEVING the annual goals. Courts and hearing officers have often found IEPs containing vague or immeasurable goals deficient. In a 2006 court case the administrative law judge suggested that a properly written IEP goal will pass the 'stranger test.' That is, that a person unfamiliar with the student's IEP would be able to implement the goal, assesses the student's progress on the goal, and determine whether the student's progress was satisfactory. An IEP that lacks meaningful educational goals is likely to be fatally defective. The IEP goals should also include a description of how the IEP team will measure the child's progress toward achieving the annual goals. And I highly doubt that the district has 'n' [not introduced] as a way to measure any goal printed anywhere on their IEP forms or in their written policies.

"I attend meetings with families as an advocate but there is a fee for my services. The mother might want to call the Michigan Family Alliance at 1-800-552-4821. It is my understanding that they provide advocacy support and attend IEP meetings with parents at no charge.

"I hope this information helps. I’ve attached a court case 'Repeating IEP goals from year to year denies FAPE.' This case should be helpful if the district says that they can introduce the goal again next year. I’ve also attached a sample chapter of a book written by Barbara Bateman and Cynthia Herr that may help this mom better understand how to write goals and objectives. The final documents are 'Statements of Goals and Objectives' and 'Measuring Progress.' I would be happy to pull any of case law cited in these documents and email them to you if you think it would help the mom you wrote me about."

I have included the attachments that Tricia refers to here. I'm not sure where you are writing from; if not Michigan, then perhaps your state has an organization similar to the Michigan Family Alliance that Tricia refers to above. I would recommend that you get an advocate to help you navigate this process. The school district should be able to provide you with a list of resources.

If so inclined, please keep me posted of how things go with you. Your experience and any insights you gain may be helpful to other parents.

Repeating IEP goals from year to year denies FAPE455.67 KB
Writing Measurable Goals and Objectives (Sample)2.71 MB
Statement of Goals and Objectives102.04 KB
Measuring Progress73.38 KB