One of the most devastating calls you can receive as a parent is the School calling to tell you they have initiated an expulsion proceeding against your child due to poor behavior. If your child has an Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) before the expulsion process can start they must hold a Manifestation Determination review. This review must be held within 10 days of the conduct. At which time the IEP team must review the complete file and consider all relevant information, including the IEP, any teacher observations, and any information supplied by the parents. The IEP team must then answer two questions: Read the rest of this entry →
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A School District in Alabama decided it was worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees to try to invalidate a Parent’s right to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense that has been part and parcel with the Individual’s with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for decades. Parent’s are at a marked disadvantage when dealing with a School District regarding their child’s Individualized Education Program and Congress was well aware of this when they crafted IDEA. This is why IDEA includes various Procedural Safeguards for the sole purpose of leveling the playing field for Parents who are trying their best to raise a child with a disability and negotiate for an appropriate education for that child. This is why it enrages me when a School District spends money that should have been used to educate students on lawyers when the intention of Congress regarding reimbursement of IEE’s is very clear. Read the rest of this entry →
Dear Members of Congress;
Today all over the United States children with a disability are not being provided an appropriate education via their Individualized Education Program (IEP). While there are many wonderful School Districts there are some that are skirting their responsibility because they know they can get away with it. In these troubled economic times some School Districts are cutting necessary services as a cost saving method knowing that many parents don’t have the means to disagree and file a complaint. The law that governs special education in the United States, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was not meant to shift the balance of power to the school districts but that is what has happened. The fairness was taken from IDEA in 2006 and it’s time to give it back and level the playing field for parents. Read the rest of this entry →
Over the years I have spent a lot of time and energy writing about Teachers and separating them from the School District. In a post in March I wrote:
Learning to separate the School District and the School Personnel (Teachers, Therapists, Aides, etc.) is one of the most difficult lessons to learn. Once you are able to separate the people (school personnel) from the faceless corporation (the School District bean counters) it is not impossible to have a positive relationship with your school and also be a strong advocate for your child. Read the rest of this entry →
Almost six years ago the parents of a child with autism sat in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting and disagreed with the Schools offer of FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). The parents’ felt their child, Chuka Chibougwu, was not being provided an appropriate education and exercised their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to disagree with the School District’s offer and request a due process hearing. This caused the School District to put a bulls-eye on the backs of Mr. & Mrs. Chibougu and try their best to bankrupt this family. The School District that was trying to financially ruin this family was the Alief Independent School District in Texas and the story that played out was nothing short of amazing. Read the rest of this entry →
When establishing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) certain requirements were put in place to help protect the rights of children with a disability and their parents. These protections called the Procedural Safeguards are outlined in 20 U. S. C. § 1415. In my opinion, one of the most important of these safeguards is the Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) which is found in Section 300.502 of IDEA. It States:
(1) The parents of a child with a disability have the right under this part to obtain an independent educational evaluation of the child, subject to paragraphs (b) through (e) of this section. Read the rest of this entry →
Memorandum United States Department of Education
To: Peggy McDonald, Director of the Office of Special Education, New Jersey Department of Education
Through: Alma McPherson, Associate Division Director
From: Susan Falkenhan, OSEP New Jersey State Contact
Subject: Specific Part B Assurance for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2012
Date: March 28, 2012
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) received correspondence addressed to Secretary Arne Duncan, U.S. Department of Education (Department) on December 20, 2011 alleging that the New Jersey Department of Education regulation N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1) regarding Independent Education Evaluations (IEE) violates the IEE provisions in 34 CFR§300.502.
Based on review of the New Jersey regulation, OSEP’s assessment is that N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1) limits the parents’ rights to an IEE by giving the public agency an opportunity to conduct an assessment in an area not covered by the initial evaluation or reevaluation before the parents are granted the IEE. In order to receive its Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2012 Part B grant award, the State will need to provide specific written assurance to OSEP that the State will: (1) Revise New Jersey regulation N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1) to eliminate the provision that, “If a parent seeks an independent evaluation in an area not assessed as part of the initial evaluation or a reevaluation, the school district shall first have the opportunity to conduct the requested evaluation.” (2) Ensure compliance in the interim throughout the FY 2012 grant period with the specific requirements of 34 CFR§300.502; and (3) Send a memorandum to all Local Education Agencies to inform them of the changes to the regulation and the need to comply with the requirements in 34 CFR§300.502.
Attached is assurance language that the State may use to meet this requirement. Please submit the necessary assurance, dated and signed by the official who has authority to ensure compliance with the assurance, as soon as possible.
Please feel free to contact me or Alma McPherson, if you have any questions or concerns.
Cc: Gregg Corr
The New Jersey department of Education hereby specifically assures that it shall:
- Revise New Jersey regulation N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1) to comply with the provisions in 34 CFR§300.502 regarding Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE) by eliminating the language which gives the Local Education Agency (LEA) an opportunity to conduct an assessment in an area that was not part of the initial evaluation or reevaluation before granting the parents an IEE, and submit to OSEP the revised regulation as soon as it is finalized but no later that December 31, 2013.
- Ensure that, throughout the period that the State uses Federal Fiscal Year 2012 grant funds under Part B of IDEA, all LEAs will comply with the provisions of 34 CFR§300.502 regarding IEEs.
- Provide OSEP with a copy of the memorandum notifying all LEAs of the changes to New Jersey regulation N.J.A.C 6A:14-2.5(c)(1), regarding IEEs and the provisions of 34 CFR§300.502
I don’t understand why every time we post an article on Special Education Advisor regarding advocacy or relationships with your child’s school we always get the same type of comments. If the article is discussing how to collaborate with your school or create a positive relationship I receive comments about how utilizing this philosophy would put you in a weak position. On the other hand, every time we post an article about being a strong advocate for your child we get comments about how this is counterproductive to the collaborative nature of the IEP Meeting. Since when did we start living in a universe where you can’t have a positive relationship with your child’s school and be a strong advocate for their needs? You absolutely can do both, but it requires finesse. Before we talk about how to do this I want you to see two of these comments we have received. On the article Top Ten Methods to Foster IEP Team Collaboration we received this comment: Read the rest of this entry →
Probably the most frustrating part of being the parent of a child with a different ability  is the response from the very organization you hoped you could trust the most to do right by your child – your school district. After all, teachers and administrators are trained to adapt the teaching environment to help my child, right? (No.) I pay my property taxes, so I should be able to control how the schools work, right? (You should, yes, but in reality you don’t.)
So what should I do when the school district won’t do what they are supposed to do for my child? Read the rest of this entry →
On January 24th Disability Scope ran an article, Most Parents Pleased with Role in Child’s IEP. The article stated:
In a study looking at the experiences of families of more than 10,000 students with disabilities, the majority of parents said they attended their child’s most recent IEP meeting. And of parents who attended, about 70 percent said they thought their level of involvement in decision making was “about right.” In most other cases, parents said they wanted to be more involved. Read the rest of this entry →