Independent Educational Evaluations
WHAT IS AN IEE?
An IEE is an independent educational evaluation performed to help determine the educational needs of a child with disabilities.
You might think of an IEE as like a second opinion.
You may obtain an IEE if you disagree with the assessment the school district performed in developing your child's IEP and you want an independent expert to conduct an assessment.
REQUESTING AN IEE IS A PARENT'S RIGHT UNDER THE IDEA
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a parent of a child with a disability has a right to request an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with the special education assessment performed by the child’s school district.
WHO PAYS FOR THE IEE?
Either the you will pay for the IEE or the school district. If you choose to fund the IEE, you may obtain an IEE at any time. Or you may request that the school district pay for it.
If you request that the school district fund the IEE, after your child’s school district receives your written request, the school district will respond in one of three ways:
Fund the IEE
Ignore your request, or
File for due process to prove that the school district's assessment is appropriate.
If the school district agrees to fund the IEE, the district may try to restrict the cost or limit who may conduct the evaluation. The law is silent on the on the procedure for selecting an independent evaluator.
Make sure that the evaluator is not an employee of the school district and has the necessary qualifications to perform the assessment.
Due process of the law is a right guaranteed under the United States Constitution. This rights prohibits all levels of government from arbitrarily or unfairly depriving individuals of their basic constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.
Special education due process are the formal legal proceedings carried out in accordance with established rules and principles. In California, the Office of Administrative Hearings "OAH" handles special education due process cases.
After a due process complaint is filed with OAH by either the school district or the child's parents regarding the appropriateness of the District's assessment, the school district is likely to do one of two things: 1) either fund an IEE for the child, or 2) argue that their assessment is appropriate, which argument may eventually be at hearing made before an administrative law judge.
In the alternative, if you don’t want to risk going to hearing and losing, instead of requesting that the school district fund an IEE, you can always obtain an IEE at your own expense. If the school district accepts the recommendations of your assessor, you might ask to be reimbursed for it.
In most cases, you should have the independent assessor observe your child in his or her classroom. The assessor should communicate with your child’s teachers and other service providers to make sure that any recommendations the independent assessor makes conforms with your child’s unique educational needs. If the school district conducted an observation as part of its assessment, your independent assessor has the same right to observe the child in his current or the proposed educational placement.
Whether the school district funds the IEE or you do, the school district is obligated to consider the results of an independent educational evaluation in a decision regarding a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for your child. Once you obtain the IEE, provide the school district with a copy of it and ask for any recommended services in writing.