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A bad IDEA

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The parents of a “regular kid” with anger issues are trying to coax a Minn. school district to foot the bill for a $60,000 per year private education, wrote IB a Math Teacher, who works in the school, in his blog, Three Standard Deviations to the Left.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), school districts must pay for special-needs children’s private education if they cannot provide appropriate education.

IB a Math Teacher, however, says the student has no learning disabilities and that he and other faculty are “certainly doing all [they] can for this kid by keeping a good eye on the IEP [Individualized Education Program].”

Referring to a recent Supreme Court ruling affirming that New York City schools has to pay for private education for a wealthy businessman's son, he adds:

This is what the family has been waiting for. The good people of Minnesota will end up paying this family the $60,000 per year they want so that they can send their child who doesn't respect them far away from home for four years.


6 Comments

Sure they'll pay. This has been building for decades - parents of fairly "normal" kids are get free private school tuition by finding a psychologist somewhere who'll "diagnose" their kid with some "disability."

My favorite disability is "ODD: Oppositional Defiance Disorder." Basically, it means kids don't want to do what people tell them to. It seems to start at age 2 and build from there. BIG SURPRISE.

Grrr.

Mary

I clicked on the link and then poked around this teacher's blog. This guy has some major issues. On the one hand he claims to be "walking on eggshells" to avoid a lawsuit from this "normal kid's" parents (kid has an IEP). On the other hand, he sent a bill to an outside evaluator (I believe it was a psychiatrist) who asked that the teacher provide information using a standardized tool (don't know which one--only that it had 200 questions). I wonder what his contract says about that?

I don't know if he actually sent the nasty letters to the other professional or if he just posted them to his blog.

One of his gripes about the kid's parents (kid, by the way, scores in the teens on standardized tests, but has a 3.9 GPA--think there's much rigor in those classes?), is that they keep in touch (sent an email a week after a meeting! scheduled an IEP meeting before school started!) and provide information about their homelife (family has just moved into the district, dad has started new job).

BTW--he refers to this "normal kid" as "Explosive Child," which doesn't exactly support his case that the kid doesn't have things to deal with. Throws in the additional information that kids is adopted (which raises possibilities of abuse/neglect at an early point in life, attachment difficulties, lack of prenatal care or drug exposure).

One responder on the blog asked if the teacher could sue the parents for "harassment."

And you wonder why they might consider a placement outside the public system!

Margo/Mom:

I'm not sure if you've read my post correctly.

As far as sending a bill to an outside evaluator, I think any business would do the same thing...why should I provide information to a person who is going to charge the parent for the information I provide?

Perhaps you didn't read my entire letter to the psychologist, but my main point is that the hour that I spend filling out the questions does not help me as a teacher...I never get the results - not even any information on how the diagnosis might help me as a teacher help the student in class. As far as being nasty, I don't think that they were.

The point about the "normal kid" vs "Explosive Child" is that the parents of the kid, who almost anyone who would evaluate as being normal brought me the book "The Explosive Child". He's not explosive as far as anyone on the staff can tell - he's exhibited no behavior that would be considered as such. So, I call him the "Explosive Child" just because that is what the parent wants us to believe.

As far as the IEP meeting before school started...it wasn't an IEP meeting. It was their lawyer coming in and telling us that the staff is not providing for their child before he was enrolled....none of us knew anything about these people. Now, would you go into a new school where you've never been before and tell the staff that they aren't doing enough for their child that has never spent a day there? And you think I have major issues?!

Now a little about you...do you know the kid? "kid, by the way, scores in the teens on standardized tests, but has a 3.9 GPA--think there's much rigor in those classes?" Since we've just began the first quarter of school and he's a freshman, he has no GPA. And I teach at a school that is in the top ten of math scores in Minnesota despite the fact that we have a much larger minority population than the state as a whole, so our classes are rigorous. And, yes, we do expect lots from kids who come into our classes, that's why we don't like parents that come in and make excuses for why their kids aren't performing when we see in class each day the reason why they aren't - laziness.

Hey IB--While many business charge for the work that they do, I don't know any that would hold still for an employee sending their own bill for that work. I would suspect that your district has similar restrictions on peddling your insight about students on your own--if they don't, they certainly should. My point here was that this behavior certainly doesn't sound like someone "walking on eggshells" in order to avoid a lawsuit. Also, following the normal course of events with an outside evaluator, the resulting report does become a part of the student record, generally submitted by the parents so that the district can adequately plan for and meet their student's needs. You may want to also look at the current issue of Scientific American--it has an article regarding genetic influences on explosive behavior--suggesting a link to prenatal influences, something often present with kids who are adopted (removed from families of origin due to abuse or neglect).

I may have misread--perhaps you were speaking of another student when you complained that the parents were upset that their child (I think that the point you were making was that they weren't disabled, just sort of lacking in intellect) had a 3.9 GPA but scored in the teens on standardized tests?

I don't know what specific qualifications you may have in diagnosing learning or behavioral disabilities--I do know that as a parent of a student with both (diagnosed both within and independent of the school system), I would be very reluctant to have my student in a classroom with a teacher who expresses such hostility to both students with disabilities and their parents.

I agree with Mary. This issue has gotten out of hand. A local school system near my home has started to offer for ANYONE to get tuition assistance if they wish to send their kids to private schools. The schools in the area are some of the top in the state.......why waste taxpayer money to send a normal child somewhere that will possibly provide a lesser quality education than the one provided be the state????? It's aggrevating
Josh

Students with learning and/or emotional disorders often experience discrimination. Their families, too, can be the brunt of affiliative stigma (see Goffmann). If it takes a private school to get the appropriate services for a child (and, in my experience it sometimes does), then so be it.
It has also been my experience that public school systems are alarmingly misinformed about the needs of exceptional learners, particularly those with hidden disabilities. Mental disorders and learning disabilities are real disabilities. The civil rights of students with these disorders are protected by the IDEA.

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