Showing posts with label special education. Show all posts
Showing posts with label special education. Show all posts

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Vigilance required when looking out for the needs of special education students


There have been several people who have commented on the blog about the problems in the District 150 Special Education Program. For that reason, I thought this article would be of interest.

Special Education, Spurned Teacher Is Vindicated
A passionate fellow, this teacher warned his principal last fall that their Bronx public high school was routinely violating the rights of the most vulnerable children, those in need of special education.

For speaking up, Mr. Lirtzman — who served as a deputy New York State comptroller before turning at age 53 to public-school teaching — saw his career ground to dust. He was denied tenure, and the principal, Grismaldy Laboy-Wilson, asked him to leave immediately. When he took his worries to the investigative arm of New York City’s Education Department, the investigators opened a file on him instead. His vindication arrived in the mail in June.

The State Education Department investigated his charges and sent him a copy of its report. It sustained Mr. Lirtzman’s allegations, one violation of state regulations after another.

High school administrators had put unqualified teachers in charge of special education classes. They pushed these students into classes crowded with general education students.

And most egregiously, when faced with teaching vacancies, the administrators brought in a conga line of substitute teachers on “rotating” one-week stints to teach special education classes. That treads perilously close to educational malpractice.

The city’s Education Department evinced little interest in Mr. Lirtzman’s allegations in May. Now a spokeswoman says it has commenced its own investigation.

The Council of School Supervisors and Administrators, which represents principals, argues that the fault lies with the city’s Education Department, which imposes budget cuts and ever more demands on principals. 

Higher-ups, they say, approved Principal Laboy-Wilson’s decisions, including placing substitute teachers in special education classrooms on a rotating basis. The principal, they say, is not at fault.

“You’re going to find that the mistakes they make up above are landing on the heads of my members,” said Ernest A. Logan, the council’s president. “This is a case in point.”

Let’s posit, as it is true, that Mr. Logan and his staff are intelligent advocates who often stand at the forefront of fighting the most unreasonable aspects of the Bloomberg Education Revolution. They offer a properly stout defense of their members. And they passed along internal department memos that indeed show education officials have turned a blind eye to special education violations, and have directed principals to make do in ways that skirt these regulations.

But those words — “inconsistent special education guidelines” — are a not-so-lovely euphemism for violating the rights of underserved children. Source

Related...
Superintendent Grenita Lathan being blamed for problems in San Diego Unified's special education program
Hope for parents whose children are tracked into special education
District 150 addressing discipline for disabled students School Board puts new policy on display after warnings from state

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hope for parents whose children are tracked into special education

If this case sets a precedent for similar cases around the country, maybe it will highlight the problem of black students that are placed in special education and remedial courses without merit - sometimes students that are significantly ahead of their peers but are misunderstood for cultural differences.



Landmark Trial Could Set Precedent for Black Students Tracked to Special Education

Black parents are often skeptical when their children are placed on a special education track.

Sometimes students legitimately need extra attention, but other times students have been misplaced, often just mischievous and acting out because they are not being challenged academically.

Eight parents in Lower Merion County in suburban Philadelphia have decided to fight on behalf of their children and other African American children they felt were improperly classified as special education or placed in "low-expectation" courses. They filed a class-action lawsuit against their school district three years ago and the trial will begin November 1, 2011.

It is a major achievement because prior to setting a trial date, a judge ruled that each case should be handled individually. But Jennifer R. Clarke, executive director of the Public Interest Law Center, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, had bigger objectives:

"We want to establish a more objective method of identifying children for special education and also a different way in which children are being tracked into different courses..particularly so early on and particularly in math but also in other courses. We want parents to understand more about the process. And the changes we seek also have to do with how teachers and administrators treat African American kids. We know that if they have high expectations, the students will live up to them, and if they have low expectations, the students will live down to them."

The district defended itself saying that no students have been placed in special education that were not found eligible to receive services and whose parents that did not approve in writing that the services be provided. They also argue they have adopted measures to address the achievement gap, including a Minority Achievement Program that has yielded significant gains in achievement.

But parents say while they are pleased with some of the achievements, they have only provided a band-aid solution to the problem.

If this case sets a precedent for similar cases around the country, maybe it will highlight the problem of black students that are placed in special education and remedial courses without merit - sometimes students that are significantly ahead of their peers but are misunderstood for cultural differences. Source