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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

Pomp and Circumstance and Glass Houses

There have been a whirlwind of stories about students graduating from high school who have not fulfilled basic high school requirements, like passing tests or attending school. Before you throw stones at these schools and school systems, take a look what is going on in your school system, particularly as applied to special education students who need a lot of accommodations in order to pass a course. You are doing no one a favor by spoon feeding answers to students. Do not give multiple choice tests with 2 choices. Do not send the tests home ahead of time so the student can practice. (This is far different from telling students what to study.) Do not tell a student to “think again” when writing in the wrong answer. Do not nudge the student’s hand toward the correct choice.

Some parents are rightfully indignant when they learn the only way their child received an “A” or “B” grade was by taking the test over and to only have the second test score count. Or when they learn that just turning in homework counts as much as test scores even though the child really does not understand the material.

Another problem area is inflated grades given during Home and Hospital Instruction. Give the Home and Hospital teachers guidance on how to test students. Be careful in your approvals of Home and Hospital Instruction. Do not approve Home and Hospital applications without having consent to speak to the professional signing the verification form. If something seems fishy, it probably is. Is the student turning in the work? Who is doing the work? Being absent or sick does not mean the student should be allowed to skip assignments or tests. They need to make up the work. Remember that students have until age 21 to receive a free, public education and graduate. Always invite the Home and Hospital teacher to the IEP team meeting.

If you believe there is wrongdoing in grading or passing students who do not legitimately meet the course requirements, you need to report this to your Principal or the Office of the Superintendent. Immediately.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) are designed to be helpful and thought provoking, but should not be considered legal advice as they may not be accurate for use in all situations. Tips are based on my opinions and positions in accordance with federal and Maryland law and my over 35 years of experience in the special education legal field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
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