Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Venting the Anger: IEP's

Ok this is going to be a quick hitter. For those of you in education you know about special education and those wonderful IEPs. Well, for those of you fortunate not to know what an IEP is, basically it is a personalized plan for a student. Not like a plan of take math & english this not that plan. This is plan as to how we can make sure the student succeeds. So things like, student can use notes on the test, can use homework on the test, can have the test modified. Test modification is like if you have a 10 question multiple choice test (with 4 answers per question), they can modify it to be less questions with less choices. Isn't that they way life is?

Now in our district we have parents lining up to get their kids to be designated special ed so they will get all of these special modifications so they can get good grades. Our district doesn't put anything on the transcripts saying someone is special ed.

So today I found out that we have a student on campus whose IEP says we can not search his backpack unless the school calls his mom first to see if it is ok. That's right, we can't search his backpack by law no matter what we think he might have; drugs, weapons...doesn't matter. The reasoning is that he is forgetful and might not realize what he puts in his bag. Nice huh?

And yet people still can't understand why most teachers leave within 5 years...


Mrs. H said...

Years ago, I had a student in my algebra II class with a 96 avg. His IQ was 127, but he had some learning disabilities with processing inforamtion. He read at 6th grade level so he "qualified" for special education based on the differnce between his IQ and his test scores. The school denied him services because not only must you qualify, you must also prove academic need. He was passing all his classes with all A's and had obviously learned ways to cope with his very real disability.

The parents were very angry. They brought in attornys and I had to sit in on meeting after meeting. It was a very uncomfortable sitution. The demands the parents were making were extreme. They wanted their child to have advance copies of the test, they wanted him to have complete sets of notes provided to him a week in advance, they wanted him to have extra time. In the end, the school won and he was denied services. I felt so sorry for the kid. None of it was his idea. He just wanted to fit in and be as inconspicous as possible, but his mom made enemies every where she went.

Mr. W said...

yeah, you can tell some of these kids don't want to be special ed because they know they don't need it. They understand it's the parents that push them.

The stigma of being special ed is fading away slowly. The sad part is there are students who need services, yet their parents don't want their child to be special ed so they don't pursue it or listen to teachers about starting the process.

Special ed is a beast that's for sure.

Madeleine said...

In our district having an IEP means you can do anything you want without being corrected.

If an IEP student rips up your lesson every day, throws things and leaves the room whenever he wants, he is never never disciplined. The office says "He has an IEP" as if that explained everything.

Most recently I was sitting in on a class where an IEP student continually made racist remarks about an Asian student sitting near him - NOTHING DONE! I spoke with the teacher after class, telling her she was putting herself on the line for not intervening in harassment and racism. She was absolutely floored - she never realized she could be liable for what an IEP student was doing.

Same message for your school. If Mr. Forgetful "forgets" he brought a knife and ends up using it, it is your school and administration who will be sued in court.

Something to think about.

Mr. W said...

yeah I agree. In fact there are a lot of us teachers who think that something bad will need to happen before the general public realize how bad these things are.

I have had students make threats in class and I report them, but we get the "that's just the way they are." It wasn't until I sent an email to his counselor, school psychologist, and principal about how I was documenting that I thought this kid was dangerous and that I wanted to be in writing that I warned the school. After that they pulled him out and started sessions with him.

teacherblogger411 said...

You've got to be kidding me! What is wrong with this STUPID system. If you give most people an excuse, they're going to take it. Why not let these students stand on their own two feet and try to work through some adversity. They might even build a little character and self-confidence along the way. NAH, we would not want that!

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