Video Summary: Independent Educational Evaluations

This video goes over the Independent Educational Evaluation process. If an MDT report did not find your child eligible for special education services (or if your child did at one point qualified for special education but was found no longer eligible), what are your options?

Your best option in most cases is to file an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), which is a due-process protection you and your child have under the the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). An IEE is a private evaluation conducted by a third party that you can request from your child’s school after an MDT has found that your child is not eligible or is no longer eligible for special education services. You must request the IEE within a reasonable timeframe  (this timeframe isn’t specifically defined, but should usually be within a few days after you receive the MDT evaluation).

Once the school has received a request for an IEE, they have two options: The first is to simply go ahead with the IEE. If this is the case, the school will give you a list of people who can independently evaluate your child, as well as the criteria that must be met for the IEE to be considered as valid. You can also request a list of more names of evaluators from the school if the evaluators given don’t suit your needs.

The school’s second option is to stand by their initial evaluation, and request that a due-process hearing take place. If the school requests a due-process hearing, then the legal burden of proof (the obligation to prove your point against an accepted point of view) lies with the school – they must prove that their evaluation was conducted fairly and adequately. Most of the time, however, the school will opt to take the latter, since any additional information about the child benefits everyone, and because the IEE tends to be less expensive.

A few things to note: The requested IEE must be a reasonable expense for the school, be conducted within a reasonable distance from the school (this is again up to the courts, but it usually shouldn’t be more than 50 miles), it may not be unreasonably delayed by the school or agency, and it must be conducted by qualified evaluators. Finally, it’s especially important to note that while the school must pay for and consider an IEE, they are not legally obligated to follow it, even if the IEE states that the child should qualify. If this is the case, you will have to proceed to a due-process hearing on the matter.

Because any evaluation can go to a hearing, it’s important to review the MDT evaluation evidence that it may not have been conducted adequately or if you see something that wasn’t mentioned in the evaluation. Of course, if the evaluation determines that your child is not eligible, and you agree with their findings, then an IEE is not necessary.  But even if your child does not qualify, you should keep track of your child to make sure they don’t begin falling behind in school. Next, we will review the IEE Rules and Regulations, as well as the request form for an IEE.

Legal Aid of Nebraska