Monday, May 21, 2018

Weekly Question!

Now that the Endrew F decision by the Supreme Court has been around for a while, has it made any difference in the education of children with disabilities? #FAPE

Friday, May 18, 2018

Breaking: Illinois Imposes Independent Monitor for Special Education For Chicago Public Schools #CPS #SpEd

On Wednesday, the Illinois State Board of Education took the extraordinary step of imposing a special monitor to oversee special education for my alma matter, the Chicago Public Schools. The corrective action comes after an investigation that found new policies delayed and denied students services that they were entitled to under IDEA. 

Here is a quote from the Sun Times article:
"The Illinois State Board of Education on Wednesday voted to appoint an independent state monitor to oversee Chicago Public Schools’ under-fire special education program.
“The corrective action and recommendations we offered today are the right first step to helping CPS fully serve all children and families,” State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said in a statement. “The common good requires uncommonly good public schools. With the State Board’s action today, the Public Inquiry process concludes, and the road to transformation begins.”
The unanimous vote comes just days after state board officials said CPS has violated federal law protecting special education students.
Last month, ISBE officials found that some of CPS’ special education reforms made during ousted CEO Forrest Claypool’s tenure with help from consultants he’d known for years, “delayed and denied services to individual students” under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Act."
Here is the Sun Times newspaper article. Here is an NPR story on the appointment of the monitor.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Weekly Question!

Now that the Endrew F decision by the Supreme Court has been around for a while, has it made any difference in the education of children with disabilities? #FAPE

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Children With Disabilities Continue To Suffer Disproportionate Seclusion & Restraint and Discipline #seclusion and restraint

Recently released  data on nearly every public school in the nation shows that students with disabilities continue to be disciplined and experience restraint and seclusion at far higher rates than others. Here is a quote from an article in disability scoop
The figures come from the latest data collection from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. It reflects the experiences of more than 50 million students at over 96,000 public schools across the country during the 2015-2016 school year.
The Education Department found that 12 percent of students were served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and another 2 percent under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
However, students with disabilities were affected by various disciplinary procedures disproportionately. These children accounted for 28 percent of referrals to law enforcement or school-related arrests, 26 percent of out-of-school suspensions and 24 percent of expulsions, the report found.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of the estimated 122,000 students restrained or secluded at school had disabilities, the Education Department said. Children served under IDEA represented 71 percent of those restrained and 66 percent of kids subject to seclusion.
Even with the high number of reports of restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities, concerns have come to light in recent months that schools may be underreporting the practice.
“I am aware of this issue, this claim,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told lawmakers during a March hearing on Capitol Hill. “We’ll certainly look into ways that we can continue to insist and ensure that states are appropriately addressing and reporting these situations.”
Separately, the latest civil rights data also indicated that just over 1 in 10 allegations of harassment or bullying that schools received were based on disability, while students with disabilities accounted for a quarter of those disciplined for harassment or bullying.
Denise Marshall, executive director of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, said the findings from the civil rights data are concerning.
“(It) seems clear that our kids continue to be harmed by the failure of the Department (of Education) to take action to address the gross inequities and disparity in treatment,” she said. “How many more generations will it take?”

You can review the OCR Civil Rights Data Collection here. Here is the OCR press release

Monday, May 7, 2018

Weekly Question!

Now that the Endrew F decision by the Supreme Court has been around for a while, has it made any difference in the education of children with disabilities? #FAPE

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Endrew F Supreme Court Decision A Year Later #FAPE #FAPE Standard

An article in Education Week takes a look at the impact of the Endrew F decision a year after it was decided. The article notes that the results of cases hasn't changed much- school districts still generally win. The article notes that the high rate of settlements in special education cases muddies the analysis. {I have been making this point for some time...}

You can read the Education Week article here.

Also note this very cool cartoon of the Endrew F oral argument from the article:

Jeffrey L. Fisher argues at the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of a higher standard for what̢۪s required on behalf of students with disabilities in the case of <i>Endrew F.</i> v. <i>Douglas County School District.</i> The high court ruled unanimously last year in favor of that position.