The Yale Law Journal

June 2008

When Parents Aren't Enough: External Advocacy in Special Education

Erin Phillips

117 Yale L.J. 1802 (2008).

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has been widely celebrated for providing millions of disabled children with broader educational and life opportunities. This Note seeks to improve the implementation of the IDEA by questioning one of its key assumptions: that parents possess the tools to advocate for their children in special education matters. This Note argues that many parents need assistance to achieve optimal outcomes for their children because of the complexity of both the disabilities involved and the formal rules of the system itself. Several policy options are considered in the hope that local educational agencies will implement pilot programs to further explore the issue of external advocacy in special education.