In Schaffer v. West the court stated the, “IDEA thus ensures parents access to an expert who can evaluate all the materials that the school must make available, and who can give an independent opinion. They are not left to challenge the government without a realistic opportunity to access the necessary evidence, or without an expert with the firepower to match the opposition.” 44 IDELR 150 (U.S. 2005).
An independent education evaluation ("IEE") is done by a person who does not work for the school district. A parent has a right to request an independent education if they do not agree with the evaluation completed by the school district. It is a good idea to request an independent education evaluation if the parent does not agree with school assessment, tests are missing or were done improperly, the school's evaluation was incomplete, or the parent feels the assessment is not an accurate reflection of their child's abilities. More over, anytime a parent is going to initiate due process proceedings against a school district they should obtain a private evaluation.
A parent can pay for their own IEE at anytime. However, a parent can request an IEE at the public expense. If a parent does request the school pay for the IEE the school has two options: 1) provide the IEE to the child; or 2) initiate a due process hearing and defend the appropriateness of their assessment. If the school district decides to initiate a due process hearing, a hearing officer will decide whether the school's assessment was appropriate or not. If not, the school will be ordered to provide the assessment.