This reference list is designed to accompany CPIR’s Brief for Parent Centers on Free Appropriate Public Education and the Dear Colleague Letter on FAPE issued by OSEP on November 16, 2015. You can use the reference list in staff or board training, to refresh or deepen your understanding of what key terms in IDEA mean, and to find easy-to-read summaries about these terms on CPIR’s site in English and Spanish.
The online version of the reference list presents one term or acronym at a time. This page focuses on FAPE. (Note: To print out or share the ENTIRE reference list as one Word or PDF file, use the links at the very top of this page.)
FAPE | Free Appropriate Public Education
FAPE as cornerstone | A cornerstone of IDEA, our nation’s special education law, is that each eligible child with a disability is entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet the child’s unique needs and that prepares the child for further education, employment, and independent living.
Defined in IDEA at | 34 CFR §300.17, as follows:
§300.17 Free appropriate public education
Free appropriate public education or FAPE means special education and related services that—
(a) Are provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
(b) Meet the standards of the SEA, including the requirements of this part;
(c) Include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and
(d) Are provided in conformity with an individualized education program (IEP) that meets the requirements of §§300.320 through 300.324.
Unofficial Definition of FAPE in Spanish
For more information about FAPE | See Wrightslaw’s FAPE: What Does It Mean?
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