Rethinking Special Education Due Process
Summary of the proposal
Rethinking the Special Education Due Process System is the first repot in AASA’s proposal. The report proposal objective is to address issues linked to the current statute on top of the projected developments. The proposal aims at sparking a sophisticated critical analysis about necessary changes that should be made to the special education dispute resolution system. The report project that changes to the new current special education system could significantly cut down several costs that are associated with the system. These are costly litigation that does not inevitably ensure significant educational gains for special education students. In addition AASA’s proposal safeguards the right for guardians to progress with proceedings against district and uphold other valuable disagreement resolution plans that are implemented in previous re-authorizations. This paper seeks to examine the probable effects of the proposal on the structure and function of IDEA (Retrieved from http://www.aasa.org).
AASA feel that this is the appropriate time to reconsider how districts and parents decide upon disagreements over a student’s (IEP) individualized education program. The following are the recommendations that advocates and members of congress should rethink and discuss as indicated in the AASA proposal. AASA proposed addition of IEP to the list of options that a district might apply to solve disagreements with parents with a lawful IEP facilitator. The proposal uphold that mediation remain available to both parties for resolving IDEA disagreements only if IEP facilitation fail.
The proposal also propose that if the mediation failed, the parents and district can choose an independent special education consultant authorized by the state to review evidence of the child’s disability and advise the parties on how to develop an appropriate IEP. The proposal also holds that the consultant body chosen is given 21 days to carry out its duties effectively. Lastly, any party can file a lawsuit incase it is not satisfied with the consultant IEP ruling where model IEP would be considered as part of the record in any litigation.
History of special education law
In 1970, there were 20% of all U.S. students with disabilities in the public schools. The number had increased to 95% in 2010. This is a significant contribution from civil and education rights advocates who ensure that students with disabilities are enrolled in every school in the country. Federal education law was passed three decades ago where there was radical restructuring in America’s classrooms, though the increase in number of students educated in public schools were propelled by federal courts. The court declared that the constitution guaranteed disabled students right of being educated in public schools. Mills v. Board of Education and Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are examples of judicial rulings that supported the enrollment of students with disabilities in public schools (Retrieved from http://www.aasa.org).
In 1975, Congress, under sturdy demands from disability rights educators, advocates, and parents, passed the (EAHCA) Education for All Handicapped Children Act. The statute warranted an additional set of rights to kids categorized as handicapped. Parents were permitted to ask for special education evaluation for their child and retract approval or approval to special education. Parents were also permitted to ask for autonomous education appraisal at public expense, if they disputed with the school district’s exceptional education evaluation (Retrieved from http://www.aasa.org).
Today the due process requirements in the EAHCA are known as Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, are similar to the provisions structured by the court in PARC. There are various reasons for raising questions regarding the present due process structure. The current special education is faced with a lot of disputes regarding the special education services. The districts are inconsistent with IDEA provisions and also the special education being provided is not appropriate to the disabled children (Retrieved from http://www.aasa.org).
Negative and positive impacts of eliminating due process hearings on the current structure of IDEA.
Cost is a critical factor which should be considered when determining whether to avoid a complaint or due process hearing. Eliminating the due process hearing will significantly cut down the cost of parent’s requests. The districts were willing to comply provided that the cost of the parent’s requests was lower. Survey revealed that more than 80% of school management considered costs when determining whether to comply with the parent’s request.
Emotional burden is another factor that school administrators take into account before they consider engaging in the due process hearing. Eliminating the due process off hearing will reduce the stress experienced by special education management, other linked services professionals and special education teachers. Research findings reveal that more 95% of the respondents categorized the stress as high or extremely high. Eliminating the due hearing will help to reduce the rapidly increasing stress of special educators. The researchers found that process hearing was likely to add to the hastily increasing stress of special educators. In deed, few superintendents linked the shortage of special-education-related service administrators, teachers and professionals to the stress associated with the risk of a due process hearing (Gersten & Dimino, 2006).
The positive impact of eliminating the due process of hearing is that it will reduce the cost related to the hearing process. The parent’s requests might be costly such that they incur unreasonable cost to the system. These are some of the aspects that should be eliminated from the current composition of IDEA. The other positive effect of eliminating the due hearing from the existing structure of IDEA is that they will cut down the stress linked to the due process of hearing. This might increase the number of special education teachers, professionals and administrators. Research findings revealed that more than 50% of special schools administrators requested transfers from district special education after being involved in subsequent litigation or a due process of hearing (Giangreco, 2010).
Alternatives that special education leader might consider.
There is an increasing trend of misuse of teacher assistants in most special education systems. The special education leaders might consider developing advanced plans of general and special service delivery in schools to address the issues linked to the questionable teacher assistant utilization. Teacher assistants are not used prudently in general special education classrooms thus as a special education leader it is vital to consider of an appropriate way of utilizing the teacher assistants to meet the need of the students. Teacher assistants are inadequately trained to instruct students with disabilities (Giangreco, 2010).
Resource reallocation is another alternative whereby there should be trade off between teacher assistants and additional special education teachers. Co-teaching is another alternative a special education leader might consider. Co-teaching is a system whereby a teacher and special educator work in the same classroom. Building the capacity of teachers is another alternative which will help to cut down overdependence on teacher assistants. The special education leader might consider employment of dual certified teachers who are certified in special and general education offers improved personnel aptitude for all students.
A peer support is another alternative that a special education leader might consider. Peer support strategies will provide a natural way of helping students with disabilities. The special education leader can also consider teaching self-determination skills as an alternative. Teaching self-determination will help students with disabilities to determine personal supports. The other alternative is improving working conditions for special educators and classroom teachers. The special education leader might explore the changes that are necessary to ensure there is an improvement in working conditions for teachers. In addition the special education leader might consider fading plans. If the students with disability get adequate help from the teacher assistants, a fading plan can be developed which will lead to greater student autonomous and extended innate supports (Giangreco, 2013).
Gersten, R., & Dimino, J. A. (2006). RTI (Response To Intervention): Rethinking Special Education For Students With Reading Difficulties (Yet Again). Reading Research Quarterly, 41(1), 99-108.
Giangreco, M. F. (2010). Utilization of teacher assistants in inclusive schools: is it the kind of help that helping is all about? European Journal of Special Needs Education, 25(4), 341-345.
Giangreco, M. F. (2013). Teacher Assistant Supports in Inclusive Schools: Research, Practices and Alternatives. Australasian Journal of Special Education, 37(02), 93-106.
Rethinking Special Education Due Process. (n.d.). www.aasa.org. Retrieved July 5, 2014, from http://www.aasa.org/uploadedFiles/Policy_and_Advocacy/Public_Policy_Resources/Special_Education/AASARethinkingSpecialEdDueProcess.pdf