seeking approval of its offer of a placement in a segregated class.93 The regional hearing officer
and state hearing officer both ruled in favor of the school district on the grounds that the school’s
placement would promote the child’s academic advancement.94 The district court held that
supplemental aids and services should have been considered as a means to accommodate the child
in a regular classroom and that the self-contained classroom was therefore overly restrictive.95 On
appeal, the Eleventh Circuit stated that it was following the Fifth Circuit and applying a two-pronged test to evaluate whether a child has been offered the opportunity to be educated in the
LRE.96 Specifically, the court stated that it would look to (1) whether a child could be educated
“satisfactorily” in a regular class with supplemental supports and services and (2) if not, and if the
child is placed in a special class, whether the child has been mainstreamed “to the maximum
extent appropriate.” The court also followed the Fifth Circuit in admonishing that the inquiry is
highly individualized and no single factor, including educational benefit, predominates.97
In Oberti v. Board of Education,98 the Third Circuit explicitly rejected the Roncker test as
being insufficiently integrationist.99 The court stated that the Roncker test “fails to make clear that
even if placement in the regular classroom cannot be achieved satisfactorily for the major portion
of a particular child’s education program, the school is still required to include that child . . . .” in
activities with nondisabled children “wherever possible.”100 Instead, the court adopted and further
expanded the Daniel R.R. test to consider steps taken by the school to accomplish inclusion and
compliance with 34 C.F.R. § 300.551(a),101 mandating provision of “a continuum of alternative
In Sacramento City Unified School District v. Rachel H.,103 the Ninth Circuit adopted the
following test to evaluate whether there has been compliance with the IDEA’s mainstreaming
mandate: (1) educational benefits in a regular classroom, supplemented with appropriate aids and
services, as compared with educational benefits of special class; (2) non-academic benefits of
interaction with non-disabled children; (3) the effect of the child’s presence on the teacher and
other children on the classroom, considering (a) whether “the child was disruptive, distracting or
unruly” and (b) whether “the child would take up so much of the teacher’s time that other
students would suffer from lack of attention”; and (4) the cost of mainstreaming.104 The Rachel H.
blend of the Roncker and Daniel R.R. tests is more holistic and balanced.
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93 Id. at 692. The school district had initiated a hearing seeking to have an evaluation mandated that would justify their placement offer
in a self-contained special class. Id. at 691.
94 Id. at 693.
96 Id. at 696.
97 Id. at 696–97.
98 Oberti v. Bd. of Educ. of Clemton Sch. Dist., 995 F.2d 1204 (3d Cir. 1993). When the district proposed a special education
placement the parents filed a due process complaint. Id. at 1208. The IHO found in favor of the school district. Id. at 1209. The district
court reversed and ordered the district to develop an inclusion plan. Id. at 1212. The Third Circuit affirmed. Id. at 1224.
99 Id. at 1215.
101 34 C.F.R. § 300.551 states: “(a) Each public agency shall ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the
needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services. (b) The continuum required in paragraph (a) of this
section must—(1) Include the alternative placements listed in the definition of special education under § 300.26 (instruction in regular
classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions); and (2) Make provision for
supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement.”
102 Oberti, 995 F.2d at 1218.
103 Sacramento City Unified Sch. Dist. v. Rachel H., 14 F.3d 1398 (9th Cir. 1993). In Rachel H., the parents sought to have their
mildly mentally retarded daughter educated in a regular class with support services. Id. at 1400. During pendency of the dispute, the
child attended regular classes at a private school. Id. A hearing officer held for parents and the district court affirmed. Id. at 1400. The
Ninth circuit affirmed, adopting the Daniel R.R. and Greer-influenced four-part test. Id. at 1404.