Monday, December 11, 2017

Weekly Question!

The Endrew F decision has been around for a while now, is it making a difference for children with disabilities? #FAPE

Friday, December 8, 2017

If You Like This Blog, Oppose The End of Net Neutrality #NetNeutrality

The FCC will likely vote to end net neutrality next week on December 14, 2017. The vote will quite probably be a partisan matter- 3 to 2 along party lines. It is not too late to make your voice heard on this matter.

The loss of net neutrality would allow your internet provider to start blocking or slowing your access to certain sites or services, start charging you different amounts for different sites and services, and/or charge sites like this blog just to allow their users to see the site. That may well make it harder for you to get to and read this blog.

Here is a quote from a Lifehacker article about the changes proposed.
"Without net neutrality, internet providers will have the freedom to carve up the internet into slow and fast lanes—and charge companies for access to higher speeds. For smaller startups that can’t afford to pay extra, this could be a death sentence. Even bigger tech giants like Netflix and Amazon may not be willing to pay extra, resulting in slower streaming speeds for some of your favorite shows." "Comcast and Verizon also have media properties of their own (Comcast owns NBC while Verizon owns Yahoo and AOL, to name a few). Without net neutrality, service providers could easily prioritize their own content over competitors. They could even block access to other sites that are critical of them or pose a competitive threat."

Here are some other articles concerning the likely end of net neutrality:
What the end of net neutrality means to you. Here is a link to a Lifehacker article.
Here is an article that includes the FCC's proposed Order ending net neutrality.
If you wish to take action, here is an action website.

The next step will likely be litigation, and as you know it may take a while. Fasten your seat belts!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

OSEP Issues Guidance On The Meaning of Endrew F. #FAPE

The federal Office of Special Education Programs issued regulatory guidance today on the meaning and implications of the Endrew F decision by SCOTUS. The document is in question and answer format. There are twenty questions and answers. {Suggestion for new name: 20 Questions About Endrew!}

To whet your appetite, here are two of my favorites:
15. What actions should IEP Teams take if a child is not making progress at the level the IEP Team expected? An IEP is not a guarantee of a specific educational or functional result for a child with a disability. However, the IDEA does provide for revisiting the IEP if the expected progress is not occurring. This is particularly important because of the Court’s decision in Endrew F., which clarifies that the standard for determining whether an IEP is sufficient to provide FAPE is whether the child is offered an IEP reasonably calculated to enable the child to make progress that is appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances. At least once a year, IEP Teams must review the child's IEP to determine whether the annual goals for the child are being achieved. The IEP Team also may meet periodically throughout the course of the school year, if circumstances warrant it. For example, if a child is not making expected progress toward his or her annual goals, the IEP Team must revise, as appropriate, the IEP to address the lack of progress. Although the public agency is responsible for determining when it is necessary to conduct an IEP Team meeting, the parents of a child with a disability have the right to request an IEP Team meeting at any time. If a child is not making progress at the level the IEP Team expected, despite receiving all the services and supports identified in the IEP, the IEP Team must meet to review and revise the IEP if necessary, to ensure the child is receiving appropriate interventions, special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, and to ensure the IEP’s goals are individualized and ambitious. Public agencies may find it useful to examine current practices for engaging and communicating with parents throughout the school year as IEP goals are evaluated and the IEP Team determines whether the child is making progress toward IEP goals. IEP Teams should use the periodic progress reporting required at 34 CFR §300.320(a)(3)(ii) to inform parents of their child’s progress. Parents and other IEP Team members should collaborate and partner to track progress appropriate to the child’s circumstances. 
16. Must IEPs address the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports? 
Where necessary to provide FAPE, IEPs must include consideration of behavioral needs in the development, review, and revision of IEPs.17 IEP Teams must consider and, if necessary to provide FAPE, include appropriate behavioral goals and objectives and other appropriate services and supports in the IEPs of children whose behavior impedes their own learning or the learning of their peers.  

You can see the press release here. The full question and answer document is available here.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Follow-up RE School Choice: NPR Report #school choice

Following our post regarding the study on school choice by the GAO, there was a report on the study and related matters by NPR.

Part of the NPR story notes that 
"As part of its review, the GAO also interviewed 17 families of students with disabilities. Some said they were happy with their child's private school experience and considered it an improvement over what they'd gotten in public school.
But several families said they wished they had known that a private school could charge them for special education services. And one family was, according to the report, "surprised to learn that teachers providing special education services to their child [in private school] were not trained to provide those services." Granted, 17 families is a small sample size, but NPR has also heard these concerns from parents during previous reporting.
The Education Department points out that it doesn't have the authority to require states to be more transparent — to tell parents about the rights they're giving up when they leave a public school. That's why the GAO recommends that Congress consider stepping in and writing a new requirement."
You can read the NPR report here. NPR's previous report on children with disabilities and voucher programs is available here.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Weekly Question!

The Endrew F decision has been around for a while now, is it making a difference for children with disabilities? #FAPE

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Breaking: GAO Recommends Legislation RE Notice Of Rights of Students With Disabilities In Voucher/Waiver Programs #scgool choice

Growth of voucher and ESA (education savings account) programs has drawn attention to the ways states ensure accountability and transparency to the public and prospective parents. With over half of voucher and ESA programs specifically designed for students with disabilities, there is interest in the information parents receive about special education services and rights when enrolling in a choice program. GAO was asked to examine these topics in more depth.

The GAO found that almost all of the 27 private school choice program websites provide a directory of participating schools and some provide guidance on selecting schools. However, GAO estimates that no more than half of all schools participating in any type of voucher program mention students with disabilities anywhere on their websites, according to GAO’s review of a nationally generalizable sample of websites of private schools in voucher programs. Further, GAO estimates that no more than 53 percent of private schools in voucher programs designed for students with disabilities provide disability-related information on their websites. GAO found private school choice programs inconsistently provide information on changes in rights and protections under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) when parents move a child with a disability from public to private school. In 2001, the U.S. Department of Education (Education) strongly encouraged states and school districts to notify parents of these changes, but according to Education, IDEA does not provide it with statutory authority to require this notification. According to GAO’s review of information provided by private school choice programs, and as confirmed by program officials, in school year 2016-17, 83 percent of students enrolled in a program designed specifically for students with disabilities were in a program that provided either no information about changes in IDEA rights or provided information that Education confirmed contained inaccuracies about these changes. Officials from national stakeholder groups, private choice programs, and Education told GAO that some parents do not understand that certain key IDEA rights and protections—such as discipline procedures and least restrictive environment requirements—change when parents move their child from public to private school. Ensuring that quality information is communicated consistently and accurately to parents can help address potential misunderstanding about changes in federal special education rights.

The GAO recommended that Congress should consider requiring states to notify parents/guardians about changes in federal special education rights when a parent moves a child from public to private school. In addition, GAO recommends Education review and correct inaccurate IDEA-related information provided by states.

Given the current policy debate about school choice and its impact upon the rights of students with disabilities, this is an important study to review. You can read the one page summary here.  You can review the entire 53 page report here.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Weekly Question!

The Endrew F decision has been around for a while now, is it making a difference for children with disabilities? #FAPE