Parents advocate for the welfare of their child. Educators advocate for the welfare of all the children in their school. To be effective, both groups must contribute to an atmosphere of collaboration so all parties can achieve a sense of comfort that their responsibility to the child has been satisfied. But why, then, is there so much conflict in the field of special education? The answer is relatively simple. Conflict in education is usually driven by inadequate information as to the character of the disability involved and the appropriate response.
The following tips will help advocates, families, and educational professionals benefit from the knowledge gained from each perspective. The goal is for everyone involved to understand as much as possible about the child in order to assess how each participant can best address the educational needs of the child.
What is an IEE?
The language regarding IEEs is found in the regulations implementing IDEA. Specifically, the right to an IEE is defined as:
“A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at the public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency. However, the public agency may initiate a hearing under Reg, 300.506 of this subpart to show that its evaluation is appropriate. If the final decision is that the evaluation is appropriate, the parent still has the right to an independent educational evaluation, but not at the public expense.” (34 CFR. Part 300.503 (b)
“Whenever an independent evaluation is at the public expense, the criteria under which the evaluation is obtained, including the location of the evaluation and the qualifications of the examiner, must be the same as the criteria which the public agency uses when it initiates an evaluation.” (34 CFR 300.503 (e)
A new “To The Administrator Addressed Correspondence” letter has been posted on the TEA website:
February 26, 2018
TO THE ADMINISTRATOR ADDRESSED:
SUBJECT: Responsibilities and Timelines Regarding Parent Requests for Special Education Evaluations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Texas Education Code (TEC), and the Texas Administrative Code (TAC).
In late 2016, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) initiated visits to Texas to learn about referral, child find, and evaluation practices within the state’s special education system. On January 11, 2018, OSEP released a final monitoring report detailing its findings1
The purpose of this letter is to:
1. Provide a brief overview of OSEP’s findings
2. Articulate and confirm obligations mandated under IDEA
3. Provide information related to TEA’s next steps
TEA has posted some new documents at https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED/ that provide additional information. We have not reviewed it all yet, but would direct your attention first to the presentation to the state special education directors from their recent meeting in Austin – TCASE Special Education Update presented on 2/20/2018. It gives more information on their plans involving ESCs.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has extended the comment deadline for its online survey soliciting feedback on a draft corrective action plan for special education. The online survey period will now run through Tuesday, Feb.20.
At the direction of Governor Greg Abbott, TEA drafted an initial corrective action plan regarding the support and delivery of special education services in the state’s public schools. The initial draft addresses all issues identified in a recent federal monitoring report, including the proper identification of special education students and assuring access to appropriate services at the local level.
The survey, which is available on the TEA website (https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED), is open to anyone wishing to provide input on the draft plan. It is one part of TEA’s ongoing outreach effort to hear from special education students, families, educators, advocacy groups, district and school officials, and all others seeking to provide input on the plan.
The survey takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete. To fully understand and effectively respond to the questions in the survey, participants are encouraged to first read TEA’s draft corrective action plan.
Following this initial round of public comments, a revised draft plan will be available in early March. Additional public comment will be accepted through March 31.
To review the draft plan, visit the TEA website at https://tea.texas.gov/TexasSPED.
View the original TEA news release >
Sometimes my daughter comes home from school and reports that she did not have time to finish her reading or math tests at school. We agreed at her IEP meeting that she will have extended time to complete all tests and daily work, but I’m worried that this is not happening. How can I address this issue with the school?
This question is one that many parents ask. Your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of services and accommodations the school provides for your child. Services and accommodations, such as extra time for work or for testing, are based on evaluation that identifies your child’s educational needs. As a parent, it is important that you feel comfortable with what the IEP team agreed upon, and you must be kept informed that services and accommodations are actually being provided to your child. The following are some useful steps that parents can take to be sure that the IEP is implemented as it is written.
First, check your child’s IEP. Are the accommodations you are concerned about specifically listed, including when they will be provided or under what circumstances? Does the IEP actually state that extra time to complete work will be provided each day, or, does it say something like “accommodations will be provided when the teacher determines they are needed?” Language is very important. Unless the IEP specifies when the extra time will be provided, parents and teachers may find themselves at odds over whether an accommodation is needed for a specific task.