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Oklahoma Orders Tulsa District to Review All Students' Special Education Plans

The Tulsa, Okla., school system will be required to review students' individualized education programs and retrain staff in IEP writing, after a parent complaint revealed that a school in Tulsa was using the same educational goals verbatim on multiple IEPs. 

The decision from the Oklahoma State Department of Education gives the 40,000-student district until the end of April to review all IEPs, and until the end of August to train all staff on creating individualized goals. 

The state investigation, which concluded in March, focused on one of the district's schools, Edison Preparatory, which serves students in grades 6 through 12. Teachers there said in interviews with the state that they used cut-and-paste to create IEPs, removed information from IEPs after they had been signed by parents, and held IEP meetings without an administrator or general education teacher present. 

The IEPs reviewed by the state also repeated goals verbatim. For example, 152 IEPs had reading goals. The goal "students will read and comprehend increasingly complex literary and informational texts" appeared 60 times. 

Of the IEPs reviewed, 113 had "written expression goals." The goal "students will develop and strengthen writing by engaging in a process that includes prewriting, drafting, revising, editing and publishing" appeared 59 times. 

Carmon Pool Drummond, the parent whose complaint to the state led to the decision, told the Tulsa World newspaper that the problem reflected a failure at the district. "I know it's wrong, but the teachers don't know it's wrong," she told the newspaper.

Click for more coverage of parent engagement in schools.

District administrators said in the Tulsa World article that they were already working on identifying gaps in special education programming. "We are making changes because it's what's right for kids. The complaint just magnifies the scope of the work," said Robin Emerson, the district's director of special education, told the newspaper. 

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