Information for parents of disabled children

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Separation of schools and experts; Advisory committees are getting left behind.

The Great Seal of the State of IndianaImage via WikipediaThis article is about the interlocal change over in Perry Township, but it's about far more than that. It's about a movement in Indiana to keep schools and school boards for Special Education schools separate from the vital information they need to do their work.

Parents and advocates are increasingly "disinvited" from participating in official capacities. The RISE Learning Center Stakeholder Committee was dissolved at the first opportunity and replaced with "PTA" interaction, however the PTA has no advocacy arm at that school and less to say on special needs issues than your average goldfish. How was that an even swap?

Southern Indiana's Greater Clark County Schools has a Gifted Ed Advisory Committee. Muncie school districts have parent advisory committees. Yet, in meetings with parents, Bill Dreibelbis and other school officials of Perry Township continually tell PTA members and leaders, "It's just not done". Gentlemen, it is done. Where people want good, actionable intelligence, they find sources. Without it, you're likely to go off-mission.

Parents and advocates are the experts. Teachers are the experts. Yet, increasingly, advisory committees are passed over and school boards are shrinking the influences of regular citizens in the policy making process. This has far reaching impact on the future of all education, but particularly special ed. Frankly, to continue with the metaphor, we may be headed for a Charlie Foxtrot of epic proportions.
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