Monday, January 6, 2014

Weekly Question!

It's time for the Monday question. Each state department of education must have state complaint procedures. In your state how effective are state complaint procedures for resolving systemic issues? We are collecting information on this topic; what have you got?


  1. Thank you Jim for the opportunity to post. I think I have a good one and would appreciate your input.
    In NYC and my son has always been in DOE funded placement since EI, at their suggestion.
    A few yrs back NYC proposed that any child who did not pass the NYS math/english state tests would be provided free tutoring, so I inquired about it since my son had never passed these tests. This was known as the AIS Tutoring Supplement.
    I correctly identified early on that this was not an IEP issue, which only calls for accommodations for the test, not the results. Nevertheless, I went through the proper channels so that I could document the process.
    First the DOE told me he was not a public school student. Ridiculous, that I had to explain that one.
    Then the school said, correctly, that my district was responsible for the coordination of tutoring.
    So I wrote to the Chairperson and I cc'ed the NYS Regional Office for Quality Assurance, Bronx Division, citing discrimination on behalf of SpecEd. students, I ended my query:

    Considering the regulatory authority found within Section 504, Title II, NYS Regs Sec 100.2 ee as well as an OCR directive regarding non-discriminatory practices to disabled students. I am requesting that your office provide me with the precise regulation, policy or procedure that prohibits an otherwise entitled student, but for his disability related placement, from an academic benefit available to all eligible public school students.

    Keep in mind Jim I was asking for all students, so to cover that base I sent a copy to the NYC OCR office too. They naturally deferred since Bronx Division was running point on this, but I got what I wanted, a letter stating that very thing.
    NYSQA called me and requested my paperwork, done. They called repeatedly, in total 3 one hr conversations of dates and times, responses, regulations. I met all deadlines and criteria.
    18 days had passed since they had all the evidence and a man calls me and says, drumroll, NYSQA does not investigate claims of discrimination.
    From the first sentence they were aware it was a discrimination claim, "Why" I asked "do you spend 3 hrs asking questions for a claim you don't cover? I work for a surgeon, when a guy says he has a bad back I don't bring him in, examine him and do paperwork just to look him in the eye and say we don't treat the back."
    So I asked the gentleman from NYSQA for a letter stating what he had told me and the regulation affirming same.
    He declined, "that's what this call is for."
    Long ago I stopped giving out my phone number, to force written correspondence, but this one got by me.

    In the end I went to IHO on a different matter and I piggybacked the discrimination into it. The HO made a conference call to me the day after Sandy to set up the hearing dates, I will never forget how he spoke to the DOE lawyer who was on the line:
    "Have you read this complaint and the parents allegations? Have you seen this evidence? Counselor, do yourself a favor and settle with this family because if this gets before me you are going to wish you had."
    I was happy my son got tutoring at a commercial learning center for several months, but I was sad for all the kids who rightfully deserved it and didn't.

    Thank You

    1. Veronica, Thank you for your comment,