Interesting tidbit from NAMI class tonight

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    A parent in my NAMI Basics class tonight shared some interesting information with the group regarding the ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) impact on special education in our state. She is a counselor within a school district here, and told us that she's been told "unofficially" that under ARRA our state will be pressuring school districts to thin the ranks of their Special Education students with IEPs, reducing the overall number and converting as many as possible over to mainstream classrooms in the next year.

    I don't know how to even verify this information. My particular state is in a horrible financial crisis, so it would not surprise me if this were true.

    Has anyone else heard similar stories?
  2. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I don't know how you could verify the information because frankly, it's illegal to put into writing that the federal government is going to reduce the number of children who qualify for IEPs. Children who qualify for IEPs should be based on need rather than a bottom-line number, according to the law.

    Having said that, there does appear to be a trend across the country to keep Special Education kids in mainstream classrooms rather than move them into self-contained special-ed classrooms. In my daughter's elementary school of 500 students, there is no Special Education classroom, except for a pull-out resource room that a student might have for one classroom period a day. We do live in a huge county school district of 138,000 students so kids with more severe needs are bused to schools/programs that can meet their Special Education needs.

    I will also add that our county is very good at stonewalling. My daughter A never even qualified for a 504 Plan when she was in public school despite documentation of a severe mood disorder (one reason we pulled her out for a private school). And we were not able to prove that my son J needed a more intensive therapeutic program despite the fact that he went through an entire school year not saying one word to a student or teacher. At our IEP meeting last June, the school district said he should have the same placement because he was making "progress." We would have had to sue our school district and decided it was not worth the time or money that we could just put into treatment for J. That's when we sent him to the wilderness program and then to the Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Utah.

    Sorry for the rambling, but this is a hot button for me. While I don't think you can prove that SDs are reducing Special Education services, I think SDs can do it in ways that are not so blatant.
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Even though it is illegal I would actually be shocked if it wasn't put into writing in some school districts and even in some STATES. Many seem to think the federal rulings on IEPs and Special Education are just "guidelines" and NOT something they actually have to follow or do.

    We were TOLD by both our school principal AND the head of the Special Education dept that a certified letter did NOT put timelines into place. They said we had to sign a special permission form to have our child tested to start the timelines. The kicker was that the forms are kept under lock and key at the board building and it is like pulling crocodile teeth to get a form.

    MANY states do stuff like this. I just will be totally amazed if policies do not change to limit IEPs and the scope of them soon.

    It is totally horrible to do this to students and families who truly need help.
  4. lizanne2

    lizanne2 New Member

    Definitel true for our school district. I beggedot have my son back in district at one point. Apparently 'other parents' wrote letters against the idea--i actually saw one letter---- but the school district would not allow.

    Fast forward a few years. New Special Education director who is an administrator from the state Special Education department with only limited teaching experience. Budget restraints meant bringing everyone back to district once I had difficult child in a great school for is the new plan.