July 06, 2011
District Released From Blackman Portion of Consent Decree in Blackman Jones Special Education Cases
Court Agrees Office of the State Superintendent of Education Has Brought About ‘Substantial Positive Change’ in Addressing Past Problems With Due Process
(WASHINGTON, DC) -- Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced today that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia has released the District from a portion of a 2006 consent decree in Blackman v. the District of Columbia, in which the plaintiffs contended that the District had violated the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by failing to hold timely due-process hearings for children with special needs.
The court recognized that the District had achieved 90 percent timeliness compliance with respect to the administration of these due-process hearings.
“We are pleased that the court acknowledged the substantial progress that the District has made toward improving special-education services for our most vulnerable children,” said Mayor Gray. “While we have a long way to go, the court’s decision signals that we have made significant headway in addressing past problems.”
The Court Monitor credited the District for "substantial positive change" in the Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) professional management of the Student Hearing Office, and the timely handling of cases and issuance of decisions. "The Office of the State Superintendent of Education and its Student Hearing Office have worked diligently to address these challenges," said the Court Monitor.