Sep 8, 2008

SOS: Missing the Mark in Special Education !

A Plea for Help !

After my essay in the mail titled: No Special Education Teacher for You !- I received the attached email from a teacher in DC. I think that this email deserves front page billing. "I am a pre-kindergarten teacher in DC. I transitioned a child to Ferebee Hope’s kindergarten program this school year. The child has an IEP which clearly states that he should be in a small class setting, OT, speech and language services, and individual instruction. The kindergarten classroom teacher at Ferebee Hope DOES NOT have an educational assistant, the classroom has at least 28 children enrolled and the special education resource teacher works with children from grades 1-3 ( NO early childhood special ed. teacher). This placement has the potential to ruin this child’s life. I will not sit back and allow DCPS to do a disservice to our children." Posted by Candi.


Anonymous said...

Candi: Thanks for your advocacy for special education !

Anonymous said...

This should be brought to the attention ASAP of Ferebee-Hope's new principal, who is knowlegable and dynamic.

Anonymous said...

I think the principal of Ferebee-Hope knows first hand of this sad situation. She has to live it day to day, but she cannot do anything about it. These decisions, like so many other half-baked decisions....come from downtown.

Anonymous said...

Shaw and Hart; Moten and Patterson (Or: How a funding algorithm lost its way in Ward 8):

So, the chancellor says that Shaw got more funds than Hart because of Shaw’s autism program. Let’s see if that’s holds up with Moten and Patterson.
In late October of this school year, Shaw had 13 autistic children and Hart had none, but while Shaw had one (1) ED child, Hart had 24 ED students. W
Maybe someone can tell us if that was a factor in the disturbances several months ago.

The Shaw autism explanation falls apart when looking at the Moten – Patterson comparison. Both schools have almost identical enrollment numbers, around 450. Moten, the better funded school, has no autistic students, while Patterson, which received $2269 less per pupil than Moten, has seven (7).

There must be a hidden algorithm. If the autistic children at Patterson received the same level of service as those at Shaw, the rest of the children had to share a much smaller pot of money.

So, why didn’t the chancellor respond to reports of inequitable funding at Hart and Patterson in September or October?

Could the real reason be that Shaw was going to be the model restructured middle school and that the chancellor’s money people did know what they were doing and were just doing exactly as they were told?

The total Special Education Population in October was:
Shaw: 82
Hart: 133

The numbers of sped students requiring specialized services are those whose IEP's include:
Autism, Emotional Disturbance, Mental Retardation, Hearing, Speech/Language, and Visual and sometimes other categories.
The totals for those categories are:
Shaw: 33
Hart: 46

The numbers and categories at Moten and Patterson challenge the chancellor's explanation.

The numbers of sped receiving those same specialized services at Moten and Patterson are:
Moten: 17 (total sped: 34)
Patterson: 23 (total sped: 49)

Despite equal enrollment numbers, a larger sped population, a larger number of specialized needs students than Moten, and seven autistic students to Moten’s none (zero), Patterson got $2269 less per student. If one attempts a very rough comparison between Patterson and Shaw (since Shaw was proposed as the standard for autistic students), the gap more than doubles to $5816.

Anonymous said...

"INCLUSION" is a poor way of dealing with the increasing numbers of special education students. This is one of the problems of having a person in charge who only feels that TFA's and DCFELLOWS's programs are all the education needed to be effective teachers. Total inclusion is such a diservice to spec. educ. students and regular educ. students. As an educator and the grandparent of a special educ. child, I know that this "one size fits all" approach does not work for all identified spec. educ. students. If there is no training, and inadequate support staff in place then everyone has been set-up for failure. Our school in the begginning of the school year had total inclusion until maybe, at about the fourth week of school the spec. educ. teachers were told to start pulling students to meet the hours that were written on IEP's. Unfortunately we only had 2 certified teachers dealing with 49 or more students ( numbers are constantly increasing) in the building. Of course it was impossible to meet the hours of most students, so consequently we have had serveral meetings with advocates and lawyers about not being in compliance. Once schools are in total inclusion mode as mandated by the systems, I forsee many, many more lawsuits. Knowing the disability of my grandchild I know that she would not be able to function effectively in a total inclusive classroom. Unfortunately I had several spec. educ. students who simply shut down at various times of the day because of the normal distraction in a classroom routine. Hopefully before the students return in the fall, there will be some more thought givens to total inclusion.