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GAO: Low-income and minority students face barriers resolving disputes over special ed services

December 4, 2019

According to the report, many parents “feel they are at a disadvantage” when in conflict with school districts because of “an imbalance of power” and, as a result, may be reluctant to engage in dispute resolution. Stakeholders also pointed out that in rural areas, parents might hesitate to disagree with school authorities out of concern for privacy in their close-knit communities or because families have limited alternative education options nearby.

While the report provides no guidance or recommendations for the U.S. Department of Education to remedy these and other barriers, it does mention districts can provide a list of free and low-cost attorneys to parents.

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