Federal Education Department Rules Against Fairfax County

Asra Nomani | November 2, 2022

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. — Tears of joy came to the eyes of special education advocates Callie Oettinger and Debra Tisler as they read a much-anticipated decision by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

For years, they have been advocating — to deaf ears in Fairfax County Public Schools and the entire state of Virginia — on behalf of students denied educational services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Today, the U.S. Department of Education ruled that they were indeed correct.

“This is a victory for every parent,” said Oettinger. “In 2020, we knew that the actions that FCPS was taking were in noncompliance with IDEA. We are now vindicated, and every parent should contact FCPS to make sure that every child receives COMPENSATORY EDUCATION and other services that meet their needs.”

The key words here are to ask for COMPENSATORY EDUCATION — for example, so many parents paid out of pocket and took on second jobs to pay for tutors and other services to meet educational needs that Fairfax County failed to provide. And so many parents couldn’t afford these extra services, and their children were left behind.

“It’s criminal that so many children went without services and appropriate education,” said Tisler, at her dining table, as she learned the news. “The investigation must not stop with Fairfax County. Governor Glenn Youngkin should now reconsider the leadership that he inherited that allowed such an atrocity to occur under their watch. The full weight of his office must be used to hold accountable those responsible for this failure.”

Read the details:

  • U.S. Department of Education Press Release
  • Fairfax County Public Schools Resolution Letter PDF
  • Fairfax County Public Schools Resolution Agreement PDF

Asra Nomani is a senior fellow in the practice of journalism at Independent Women’s Network. This article was first published at her Substack, Asra Investigates.