RTI Confusion in the Case Law and the Legal Commentary

Zirkel, Perry A.
November 2011
Learning Disability Quarterly;Nov2011, Vol. 34 Issue 4, p242
Academic Journal
This article expresses the position that the current legal commentary and cases do not sufficiently differentiate response to intervention (RTI) from the various forms of general education interventions that preceded it, thus compounding confusion in professional practice as to legally defensible procedures for identifying children as having a specific learning disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). After providing the legal framework for RTI in terms of IDEA and corresponding state laws, including the generally agreed on key components, the article canvasses examples of this confusion in recent case law and the legal commentary-extending even to legal publisher classifications-concerning this case law. The recommendation, starting with local school district policy and practice, is for clear and defensible differentiation that maintains, with fidelity, the integrity of RTI.


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