It is a core principle of special education legislation that the parents of children with disabilities can challenge the child's educational programming through an administrative due process hearing. Yet for years the special education due process structure has been criticized as inefficient, anticollaborative, and prohibitively expensive. Those criticisms have given rise to widely varying proposals to reform special education due process, proposals that range from adding certain alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to a wholesale replacement of the due process structure.

This article provides a comprehensive analysis of special education dispute resolution. The article first examines the lively debate among scholars and special interest groups about perceived deficiencies of IDEA due process and various proposals to remedy those deficiencies. The article then sets forth the results of a nationwide survey in which over three hundred and fifty special education attorneys voiced their opinions about the current structure and some proposals for reform. Finally, the article recommends certain structural changes to IDEA due process that are designed to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of special education dispute resolution.

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