Thursday, October 11, 2007

File Under: Hard to Believe Yet True

Students who receive special education services have an IEP (indivdualized education plan). This is supposed to be written by a team consisting of a general ed teacher, a special ed teacher, a representative from the district who can allocate resources, any related service providers (like OT or PT), a parent/guardian and the student. The IEP lasts for one year.

Below is a list of things that are supposed to happen at an annual IEP meeting:
  • Review of the students' present levels of academics and behavior including test scores, grades, recent evaluations, etc.
  • Review whether the student met the goals on the previous IEP
  • Writing of new goals for the year
  • Determination of type and amount of service the student requires
  • Deciding what sort of state testing is to be done
  • Deciding whether and how much the student will be removed from general ed classes and why
  • Deciding which program the student will be placed in
  • Signing the IEP by all parties
It's a lot of stuff and it takes awhile to get through it all.

Here's the what we did at a recent IEP I was invited to for a student who attends one of my self-management classes:
  • Review of present levels- grades, and a couple of informal evaluations only
  • Signing the IEP
At no time did the case manager even crack open the draft she had written other than to have us sign it at the end. It was a mockery of an IEP meeting.

Here's why this is bad. The IEP is the cornerstone of the special ed law (IDEIA). IEPs can be very useful documents in ensuring a student with a disability receives a free and appropriate public education. The idea behing the IEP is that a group of people will craft a plan that will best serve the student. The fact that you have to have a meeting every year and there are mandatory participants is supposed to ensure that no single person is determining what is best for someone else's kid while they're at school. This case manager circumvented this by taking advantage of an ignorant teacher, parent and assistant principal.

I want to complain here that I have to do something about this now and I'm really not looking forward to it. But I know that it's not really about me, right? If it was about me I'd write that if I don't say anything then I have to live with myself knowing that I'm that guy who is in a position to call someone out on their disservice to kids but I didn't. So I will. But because it's not about me I'll just note that I'll do something in order to make it more likely that this kid will get what he deserves.

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