How the Betsy DeVos Nomination Could Effect Students with Disabilities

Scott Sargrad’s article in the U.S. News explains how Betsy DeVos is a danger to students with disabilities. Scott Sargrad is the managing director for K-12 education policy at the Center for American Progress. Prior to joining the Center for American Progress, Sargrad served as the deputy assistant secretary for policy and strategic initiatives in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Please see link below for entire article. http://www.usnews.com/opinion/knowledge-bank/articles/2017-01-19/students-with-disabilities-deserve-better-than-donald-trumps-betsy-devos

Texas Schools and Districts Received Their Letter Grades

Texas schools and districts received their letter grades from the state for the 2015-2016 accountability ratings last week. The letter grades received are what schools and districts would of received if the new rating system had of been in place. The letter grades do not take the place of the accountability rating received in August for 2016.  The new rating system goes into effect August 2018. The new report rates schools and districts in four domains: D1: Student Achievement D2: Student Progress D3: Closing Performance Gaps D4: Postsecondary Readiness You can search for your particular school and district to learn of their assigned letter grade at the link below. http://www.statesman.com/news/local-education/texas-schools-and-districts-got-their-letter-grades-from-state/06y5h5VGHqhfgcAozpXh7I/

Examples of Procedural & Substantive Violations Committed By School Districts

Two major types of IEP errors are most common, procedural and substantive. Procedural obligations compel school personnel to follow the specific requirements of the law when developing an IEP.  The substantive obligations of IDEA require IEP teams to develop and implement a plan that is designed to provide educational benefit for the student. Below are examples of procedural violations: Failure to give notice of rights, planned meetings through prior written notice. Failure to adhere to state-mandated timelines. Failure to allow the parents to meaningfully participate in the IEP development process & educational decision making. Failure to conduct & complete individualized evaluations. Failure to ensure that all the necessary team members attend IEP meetings. Failure to devise an appropriate IEP based on the child’s individual needs. Failure to implement the IEP as written. Failure to provide education and services in the least restrictive environment, based on that child’s individual needs. Failure to maintain proper records. Failure to train staff and aides in the child’s areas of disability. Failure to train parents in the child’s areas of disability. Predetermining placement and services before the case conference committee meeting. Failure to provide records within 45 days when requested by parents. Failure to offer extended school year services to the child, resulting in regression of skills during the summer vacation that cannot be recouped quickly. Failure to allow the special needs child to participate in extracurricular activities to the same extent as his non-disabled peers when the child could participate with accommodations provided by the school. Failure of the school to prevent punishment of the child for actions or inactions that are manifestations of the child’s disability (caused by the child’s disability). Failure by the school to notice that the child was one in need of special education or services, despite evidence that the child was struggling academically or behaviorally. Below are examples of substantive violations: Failure to assess the student’s academic and functional needs. Failure to develop annual goals based on student needs. Failure to write goals that are complete, appropriate, and measurable. Failure to provide special education and related services that are effective and based on peer-reviewed research. Failure monitor the student’s progress toward his or her goals and make instructional changes when necessary.

Part Seven of the Houston Chronicle article “Denied” has been Published: Texas’ Special Education Cap Drives Families Out of Public Schools

There is a new installment of the Houston Chronicle article “Denied”. Part seven explains how some families have been driven out of Texas public schools. Below are links to all seven parts of the Chronicle investigation. A Chronicle Investigation About this series Part 1: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of children out of special education Part 2: Schools push students out of special education to meet state limit Part 3: Mentally ill lose out as special ed declines Part 4: Facing pressure to cut special education, Texas schools shut out English Language Learners Part 5: Unable to get special education in Texas, one family called it quits and moved to Pennsylvania Part 6: Houston schools block disabled kids from special education Part 7: Special ed cap drives families out of public schools Severely disabled: In Texas, even blind and deaf children can’t always get special education Explainer: How we know the reason for the drop in Texas special ed students