How do school districts bypass special education services and get away with it?
One way, is to make it look like special education services are being restored, but due to a teacher shortage, the district must rely on teachers without classroom experience.
Special education, all teaching really, but special education, especially, demands teaching qualifications.
To give students with disabilities, or gifted students, or any student who has special needs, a teacher without an appropriate background is a joke! It wastes a student’s time. It should not be legally acceptable.
In many school districts, special education services have been denied children outright due to corporate influence that blighted the school district in the past. That school districts have gotten away with this, demonstrates the terrible way corruption has infiltrated the local, state, and federal levels.
Detroit stands as the perfect example.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti looked to be trying to fix the special education mess in that city. For years, Detroit Public Schools have been heavily influenced by corporate school reformers, and they have skirted around legally mandated evaluations and services for students.
According to The Detroit News the school district:
- Lacks an effective system for identifying and evaluating children who may be eligible for special education services under a federal law called Child Find
- Often fails to respond to parent requests within 10 days — as required by law — to evaluate their child
- Uses referrals to the districts Resource Coordinating Team, a school-based problem-solving group, as a way to delay or deny a requested evaluation
- Fails to review records of new students that may need services
For a moment, Vitti looked to be starting his superintendency in Detroit on the right track. It appeared he was going to restore special education services to children.
But just as we raised our hands to applaud, the school board announces they are also hiring teachers without classroom experience!
Concerns have flourished for years, that alternatively trained teachers are not well-enough prepared. Fast track paths to teaching, whether it be Teach for America, Relay Graduate School of Education, or the many online for-profit schools that have little oversight, are insufficient for making teachers.
In Detroit, they use the for-profit Teachers for Tomorrow, an online program with no proof of success and little oversight.
It’s a way for school districts to cut costs and drive professional teachers out of the classroom. All of this falls into the corporate plan to end teaching.
Students deserve teachers who understand their exceptional differences, who study assessment, child development, child psychology, and instructional pedagogy that will lead students forward, both academically and socially. This demands time and effort along with much study.
Learning to be a special education teacher takes more than a few online classes in your spare time, because you are bored with your current job, or, worse, don’t have a job. It should also involve more than grabbing an online degree while you’re sitting at home in your pajamas.
Vitti may look like he is fixing special education in Detroit, but if he hires teachers without classroom experience, with quickie degrees, he is not doing right by students.
Don’t be misled by the teacher shortage talk, and keep on eye on your own district to see how they are shortchanging students who need special education. If you see something amiss, drop me a line.
If you are interested, I have written a lot about the teacher shortage. Here are my favorites:
The Loss of Special Education Teachers, February 28, 2016.
Teacher Age Discrimination During a So-Called Teacher Shortage, August 16, 2015.
What’s Behind the Teacher Shortage/Crisis? Or is there One? December 16, 2014.