Repeating IEP Goals

Submitted by Tim Schwarz on Fri, 10/13/2017 - 03:46 PM

From time to time, I see an IEP with goals repeated from a previous IEP. This always makes me very suspicious. Presumably, goals are repeated because they were not achieved in the previous school year. I've explained that the school district is not required to achieve the maximum amount of progress, but that doesn't mean the school district can sit on its hands. Repeating goals is the practical equivalent of repeating a class because the student did not learn the material the first time. This is a significant event, and should be treated that way.  

Simply by putting a goal in the IEP, the team is saying that meeting the goal is part of providing an appropriate education. Why was that prior team wrong about what level is appropriate? Until that question is answered, it is hard for a family to comfortably rely on the school district’s educational expertise. School officials should be able to explain why there was insufficient progress to meet the goal initially proposed by the IEP team.  

If at first you don't succeed, try again. But don't just do what you did the last time, because that wasn't enough. When a particular IEP goal has not been achieved, then the school district needs to increase the intensity of interventions in order to succeed in the new school year. Without that, it really is not clear that the school district is genuinely trying to achieve the goal.  

That makes me mad, because a school district that isn't trying is not doing right by the student and is violating the law. If your student has goals repeated from prior year IEPs, contact me to schedule an initial consultation.  


I and several other lawyers will be answering your education law questions at the Gwinnett STOPP event part of the National Week of Action on School Pushout.  

WHEN: October 21, 2017 @ 9:30 am – 3:00 pm WHERE: Salem Missionary Baptist Church Youth House: 4700 Church St NW, Lilburn, GA 30048



For a variety of reasons, the lawsuit the US Department of Justice filed regarding problems with GNETS has stalled. In response, a lawsuit on behalf of students has been filed to try to improve the quality of students currently placed in GNETS placements.


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