I speak to teachers who are getting tired and fed up with these reforms that just throw more and more impossible work on them with negatives thrown at the profession and I tell these dedicated teachers that Race to the Top is about getting rid of dedicated and passionate teachers and replacing them with temporary Teach for America types that will have K-12 looking like university adjuncts----part time business people brought to teach university classes. That is the goal of all of these policies implemented with no rhyme of reason.
THEY JUST WANT TO FRUSTRATE THOSE WHO REALLY CARE ABOUT TEACHING. WHEN YOU HAVE A GOAL OF THIRD WORLD EDUCATION YOU DO NOT WANT PASSIONATE TEACHERS----YOU WANT COGS WITH NO CONNECTION.
Maryland is dismantling all of the public sector including equal opportunity and access for people with disabilities. Baltimore schools are no longer funded to provide for special needs children as they are now on a tiered funding placing special needs children lowest in funding. This means that if your child is special needs you are likely not going to be able to find a school in your community that will accept him/her. When schools operate as businesses as Johns Hopkins has pushed in Baltimore, special needs is too expensive to accept and schools find ways to reject or eject these students. When this happens these special needs students often find there way to underserved schools and are mainstreamed into classrooms where the teachers know nothing about teaching special needs and teachers that have their hands full simply dealing with discipline and students needing learning skills development. You see, there is no recipe for success in these schools----underfunded and having the children needing the most resources. That is what neo-liberalism is all about-----only fund schools with children who can become productive workers. That is how things where done in the dark ages and it is third world mentality. Tracking special needs children into schools where it is impossible for the teachers to provide needed attention simply warehouses children with no disability training waiting after they become adults. In Baltimore, they are returning to having disabled doing simple manual labor and corporations are no longer required to hire disabled because----they are no longer workplace ready.
THE ENTIRE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY AND ACCESS FOR THE DISABLED IS BEING DISMANTLED IN BALTIMORE AND SOON TO BE EXPANDED TO ALL MARYLAND. THIS IS SUPPOSEDLY A DEMOCRATIC STATE.
This is happening because corporations and the rich are no longer paying taxes and the revenue that used to fill state coffers are now going to subsidize corporate profit. STOP ELECTING CORPORATE POLITICIANS. WE DO NOT WANT TO BECOME A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.
Let's see what corporate non-profits with a goal of ending special needs in all schools is doing:
Mainstreaming is good policy.....allowing special needs children to be included in regular classrooms but having special needs classes to augment education development. Consider what happens when the mainstreaming happens in already stressed underserved schools where behavior and learning skills are already the dominate issue for these teachers. Remember, parents of special needs move to a community and the school tells them this community school does not take special needs and sends those parents to a different part of the city to a schools that does----and it is underserved and underfunded. Tens of thousands of Maryland parents of special needs are shouting against turning the clock back to the dark ages of warehousing special needs children and adults. A few schools in affluent communities have the successful model of mainstreaming.....and most others have the failed model.
THIS IS RACE TO THE TOP EDUCATION REFORM-----TIERED LEVELS OF EDUCATION WITH UNDERSERVED RECEIVING LESS FUNDING AND SPECIAL NEEDS EVEN LESS.
Mainstreaming, in the context of education, is the practice of educating students with special needs in regular classes during specific time periods based on their skills. This means regular education classes are combined with special education classes. Schools that practice mainstreaming believe that students with special needs who cannot function in a regular classroom to a certain extent "belong" to the special education environment.
All of this is simply steps taken to end all of disability protections gained from the civil rights and liberties era of the 1960s. Neo-liberals do not want money going to help the working and middle-class----WHO PAY ALL OF THE TAXES---- because they want to use taxes as corporate subsidy. So, dismantling all of equal opportunity and equal access-----A CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT-----brings more money back to profit. Think about how many children are categorized as disabled---it is not only physical----it is emotional and mental disabilities and your child will be tracked into these warehoused schools if testing shows them meeting the term 'disabled'. Remember, the US had one of the strongest programs in education and moving the disabled into the workplace providing wide opportunities in employment before Reagan/Clinton started dismantling public education.
PRE- K /ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TESTING WILL DETERMINE HOW THE STATE (IN BALTIMORE THAT WILL BE JOHNS HOPKINS) CHOOSES TO TRACK YOUR CHILD.
Are mainstream schools doing enough for special needs children? Attending mainstream schools proves to be a double-edged sword for most special needs children because they don't get enoughhelp in class,
writes Elaine Yau
PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 March, 2013, 12:00amUPDATED : Friday, 15 March, 2013, 10:05am Elaine Yau firstname.lastname@example.org
Consider Willie Lam Chi-yung, who recalls secondary school as a blur of disappointments and put-downs. Many teachers found his presence disruptive - he would talk loudly and walk around the classroom at will - so they left him to his own devices. But Willie, 17, couldn't help himself: he had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
"I played all the time at school and the teachers just ignored me," he says. Although diagnosed at age 13, Willie attended a government school in Kowloon where he rarely received the help that he needed. As he advanced to secondary classes, where there were more rules to be followed, his behavioural problems were exacerbated.
Peggy So Sin-lee, his school social worker, says Willie did not mean to make trouble. "He couldn't control his impulses. His parents thought he was just being naughty and boisterous, and did not seek medical help. We arranged for him to visit a private psychiatrist, who made the diagnosis.
"His case was later referred to government psychiatrists, but he only got to see them once every few months, and his condition did not improve at all."
Thousands of Hong Kong students have experiences similar to Willie's.
Dr Kenneth Sin Kuen-fung, an associate professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, says more than 80 per cent of the city's 1,000 mainstream schools now include special needs students.
For every special needs pupil enrolled, schools receive between HK$10,000 and HK$20,000 in addition to annual funding to employ more staff, or pay for specialist services.
"Schools use the extra funding in different ways, with some employing outside speech or occupational therapy services for special needs students. But not all students need the same type of services. Many parents complain their children do not benefit at all, even though each of them is entitled to the extra funding.
"The government made it compulsory for schools to enrol teachers for on-the-job special needs training. But just 20 to 30 per cent of the [50,000] teachers have completed this training so far. Besides, the 30-hour programme hardly equips them to deal with the different kinds of special needs students," says Sin.
Intensive therapy from an early age can work wonders (see box) but few parents can afford frequent private sessions.
The inadequacy of special needs services starts in preschool. Social Welfare Department figures show more than 6,700 children competed last year for 6,230 places on its remedial programme, which is free to youngsters up to age six.
"The period up to six years old is considered the golden time to help special needs children catch up with their peers. Those who miss this window will be handicapped," Sin says.
So argues that with its inclusive policy, the government should make special-needs education part of undergraduate teacher training instead of the current piecemeal approach. Teachers won't be able to devote sufficient attention to special needs students in an integrated class. But the school can gather them for support sessions for help from specially trained teachers.
"The government should also set rules on how the special needs subsidy is used. Now, some schools just use the money to employ more teaching assistants, who have no special needs training and are just assigned to lessen teachers' workload."
Many wind up like Willie Lam, muddling through their school years and unsure about what to do with their future. To fill the gap for special needs assistance in schools, the Hong Kong Family Welfare Society launched a career-counselling programme last year for senior secondary students.
The series of weekly workshops, designed to identify their areas of interest as well as strengths and weaknesses, are complemented by industry visits. Jacqueline Ng Wai-ling, the society's senior manager in youth services, says the aim is to help special needs teens set their life goals.
It has been a revelation for Willie, one of 60 students who have completed the programme so far. Inspired by what he learned about graphic design, he is studying for a diploma in information technology at the Vocational Training Council.
"I like making computer graphics. After talking with the career counsellor, I decided not to go on to Form Four; all those academic lessons don't interest me anyway. I enjoy studying for the diploma," Willie says.
"After I joined the programme, I began to think about my future career. I never thought about it in the past, as no one at school told me anything about jobs."
The transition to adult life is no easier for autistic teens attending special schools. Few are able to keep a stable job after leaving school, even high-functioning autistics, says Christina Chan Ying-ha, of the Heep Hong Society's Jockey Club Parents Resource Centre.
"I have been working at the centre for over 10 years we have never had anyone earn a university degree. Of all my charges, there are not many who can get a job. Many work in sheltered workshops and others continue to receive training so that their ability to look after themselves will not deteriorate," Chan says.
Some obvious traits prevent them from holding a job for long, she says.
"Autistic people tend to have poor social skills. They often mumble to themselves and speak in a loud voice. Not many employers are patient and understanding enough to accommodate such differences."
Chan says training can help them better cope with life as adults. "Social training is crucial. The biological and mental changes that come with adolescence can be a shock. They begin to develop an interest in the opposite sex, but don't know how to deal with it. We need to help them better handle the transition to adulthood. I have seen some get married and have a family, but they are in the minority."
That's why the future is a constant worry for Wan Yan-tai, whose 24-year-old son Wong Ying-ki is autistic.
Although considered high-functioning, she says, "he doesn't know how to talk to people. He keeps talking about his favourite cartoon characters and people think he's a child.
"I am worried that he won't be able to set up a family, although he can take care of himself now. He's always eager to help people. If a person asks for directions on the street, he will go out of his way to take the person where they want to go. But I am worried that he might run into criminals."
Wong showed telltale signs of autism as a toddler - he was obsessed with moving things like wheels and he suffered speech delays.
Despite being diagnosed at age two, Wan says, there was little assistance available for her son's condition. "As a preschooler, he received speech and vocational therapy only every one or two months because places were limited and there was a long queue. I enrolled him in training classes offered by NGOs like Caritas."
He later attended a mainstream primary school, which did not provide any help, so Wan enrolled him in Heep Hong for remedial programmes.
Her son went on to Fortress Hill Methodist Secondary School, which catered to children with severe learning difficulties, but even there the reception could sometimes be unsympathetic.
"His [Form One] teacher scolded him for looking at the fan all the time. He didn't understand why he was different from the others," Wan recalls. That's when she told him about his condition.
"As he grows older, what most worries me is his failure to understand the complexities of life. He's innocent like a child," she says.
Happily, her son seems to be adapting. A hotel internship that was part of a vocational training course run by the Hong Chi Association has led to a job as housekeeper.
"It took half a year for him to relax," says Wan, recalling how his clothes were drenched with sweat when he returned from work because he was so nervous.
"Now he talks to me about his work all the time. I never get complaints from his boss and colleagues. I am glad that he loves his job."
Below you see a letter from a parent in Baltimore that showed how hard it is to navigate the school system and find what are fewer and fewer options for special needs children in the city. The state funding designated as helping special needs students goes to private corporate non-profits and not the schools and these non-profits in turn often do nothing but pretend to be advocating for special needs. Corporate 0private non-profits handling disabled adults in housing and hiring are also taking a pro-advocate stance to moving towards simple warehousing and manual employment. We are losing the best system in the world for supporting all people to be whatever they can be.
'This is my daughter, my sacrifices, the wind beneath my wings, the whole of my heart,my one and only and the catalyst for my advocacy. 3 months ago I posted that my daughter was being bullied in school. The school did not act responsibly & I removed my daughter from school for her safety & to keep me from going to jail.
I stepped down from many of my community efforts to focus on my daughter and my family. For 3 months I studied the history of Balto City's special education & the legislation that is in place to protect our children. I can confidently say that the school system does not take our children's future seriously. My daughter has been out of school for 3 months and no one has contacted me to see if she is alive or dead. I soon realized why it's possible to have such a high percentage of special ed students go from the school system to the prison system and homelessness. It's not just the school system's fault, parents have to start showing up & representing their children. We have a small window of time to set the stage for our children's future.
My daughter will began attending her new school on Monday for an appropriate safe education. If this could happen to us, an informed parent & special education advocate; imagine what could happen to a parent that is not showing up. The disparity and heartache I endured as a parent, brought me to my knees so many times. I was preparing to leave Maryland in order to give my child the best there was to offer. I never ask people to pray for me because I believe my relationship with God & Universe is solid, but I asked a new to pray for me because my spirit had broke. I don't want another parent's spirit to break while wanting better for their child. Though some in the community may be disappointed, my focus will remain with my daughter, my real estate business and special education. 32,000 special ed students were arrested in Maryland last year and no one cares. I believe that I can make a difference in the prison and homeless rate with our children and I'm going to try.
Thank you MH for your prayers. When much is given, much is required.'
Baltimore special needs schools-----doesn't sound like inclusion to me! Indeed, what Baltimore is doing is creating a policy of warehousing. There will be a few winning schools but when you warehouse----most schools will be allowed to become substandard and neglected. Marginalizing for profit----that's a corporate neo-liberal for you!
ALL OF MARYLAND DEMOCRATS ARE NEO-LIBERALS. ALL OF BALTIMORE DEMOCRATS WORK FOR JOHNS HOPKINS WHICH IS THE MOST NEO-CONSERVATIVE INSTITUTION IN THE WORLD.....SO BALTIMORE POLS ARE NOT DEMOCRATS FOLKS! STOP RE-ELECTING THEM.
Jun 24, 2011, 7:05am EDT
Baltimore special needs schools looking for staff
Further Reading Email Children with special needs require special skills from their educators, and if you’ve got them, you could do a lot of good here in Greater Baltimore. While compiling our annual List of the largest special needs schools in the area, I also asked each one whether they’re hiring in the coming months. Here are those who are looking to fill positions now:
Children’s Guild is seeking special education teachers, a teacher assistant and an IEP aide.
Good Shepherd Center is hiring more therapists, residential staff and school staff.
The Harbour School in Annapolis and Owings Mills is hiring a certified occupational therapy assistant, a speech therapist and a teacher.
Kennedy Krieger High School Program is looking to hire a new social worker.
Kennedy Krieger LEAP Program is seeking a program aide, a teaching assistant and a behavioral resource associate.
Kennedy Krieger Lower/Middle School is hiring a behavioral psychologist, a behavior resource specialist and an assistant teacher.
Do not be fooled------the education reform happening in Baltimore and across Maryland is not legal. If we had a Maryland Attorney General and a MD ACLU functioning as public justice none of these reforms would be moving forward. You cannot pretend you are providing for special needs children and then not provide. Sending money to private corporate non-profits handling special needs education and then not providing oversight-----PARENTS AND TEACHERS ARE SHOUTING THAT NOTHING IS BEING DONE FOR THESE CHILDREN IN BALTIMORE!!!!!
This is just another example of public money being funneled to a private non-profit assigned the work of the public sector but doing little if nothing in providing service. The money is going elsewhere.
School Law in Maryland - Educational Rights of Children with Special Needs
The Maryland State Bar Association’s Public Awareness Committee and the Advocates for Children and Youth, the Maryland Disability Law Center has prepared this information. It is intended to inform the public and not serve as legal advice.
Please note that the online version contains information not available in the print edition.
Under the federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and corresponding state law, a child with a disability, which affects his or her learning has a right to a free and appropriate public education. A child is entitled to a program, which is designed to meet his or her individual learning needs. This includes specially designed classroom instruction and related services needed by the child to benefit from the education program.
Who is Eligible for Special Education Services?
- Children with disabilities from 3 to 21 years old may be eligible for special education services.
- Infants and toddlers up to age 3 may receive early intervention services through the Infants and Toddlers Program.
- A child is considered eligible for services if he or she is having trouble learning in school because of mental, physical and/or emotional disabilities.
What is the Process for Determining Whether a Child is Eligible for Special Education Services?
A child becomes eligible for special education services when he or she is identified as disabled by the school’s Individual Education Program (IEP) team.
A parent or guardian is a member of the IEP team and has the right to participate in the IEP meetings about the child. Other members of the IEP team include a special education teacher; a regular education teacher; a school official who knows about the special education system and the general curriculum; and school personnel who can interpret evaluation results. The student may be a member of the IEP team if it is appropriate. Also, the parent may bring anyone else to the meeting, who would be helpful, such as a family friend, an advocate or other professionals who know the child.
Before the child is identified as disabled, the school system must evaluate the child. The evaluation process consists of three parts: (1) screening, (2) assessments, and (3) a review of the assessments.
The IEP team must complete the evaluation process, including the initial meeting, completion of the assessments, within 90 days of receiving the written request for an evaluation.
Screening: If a parent or guardian believes that his or her child may need special education services, the parent or guardian should make a request for an evaluation in writing and send it to the principal of the child’s school.
The IEP team will meet to determine if additional assessments are needed and decide whether the child is eligible for special education services. If the IEP team suspects that the child may have a disability and needs special education, the IEP team will order additional assessments after obtaining permission from the parent or guardian.
Assessments: During the assessment stage, the tests recommended by the IEP team are given to the child. School professionals, such as a psychologist, educator, speech pathologist, and physical or occupational therapists assess the child. The types of assessments that should be performed depend on the child’s suspected disability. Assessments determine the child’s disability and what kind of educational services he or she needs as a result of the disability. The school system is responsible for scheduling and paying for all the assessments it has recommended.
Review of the Assessments: Once the assessments are completed, the IEP team must meet to review the assessment results and determine whether the child qualifies for special education services.
The Individualized Education Plan
Within 30 days after the IEP team meets to review the assessments and determines that a student needs special education services, the IEP team meets again to develop the IEP. The IEP is a document, which sets the plan of services, and accommodations that the child will receive through the school system.
For a child who is already receiving special education services, the IEP team must meet at least once a year to review the child’s progress and revise the IEP’s accordingly.
The IEP has many requirements. For example, the IEP should describe a child’s disability, strengths, and needs and the present levels of educational performance. In addition, the IEP should set annual goals for the child and short-term objectives, all of which must be related to enabling a child to be involved in the general curriculum.
The IEP must also include any of the following that the child may need: related services, such as occupational or physical therapy, or transportation, assistive technology devices or services; behavior strategies; extended school year services, Braille; language and communication services; and/or transition services.
Once the IEP is developed, it must be implemented as soon as possible and must be in effect at the beginning of the school year.
A “placement” refers to the actual class and school a child attends in order to receive his or her special educational services. The IEP team determines the placement after the IEP document has been developed.
The law requires that a child receive his or her special education services in the “least restrictive environment.” This means that an eligible child must receive special education services with non-disabled children as much as possible and preferably in the neighborhood school. This is often referred to as “inclusion.” The school system must provide extra aid or services if it would allow a child to participate in a less restrictive environment.
What Can a Parent or Guardian Do if an Agreement Cannot be Reached with the School System?
There are times when a parent or guardian may not agree with the evaluation, IEP or placement offered for his or her child. If a parent or guardian disagrees with the school system at any stage of the process, he or she has the right to request mediation or a due process hearing.
Mediation is a voluntary process in which a trained mediator tries to help the family and the school system reach an agreement. If a parent requests mediation and due process at the same time, the mediation must be held within 20 days from the date of the request.
A due process hearing is a formal way to resolve a dispute between the parent and the school system. The hearing is set up by the Office of Administrative Hearings and takes place before an administrative law judge. A parent can request a dues process hearing by submitting a request in writing to the school system. The hearing must be held within 45 days of the date the school system receives the request.
Parents have the right to bring an attorney or advocate to represent them at the hearing. There are important rules regarding due process hearings, which families should be aware of before requesting a hearing. For example, parents and school official must exchange a list of witnesses (including potential witnesses) and copies of all documents they intend to use at the hearing at least 5 business days prior to the hearing. If a party does not comply with this rule, the administrative law judge could exclude that party’s evidence.
If a parent believes that his or her child is not getting the services listed on the IEP, or if the school system does not comply with the timelines or other procedures, the parent can file a complaint with the Maryland State Department of Education. Under federal law, the state has 60 days to investigate the complaint and issue a decision.
What is Section 504?
Some children with disabilities may not qualify for special education services under the IDEA, but may still need specific adaptation to their educational program to allow them to participate fully in their classes. For example, a child who uses a wheelchair may not need special education services but may need some accommodations to access the school building. The federal law that applies to these children is referred to as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Children with disabilities who need accommodations and services under Section 504 are entitled to a Section 504 Plan. This Plan sets forth the accommodations and services that the student will receive from the school system. As with the IEP, the Section 504 Plan should be reviewed and revised regularly to ensure that the child’s needs are being met.
Suspension and Expulsion of Children with Special Needs
Schools must provide an education to all students and may not discriminate against students with disabilities. This means that the school may not suspend or expel a disabled student for behavior that results from his or her disability.
Children who are eligible for special education services or who have a 504 Plan are entitled to a manifestation meeting when the school proposes to suspend them for more than 10 days in a semester or to expel them. This meeting determines whether a child’s actions were caused by his or her disability and must be held within 10 days of the child’s removal from class. At this meeting, the IEP team must determine:
- Was the child’s IEP appropriate?
- Was the IEP implemented as written?
- Is it true that the child’s disability did not impair his/her ability to control the behavior subject to disciplinary action?
What Services are Disabled Students at the College Level Entitled to?
College students with disabilities are in a slightly different position from students in elementary and high schools. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect students at the college level, rather than IDEA.
College students with disabilities are entitled to reasonable, appropriate accommodations in the instructional process. A student is responsible for informing the college of his or her disability and needs, and for utilizing the support services provided. Accommodation plans should be written for eligible students; however, these plans will not modify the curriculum or reduce course requirements. Generally speaking, the accommodation plans will simply address the learning differences.
For more information, college students should contact their schools’ ADA Coordinators.