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Department of Education Publishes "Report Card" on Special Ed

By June 28, 2007

If you have a child on the autism spectrum, you almost certainly have (or will have) an opportunity to explore the wonderful world of public special education.

For those who have not yet taken part in the creation of an IEP (Individualized Educational Program), or read through the details of the IDEA Act (Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act), you have something to look forward to.

No matter how old your child is, though, you'll be interested to see the results of the Department of Education's "report card" on Special Education across the United States. What was surprising to me was the discovery that each state put together its own system for meeting federal requirements - and each letter of determination is available online. Less surprisingly, very few states have actually earned the coveted "meets requirements" rating.

To be honest, I really think it's impossible to succeed in meeting both the requirements of the IDEA and the requirements of No Child Left Behind. After all, the IDEA in essence insists that every child with special needs be given a unique educational program tailored to his or her needs. No Child Left Behind requires that every child be able to pass a single test based upon a shared educational program.

If a state actually follows both laws (and our state mostly does), children with special needs are required to take and pass a test for which they are never appropriately prepared! That's because, while typically developing kids are being drilled in test-taking, our kids are getting social skills training or occupational therapy. While typically developing kids are getting the standard curriculum, our kids are ... not.

Even if all of our kids were little geniuses, the likelihood that they'd do well on a state test for which they're unprepared is ... slight. How much tougher is it for kids who have learning disabilities, ADHD and autism - even when the test is provided with "accomodations?"

What's your opinion of our present special education system? How would you change it? Or...would you leave it alone?

Comments
June 28, 2007 at 10:50 am
(1) Lola Mateos says:

Public Special Education System should provide higher rates for home-based teachers and therapist.

Public Special Education System should provide Parent Training Programs. (Right know the only way to get parent training is through out organizations.)

Public Special Education System should monitored and registered student’s progress.

Public Special Education System should create specialized schools dedicated only to one specific condition. Example:
If a parent finds out his/her child is deaf the first thing that comes to mind is an school for the DEAF which are easy recognize. What happen if a parent finds out his/her child is autistic.
There is no Public School specialized in autistic children.

June 28, 2007 at 2:00 pm
(2) Sandy says:

interesting isn’t it? I think the most confusing thing for parents are the laws, and that all states are different. if all states followed all the same qualifying guidelines, it would be much easier. the curriculum is not only different per state, but also per district. those test results are a different reflecting depending on where you live.
my view of my own public school system? honestly? my son doesn’t attend there, our 2nd to last IEP meeting was scary and No Child Left behind was clearly not being practiced! I located an alternative school setting, and this coming school year (is 3rd year attending) is the first of those ‘tests’. we talked in April about how they would be able to accommodate him to be as successful as possible to his ability.
it’s all in the effort of educators and I have to say it, a budget.

June 29, 2007 at 6:00 pm
(3) Cynthia Whitfield says:

My state (Oregon) was listed as one of the states with a good report card. Hah! Many parents are unhappy with myraid aspects of the special needs system here. They may know how to look good on paper, but the reality is there are multiple problems with the special needs administration. Parents have to be really savvy to get just half of what their kids need.

I gave up on the system because there was no good placement for my son. He is homeschooling and doing a lot better.

June 30, 2007 at 10:08 pm
(4) Joan says:

I live in Palm Beach County Florida and the special education programs are horrible for children with Autism. I pulled my son out of the public school system because they were restraining him. It only took me one year to find out they were doing this to him and many other children with special needs. When I found out there was Nothing we could do about it we pulled him out of the public school system to keep him safe. He is happy and doing much better now.

July 3, 2007 at 9:17 pm
(5) Janice says:

I live in Martin County, FL and I have been trying to convince the ESE department that my son has more issues than ADHD. It was the district behaviorist who was able to put all of this characteristics together to realize that he has Asperger’s Syndrome. I have a report from a psychologist to confirm this and the district personell, the mainstream consultant and various teachers did not want to provide accommodations that he needed. Everything was a constant struggle…so much so that it was affecting my health. My son hated 6th grade this year. I read the federal education report about how Florida is meeting the IDEA guidelines. The letter from OSEP shows that Florida NEEDS ASSISTANCE in implementing the requirements of IDEA. Yes, I can attest to that. They all talk a good game…but what they don’t know is that a parent knows his/her child better than anyone…What I want to know is how can they live with themselves. They went into this profession to help students and all they do is deny services so that they can justify the very existence of their job. If the department goes beyond their budget they need to cut staff…These staffers are more concerned about their paycheck then about a child’s life. Educaton= life..

July 5, 2007 at 11:49 pm
(6) Julie says:

Janice- I am also in Martin county FL and have a similar experience to yours. This is pathetic!

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