Information for parents of disabled children

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Who watches the watchmen?

A graffiti similar to those who appear on the ...Image via Wikipedia

On February 24 of this year, the South Indianapolis Star ran a story on RISE Learning Center. In it, Anne Davis, who is the director of Indiana's Division of Exceptional Learners, was quoted. 

All parents want the very best they can have for their children. I believe that schools are doing the best they can to provide the best services for their students, but sometimes those two pictures don't match. Everyone comes to the table with the best expectations, but their perspectives change.

This is the woman who defines the state of Indiana's special education. She thinks it's okay, and schools are doing all they can;  except that it's not, and they aren't as a whole. Rise Special Services, soon to be South Side Special Services of Marion County, is chief among the offenders.

Parents can present evidence for how this happens, and have. Procedure gets a little devil-may-care. Parents don't know what's happening and when. Recommendations go unmade and testing undone. Then, the IEP stands with minimal services "offered"to that child. Anne Davis has a responsibility to see that IEPs like this are never written in the state of Indiana. That is best done through the training of administration on those same procedures and making it policy to get testing done as a matter of course.

This year, testing policy was loosened to allow schools to skip it, if it's not needed. It's often unneeded by a school's estimation. This was done, as so often is the case, because of a shortage, schools claim.  Testing puts documentation in the hands of parents and leads directly to program and service decisions. 

This year, Anne Davis also granted RISE Special Services' request for reconsideration of the findings in a complaint found for the family of the student allowing them to skip training for all administrators in Perry Township of Marion County and only train two administrators at the Learning Center.

Special education can be costly, but avoiding the expense now only leads to more expense and loss later, even if you ignore the loss of quality of life for students. We can continue to ignore parents, pretend they are being over-emotional basket-cases, or we can fix the problem, plan for the future and try to serve each individual.
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