Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Federal education officials are warning schools across the nation NOT to use STALL TACTICS when it comes to evaluating children

As I have visited buildings across the district, I have heard many concerns regarding the SIPP process. Below I have copied and pasted an article which I found interesting.
From: – February 2, 2011

Written by: Michael F. Shaughnessy -
Eastern New Mexico University
Portales, New Mexico
Every once in a while, something comes along that is so important, that I am going to reproduce it almost word for word and cite the link below. The title of the article is, “Schools Warned About Delaying Special Education Assessments”, and it was posted today, Feb 1, 2011. It was written by Shaun Heasley and appears in CEC SMART Let me re-print it here, with some italics that I will put in, and some words in CAPITAL LETTERS that I will put in also.

"Federal education officials are warning schools across the nation NOT to use STALL TACTICS when it comes to evaluating children who may have a disability."
In a letter sent to state directors of special education late last month, Melody Musgrove who heads the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs said she is aware that some schools may be using an educational approach known as “response to intervention” as reason to “delay or deny a timely initial evaluation for children suspected of having a disability.” Such a delay is unwarranted, Musgrove said.

Response to intervention is an approach employed by schools to improve academic outcomes for children who are struggling. The technique focuses on pinpointing students who may need help and provide appropriate interventions, which are closely monitored.
Some consider the technique helpful in identifying students who may need special education services, particularly those with learning disabilities.

However, Musgrove makes clear in her letter that while information gathered through response to intervention can be used to determine if a child has a disability, using the method in and of itself is not reason to keep a child from receiving a disability evaluation, especially if a parent has requested one.” The above is from 2011 Disability Scoop , LLC, All Rights Reserved.

This is a quite timely topic inasmuch as many teachers who were trained ten, fifteen or twenty years ago, may not know how to do a valid , reliable, research based “Response to Intervention”. This is important because some children, due to whatever reason are quite frequently absent, and thus a valid “response to intervention “ protocol cannot be implemented or evaluated.

This is critical because time lost and time wasted can never be regained. Children’s self-esteem, self-concept and self-worth can be impacted by repeated difficulties, stress and failures.

Schools should not be retaining students when there are school psychologists and diagnosticians out there who can do testing. Let’s not leave any child behind and do repeated interventions that seem to be ineffective or ineffectual. And no one should be “dragging their feet” and delay needed assessments.