9. Add provisions regarding hearing officers.

At a minimum, a hearing officer:
  • Must not be an employee of the SEA or the LEA that is involved in the education or care of the child;
  • Must not be a person having a personal or professional interest that conflicts with the person’s objectivity in the hearing;
  • Must possess knowledge of, and the ability to understand, the provisions of the IDEA, Federal and State regulations pertaining to the IDEA, and legal interpretations of the IDEA by Federal and State courts;
  • Must possess the knowledge and ability to conduct hearings in accordance with appropriate, standard legal practice; and
  • Must possess the knowledge and ability to render and write decisions in accordance with appropriate, standard legal practice.
[34 CFR 300.511(c)(1)] [20 U.S.C. 1415(f)(3)(A)]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. The provisions require knowledge and skills in the legal provisions of the law, conducting hearings, and writing decisions. Why might it also be important for a hearing officer to possess skills and knowledge regarding culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse families and their children?

Application Questions

  1. What new knowledge and skills will be important for hearing officers to possess in your state? How will new skills and knowledge be assured?

  2. What steps could an SEA take to ensure that hearing officers have the knowledge they need, including knowledge of disabilities?

    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: General Education Administrator
    Location: California

    Role: Educational Consultant
    Location: Florida

    Role: Higher Education
    Location: Indiana

    Role: Administrator
    Location: Illinois

    Role: Special Education Administrator
    Location: Kentucky

    Role: Family Member
    Location: New Jersey

    Role: Teacher
    Location: West Virginia