Sunday, March 14, 2010

Red Tape and Rules: It's a Cycle

Once there were schools in this country where no one paid any attention to kids who learned differently. No one talked about dyslexia or any other type of learning disabilities. Teachers and parents assumed that students who learned differently were stupid. And it was wrong. It was a tragedy that those kids got the label "stupid" because they didn't deserve it.

People did address this and for better or worse we got IEPs and Special Education and a lot of regulations meant to help these kids. We have endless meetings and accommodations. Some are very well done and helpful and others make everything worse. What we did gain (maybe at the expense of some general ed students) were valuable services and resources for students who needed.

Now there is the educational buzz going around that teachers just want to label students as learning disabled to make them someone else's problem. I don't know if there are teachers who do that or not, but I have never personally witnessed that. So, it is being said over and over that we can't "label" kids.

I keep being told that students with learning disabilities don't make significant progress. I know that it is not true. Here's the cycle that I see. I have a student who is gradelevels behind, I give them special services and interventions, they make steady progress, they do not come close to catching up, I am not allowed to refer them for testing because of the progress, they go to the next grade and the process repeats.

What do I do? I inform the parents of this student that if there is a parent request for testing our school is legally obligated to test within sixty days. How ridicilous is it that I can't just use my own mouth to recommend testing?


luckeyfrog said...

In our school, the RTI (Response to Intervention) program does a great job of bridging the gap.

I've heard it's not the same everywhere, and I suppose there are still downfalls, but in general the interventions help to show that a student is still significantly behind and we can suggest testing as a "just in case" or "diagnostic" measure.

mrsgee said...

we have to go through a lengthy SAT (student assistive team) process that includes RTI before a student can be recommended for testing. a student must be sat-ed for at least a year before testing is considered, uless there is a parent request.