Thursday, January 14, 2016

Are There Limits To What Can Be Put Into An IEP?

In my day I've seen all sorts of crazy and academically-inappropriate things put into an IEP (individualized education plan, a legally-binding document created for special ed students).  I wonder, is there a limit to what teachers and administrators can put into an IEP--and, hence, bind future teachers/administrators?

I ask because I've seen a limit I never thought I'd see.  I won't say what state, district, or school it came from--that to protect me from charges of "lack of professionalism" for revealing someone's dirty laundry.

But today I saw an IEP that required that a student receive a passing grade.  It was very clear in stating that if the student was unable to achieve standards in a class, that student was to receive a "modified grade".  And since it's an IEP, teachers are required by law to abide by it.

Or so they say.  Since teachers and administrators write IEP's, what's to stop them from saying "teacher must give the student a big hug when he/she enters the classroom each day"?  Or "teacher is to give the kid a dollar each day the student comes to class"?  Clearly (or is it so clear?!) those wouldn't be acceptable, so can requiring a "modified grade" be required?  I understand modified curriculum (which is usually done in special ed classrooms) and I've always implemented required accommodations for students who needed them, but requiring a "modified grade" (which, have no doubt, was being interpreted by everyone above the teacher as a "passing grade")--how can that be right?  How can that be just?  How can that be honest?


Mrs. Widget said...

"But today I saw an IEP that required that a student receive a passing grade"

That is a legal IEP?...

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Know what that sounds like? An administration that just wants the kid OUT and who cares if he gets an education? Outrageous.

Although at the same time, if we're talking of a child of normal intelligence who is making consistent good attempts in class, we should not see failure. That would mean the kid is in the wrong class OR the IEP student was not supported well.

Ellen K said...

Oh, you're just now getting that? This is what we've been seeing the last four years.
For example:
One student is to be given 50% more time on every single assignment YET the content cannot be reduced.
One student who was bipolar and Downs Syndrome, was allowed to jump up and touch the top of the door ten times, sing out loud or dance to music of her choosing. In class. Any time. Even during tests.
One student is allowed to carry a large stuffed animal at all times which is a real problem in an art class with paint, water, tools and such.
And one student, child of a wealthy and powerful attorney, is supposed to be in all regular ed classes but the content is supposed to be the same yet the student cannot write. This student also is not to be reprimanded for the constant monologue that includes such topics as "What is and is not inappropriate touching", "How to drive parents or teachers crazy" or "How I made people laugh by rubbing dirt in my hair". (actual topics.) This same student is never failed because the administration is terrified of the father. The student will never be in my class because I revealed the paintings allegedly done by the student on her website (of course the student has a website!) were actually done by a tutor. This child has a safety net IEP that insures nobody ever gives her a failing grade and because of this she is placed in upper level classes she cannot successfully complete.

I have eight students with IEP's in my new class which starts Tuesday. I have yet to receive a single IEP. From what I can gather from their cumulative files, their needs range from mild ADHD to a student so disabled he may not be in class enough to avoid failing due to absences. This is in a class of 31 students. I also have 13 ESL/ELL students and three 504 students. So in one class more than two thirds of the students have paperwork which I will have to return as a WEEKLY REPORT. Unlike core classes there will be no aide. What is more, in my one advanced class a student is being placed for convenience of his self-contained classroom teacher's schedule who is so disruptive and hard to control that he's been known to run out of the building and toward the railroad tracks that border the school property. He also, will have no aide.

Anonymous said...

"The road to Hell is paved with good intentions..."

Ellen K said...

During the first day with the severely on the spectrum student, AP's had to be called in to calm the student down. He grabbed a girl's pencil and when I tried to get him to return it,the student threw it across the room. I'm glad it wasn't a stapler or a pair of scissors. I had to remove another student from access as this student repeatedly threatened to punch him in the throat. The wheels came off when I softly asked him to calm down and the student-who is over six feet tall- stood up and began screaming. We had to clear the room so that AP's could settle him down. They make the excuse of all students have open enrollment to permit this placement. I had no docs telling me triggers or cues or how to help him control himself. This is the type of placement ADA has created. It is not good for this student-who was certainly upset having been dropped with no escort or aide into an unfamiliar classroom-or for other students who now have a very definite opinion on such placement in class. Please remember, I've had students with a variety of disabilities who were able to work in class, make friends and there wasn't a problem. But the new standard is to place all students regardless of their individual needs into classrooms where teachers may or may not have experience on how to deal with specific issues presented.