Appropriately Ambitious:

A Special Education Legal Blog 

“But [the student’s] educational program must be appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances …. The goals may differ, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives”

Endrew F. v. Douglas Cnty. Scl. Dist. RE-1, 137 S.Ct. 988, 1000 (2017).

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  • Patrick G. Radel, Esq.

Appropriately Ambitious

“But [the student’s] educational program must be appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances …. The goals may differ, but every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives” Endrew F. Douglas Cnty. Scl. Dist. RE-1, 137 S.Ct. 988, 1000 (2017).


“[A] fundamental value of the right to public education for children with disabilities is the right to associate with nondisabled peers.” Oberti v. Bd. of Educ., 995 F.2d 1204, 1216 (3d Cir. 1993).


A parent “is an expert when it comes to the development and learning style” of his or her child, because the parent is “uniquely situated to provide a global understanding of the child’s abilities,” and “report on a child's progress in ways a teacher cannot.” G.B. v. Tuxedo Union Free Sch. Dist., 751 F. Supp. 2d 552, 579 (S.D.N.Y. 2010)


“Mainstreaming also serves the important goal of ‘[t]eaching nondisabled children to work and communicate with children with disabilities,’ so as to ‘eliminate the stigma, mistrust and hostility that have traditionally been harbored against persons with disabilities.’” Oberti v. Bd. of Educ., 995 F.2d 1204, 1217 n.24 (3d Cir. 1993).


Introduction – April 29, 2020


I received my law degree in May of 2002 from the University at Buffalo Law School. I was admitted to practice law in New York State in March of 2003 after passing the bar exam and being sworn in. I became a special education lawyer at 9:03 am on February 1, 2006, when my son Mark was born. Mark is a person with Down syndrome. I knew from the moment we received the diagnosis that my law practice would always include at least one “client” in need of special education representation. However, to my surprise, my law practice has developed over the past fourteen years and it has been my honor to represent families of students with disabilities at IEP meetings, due process proceedings, and in federal court.


This blog is part of my effort to make use of this “Corona-time” to provide information and insights I believe (hope) will help families, students, and members of school teams (teachers, administrators, related service providers) improve outcomes, increase inclusion, and expand opportunities for students with disabilities.


My blog posts are not intended as legal advice, but rather as legal education and information. I hope to present legal and practical issues in a balanced, accurate, and accessible manner, with the aim of providing pragmatic, solution-oriented suggestions. The views expressed are entirely my own and do not necessarily represent the views of my law firm or my clients. If you think this is a good idea and/or have suggestions for topics you would like to see discussed, please feel free to send me an e-mail at pradel@getnicklivingston.com.

ATTORNEY ADVERTISING. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. 

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