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Standardized IEPs in New York Prompt Worries


The GothamSchools blog recently posted about a move in New York City to standardize the forms used to create individualized education programs, the blueprint for educating students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

One example of a problem for some advocates:

A drop-down menu gives only two choices for a child’s Behavior Intervention Plan: Time Out Room and Other. “What does ‘other’ mean?” speakers wanted to know, questioning why more positive behavioral interventions hadn’t been specified as options. Since “Other” is vague, the drop-down menu will lead to people defaulting to Time Out Room rather than “the many creative and interesting ways of changing a student’s behavior,” Moroff told me.

The blog author is referring to Maggie Moroff with the organization Advocates for Children of New York. And it seems like I was just blogging about concerns with overuse of "timeout rooms."

Can any readers let me know how common it is for a state to have a standardized IEP form for all districts to use?


I don't know for certain that my state has standardized form. Typically the state codifies what has to be included and then provides a "model" form, which ends up being what everyone uses because they know in advance that it "complies."

I go back and forth about the drop-down menu idea (which I am guessing is not a product of the state, but some vendor who has put the state form into their software?). On the one hand, it can provide an array of appropriately written choices, instead of some of the schlock that folks come up with (example: what will it take for the school to understand that NEEDS means "what does this child need?" and not "what do the adults need (want) this child to do?").

On the other hand, when you introduce a system that a monkey could us to write an acceptable IEP, well... I would suggest, however, that "Time Out Room" does not constitute even an acceptable choice for a behavior intervention plan--which requires a good deal more specificity about what behavior we are intervening in and what it looks like, the acceptable behavior that we are encouraging, and how, setting conditions, time-frames, etc.

Sigh. Hasn't anyone been paying attention?

I went to Due Process over the Behavior Intervention Form (part of the IEP) because the end result would be Office Referral and could result in whatever the person in the office determined. The end result being this form could not over rule the district's student code of conduct, even for a child with disabilities. The Hearing Officer ruled in favor of the school district. My child no longer attends public school.

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