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Resources for Parents & Families

Special education in Michigan is governed by several different laws and rules.  The federal law which sets out the framework for eligibility, process and services is contained in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  You can read about the Act and how the current Department of Education views the Act for education here.

Michigan has rules it has established which create more specific rules and conditions for special education.  These are found in the Michigan Administrative Rules for Special Education or the MARSE.  You can read the MARSE here.

Reading these documents can be helpful and confusing. 


The law and rules are subject to interpretations by the State of Michigan Office of Special Education at the Michigan Department of Education.  They are also interpreted by courts, from administrative law judges to the US Supreme Court.  These interpretations all affect how your child is viewed, how their services are delivered and such basic issues as eligibility and the quality of the education your child receives. 


If you are at the point of needing an attorney, and not an advocate, may I recommend you search the data base at the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates for one who specializes in this area.  This is a particular area of specialization and selecting an attorney with expertise in this area is very important.

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