Today Allison Hertog and Samantha Carella spoke to the Miami-Dade and Monroe Chapter of the Florida Psychological Association about Helping Disabled Students Obtain their Legal Entitlements: Grades K-12 and Beyond. Ms. Hertog and Dr. Carella spoke for nearly three hours including actual case studies on which they collaborated to help special needs students improve their educational performance. The topics involved advocacy in K-12 public schools as well as helping high-achievers with disabilities obtain accommodations on high-stakes exams. Their PowerPoint presentation is available here. FLPA Presentation
Every so often the government takes a powerful stance on the side of the less powerful. January 21, 2011 was one of those moments. On that date the United States Department of Education released a memo to the State Directors of Special Education stating that schools cannot deny or delay a parent's request for a psycho-educational evaluation of their child if the parent and the school believe that the child may be eligible for special education services. It is pretty unusual for the US Dept. of Ed to issue a memo like that, and it must be that my experience in [...]
As many of you may have heard, last spring the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a study concluding that charter schools enroll a lower percentage of special education students than traditional public schools. The latest is that the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights has deployed “several broad compliance reviews” to address enrollment as well as legal compliance in charter schools, and that some state legislatures have placed enrollment “targets” resembling quotas in charter schools to “fix” the enrollment problem. This GAO report has gotten a tremendous amount of attention over the last several months. Some of that attention [...]
Starting now it will be much harder (in fact, I think nearly impossible in Florida)to get your learning disabled ("LD") child special education services. That said, special ed services historically haven't helped LD kids very much. So, let's hope these changes are all for the good. Children with behavior problems may not receive special ed services as easily as before either.
RtI is a 3-tiered process of increasingly intensive research- based instruction which is part of federal law (IDEA 2004). At the end of the process (Tier 3), students who are still struggling in reading, math and/or behavior will be eligible for special education services (an "IEP"). The theory of RtI, which is to catch struggling students early and provide high quality research-based instruction, is great.