ORCID Identifier(s)


Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

M. Lewis Wasserman


The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) is legislation intended to ensure that children with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Over the last 35 years, the FAPE standard by which special education services were evaluated was determined by the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling in Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley (“Rowley”) in 1982. On March 22, 2017, the Rowley 1982 standard of FAPE was altered with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Endrew F. vs. Douglas County School District (commonly referred to as Endrew F.). The law allows parents and/or guardians of students with disabilities the right to a third-party hearing if the provision of a FAPE is ever called into question. This study examined how parents have fared in United States District Courts when challenging the adequacy of the education their children have been offered or received from school districts under the IDEA. Specifically, the impact of the Endrew F. ruling on judicial decision making in litigation regarding FAPE disputes was investigated. Logistic regression was used to predict which parties (i.e. school districts vs. parents) were more likely to emerge as victors. Four variables were used in the analyses which included 1) Decisions made Before and After Endrew F., 2) Party-Of-Appointing President, 3) Judges’ Gender, and 4) Autism or Other Disabling Condition. The impact of judge ideology on FAPE case decision-making is represented by the Party-of-the-Appointing President. These results suggest that the four independent variables utilized in this study did not yield a statistically significant result. However, reasons for the possible outcomes of this research are addressed. Additionally, limitations of this study were discussed and suggestions for future research is recommended.


Endrew F., FAPE, IDEA, Rowley, Special education


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington