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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No One Fails Anymore…

(I’m probably going to get flamed for this but…)

The Individualized Education Program (IEP), mandated by the “Disabilities Education Act”, is supposed to address kids who have delayed skills or other disabilities that make learning or functioning in a school environment difficult.

I’ve subbed classes with IEP kids before and I truly feel for the well behaved 4th grader that tries real hard to do the “individualized” 2nd grade math problems and still doesn’t “get it”. The more serious disruptive behavior cases often have a personal aide that attends class with them and will handle the issues that come up.

But, like any government program, I suspect that the “IEP” can be misused as an excuse for just plain lazy, careless work.

I just completed a 2-day stint with group of friendly, good natured, cooperative 5th graders at the country club school. But there always seems to be at least one “goof ball” who isn’t quite with the program. Let’s call him “Dave” for anonymity reasons.

Dave is also friendly, cooperative, and good natured but doesn’t do any work. If pressed, he can do the work with constant prompting but on his own, when my back is turned, he spends his time in class drawing posters. He has an IEP.

His IEP (briefly explained on the lesson plan) allows him to complete only about half the homework and/or class work. The problem with Dave is that he hasn’t done even the half he is supposed to do.

Now I’m only guessing but given the nature and make up of the school, I suspect that Dave’s low performance isn’t up to the expectations of his highly successful parents and therefore it must be a bad school or some medical condition as a reason for their son’s poor performance. Since the school is one of the highest rated schools in Calif, the problem must therefore be “medical”.

No one is simply allowed to fail anymore.

For more on (possible) misuses of the IEP program, check out the Untouchables on Buckhorn Road

6 comments:

Beverly said...

I've been frustrated at this as a student teacher. Whatever happened to consequences? If you don't complete the work, we can't assess your growth. I can't believe that letting them go on, but only have to do part of the work, is the answer.

Mr. W said...

I have a ton of stories about special ed & IEPs on my blog. Talk about a misuse, how about the one that changed my grade scale to 50% HW & 50% tests when the department has a 75% test 25% homework split. If that wasn't bad enough, the student wasn't even qualified to be in the class. They should have been placed in a pre-requisite class. And what happened when the student didn't pass with a C or better first semester? They mysteriously transferred out of my class.

How about the one student that had an IEP that said that we couldn't search his bag without calling his parents first. Why? He might have accidentally put something in his bag that could get him in trouble.

Let's here it for IEPs. Just one more thing that the average American has NO clue about.

The Bus Driver said...

I hated having an IEP in highschool. My IEP allowed for extended time on work and for extended time on tests/quizzes. Yes I needed some of these things SOME of the time... but i distinctly remember not taking advantage of the IEP simply because i did not want to be singled out for something different.

Not only that, by taking advantage of the extended time on tests, it meant i had to take the test to the IEP sped teacher i was assigned, take the test in THAT classroom and HOPE the test made it back to the teacher. The main reason for a classroom change was because of "distractions". I often found that the TEACHER kept a quieter and less distractive environment than the IEP teacher because in the IEP room, there were kids there who insisted on being disruptive. How the heck was i going to get any work done there!?! i may as well have just stayed in the classroom!

KauaiMark said...

(Apologies Mr. A, accidentally deleted your comment. Reproduced here:)

Mr. A. has left a new comment on your post "No One Fails Anymore…":

Thank you for writing this... I've been thinking about it a LOT lately, but don't have the balls to write about it (my administration has discovered my blog...).

'I’ve subbed classes with IEP kids before and I truly feel for the well behaved 4th grader that tries real hard to do the “individualized” 2nd grade math problems and still doesn’t “get it”. The more serious disruptive behavior cases often have a personal aide that attends class with them and will handle the issues that come up.'

How is it fair that the kid who bites, kicks, spits, and throws things gets ONE ON ONE attention and help from an aide, while the sweet little girl who can't speak because she has severe disability or the little boy who was neglected as a baby and has trouble with his body (both are VERY well behaved) get NO aides and very little help.

GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

HappyChyck said...

In the last few years, I have seen these frustrating situations with 504 plans, too. The biggest adjustment I see is for students to have more time to do assignments or leeway to turn in work at any time. This is frustrating because it is often for students with ADD and ADHD, and it appears to disable them further by never enabling them to cope with their disabilities. I'm okay with students getting more time when they need it, but when they sit and do nothing all day long, knowing that they don't have to do anything in the moment, it's maddening.

chrissyrudd said...

I've ran into this a lot in my subbing too. I can't stand it. IEPs, especially for those who don't need them, are a great way for schools to make money. There are kids who need it, but they are often being used. I know I could have a job in a heartbeat if I took a sped position, and worked on that endorsement. A lot of teachers take it as a foot in the door, but I just can't do it. I'm morally opposed to it. And how sad, Mr. A, that you are repressed in expressing your professional opinion, even on your private blog.

Sigh... maybe it's time for me to look for another profession.