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.
In many instances the Teachers are being put in the horrendous position of either breaking special education law or risk being fired if they speak up. I feel for the Teachers not only because they are being put in this position but because they are also being asked to educate an increasing caseload without being given the appropriate training and supports. While I, and others, have been talking about this for years usually Teachers only discuss this subject in the shadows. They “accidently” run into parents at the grocery store or call from their cell phones after school to guide the parents without the School District finding out.
This changed recently, the California Teachers Association wrote an article called, Is your district breaking special education law? In this article, it is discussed how School Districts are circumventing Special Education law in order to save money. “These disturbing scenes are occurring statewide as districts are using misleading language and changing job titles to save money delivering one-size-fits-all special education programs, according to a new report available to CTA members called “Special Education in California.” In many cases, what is happening violates the state’s Education Code, say CTA staff experts.”
This article is an important call to action that Parents and Educators need to unify and work together to write the wrongs the School District’s are perpetrating all over the Country, not just in California. The article even goes on to describe how School Districts are using retaliatory tactics to scare the Teacher’s into complying:
Last year Yolanda Rodriguez taught 32 students in a third- and fourth-grade combination class. Five of her students were fully included special education students. A general education teacher, Rodriguez received training for students with disabilities in a two-hour presentation after Pomona Unified School District collapsed services and resource programs, leaving no option but full inclusion at nine school sites.
“I had no support,” says Rodriguez, Associated Pomona Teachers. “I had a classroom aide only three hours a week and had to yell to get that. I had no planning time. Finally, I received assistance from a special education teacher for one hour per day.”
During an IEP meeting, Rodriguez told the parents of one student that she did not feel that child’s needs were being met. The principal wrote a letter of reprimand, which was later rescinded thanks to CTA.
This article, while written for Teacher’s in California, is extremely important for Parent’s of children with IEP’s to read in its entirety. Parents need to redirect their anger from the Teachers to the responsible parties in the School District. Until we do that the School Districts will get away with skirting their responsibility and breaking both the spirit and the letter of the law. If the Teacher’s and the Parents work together and protect each other we can make sure all of our children receive a Free Appropriate Public Education.