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IDEA State Complaint Data

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires states and entities receiving funds under Part B to make available the following dispute resolution options: mediation, written state complaint (WSC), and due process complaint (DPC). These mandatory options offer mechanisms for resolving disputes that arise under IDEA. Among these, the WSC is the only option available to an organization or an individual who is not the child's parent. Additionally, it is the only option that can be initiated on behalf of a group of children to address systemic noncompliance.

The IDEA state complaint is used less frequently than IDEA's other dispute resolution options. Yet more than half (55%) of state complaints result in findings of noncompliance according to most recent data (see "Success Rate" chart below). A lack of awareness and/or misperceptions about the state complaint process may impact the relative use of this dispute resolution option.

STATE COMPLAINTS FILED BY STATE: In order to compare state complaint activity across states, we calculate the number of state complaints filed per 10,000 special education students in the state.

complaints per 10K students
Source: State dispute resolution data provided by CADRE.

The chart below shows the "Success Rate" of IDEA State Complaints by state. The Success Rate is the percent of complaints that were found to have violations. It is calculated by dividing the number of decisions with findings of noncomplaince by the number of total decisions issued.

success rate by state
Source: : Zirkel, P., Fairbanks, A., & Jones, N. (2022). Outcomes trends in the state complaint procedures under the IDEA.
West’s Education Law Reporter, 396, 24–36 available at https://perryzirkel.files.wordpress.com/2022/02/scp-outcomes-trends-article.pdf.