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What is Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?

What is Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?
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Instructor: Jocelyn Cherry

Jocelyn has taught Special Education for over two decades and has three post secondary degrees all in the field of Education.

Free appropriate public education (FAPE) protects the educational rights of all children in the United States, especially those with disabilities or special needs. This lesson will define FAPE and its components.

What Is FAPE?

We hear the word. We know the acronym. But what is FAPE, really, and how do you ensure that you're abiding by its guidelines? Let's examine some common myths and actual facts about FAPE, or free appropriate public education.

FAPE Is a Fairly New Law

This is a myth. FAPE is an offspring of the original special education law, Public Law 94-142. When the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was updated in 1990, FAPE was added and defined with specificity to IDEA.

FAPE Means Exactly What It Says

This is a fact. All students in public schools have the educational right to free education, appropriate for their needs, under supervision.

Not All Students Are Entitled to 'Appropriate' Education

This is another myth. Everyone is entitled to an education; the differences show up in the type of environment that is appropriate for individual students. For some students, the best environment is a general education class with educational supports. Others excel in a general education class with related aids or services. Other options include a partial day in a general education class and a partial day in a special education class, or special education in a separate classroom for the entire day. Each unique student deserves to learn in the environment that works best for him or her.

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