Off The Wall
On The Record
Dr. Skip Myers
Registered Sex Offenders for Edgefield
E-mail the Editor
PO Box 972
State and Federal
Local Political Parties
Chamber of Commerce
New York Times
New York Post
Los Angeles Times
past articles please visit our Archives
Writer speaks out for Special Education needs
web posted September 16, 2010
I am writing to you because of the direction our school district, in
general, and our special education program, in particular, is
headed. I retired from the position of Special Education Director
for Edgefield County in 2007. During my 36 years in education my
foremost concern was for the students and the quality of programs and
services provided to them. I continue to have those concerns,
especially for students with special needs.
It is my understanding that Donna Strom, the Special Education Director
from 2007 to 2010, resigned this past June. This is a huge loss
to the special education children in our county. Ms. Strom was an
excellent special education director in spite of the insurmountable
load of other, non special education, duties that were placed in her
lap. Under her leadership the children were well served and the
school district avoided expensive legal battles. Rather than hiring a
new director, the district divided up the director’s duties among the
assistant superintendent for instruction, a school psychologist who was
named as part-time special education coordinator, school administrators
and teachers. None of these individuals can be as well trained as
Mrs. Strom or as dedicated to assuring that your child receives the
educational services he/she is entitled to by federal law. The
worst thing about this arrangement is that special education students
will lose critical instructional time because their teachers have these
I also understand that the new assistant superintendent for instruction
touts experience in special education administration and will have
responsibilities for special education budgeting, etc. It
is my fear that this person will be paid partially or totally with
special education dollars but will, in reality, do very little for the
special education program. She is not likely to attend IEP
meetings for your child. Is this our district’s way of
commandeering special education funds to fill other budgetary
needs? Will special education dollars be siphoned off in other
ways as well?
I would like to encourage all parents of special education children to
be vigilant when it comes to the educational services your child is
receiving. Some of my recommendations to you are as follows:
1. Be informed about the
federal laws that govern special education (IDEIA and 504).
your child’s rights as well as your own (this is written
information you should have received from the school district).
parent training from the district if needed.
copies of all records concerning your child.
with the psychologist, speech clinician, physical or occupational
therapist, or other specialists to gain a good understanding of the
results of any evaluations that your child received.
a private evaluation at the school district’s expense if
present at all meetings concerning your child.
sure all of the required participants are present for the meeting
including an administrator who will be responsible for assuring that
your child will receive the services agreed upon by the team.
Check to see if everyone whose signature appears on the IEP was
actually present for the meeting you attended.
check the copy of the IEP you receive to be sure there is
nothing there you did not discuss at the meeting.
not be afraid to ask questions, if you do not understand, ask.
When it comes to your child’s education there is no such thing as a
out advocates who can accompany you to meetings and help you get
answers. They are available.
aware of how the district is spending special education money,
including who is being paid with those funds. They are required
by law to share that information with you if you ask.
sure your child is receiving all of the services specified by
his/her IEP, including the full amount of time in general education as
well as the correct number of minutes in direct contact with the
special education teacher and related services provider(s).
visible. Visit the school frequently and see what services are
provided to your child and who is providing them.
sure the people working with your child are appropriately
your child is suspended or expelled from school, ask about his/her
right to homebased special education and related services.
to know other parents of special needs children. There is
strength in numbers.
you cannot get answers from the district do not be afraid to look to
the State for help.
your due process rights including formal complaints to the
State Office of Programs for Exceptional Children, mediation and, if
necessary, Due Process Hearings.
As you can see there are many issues surrounding the district’s
responsibility to provide special education and related services to all
special education students within its jurisdiction. Without a
knowledgeable and dedicated professional whose primary responsibility
is to the special education program, the district is likely to fall far
short of the mark in providing the quality of services that our special
needs students have benefited from in the past. This could result
in problems for the children and their parents as well as the
district. Of course, the bill will be passed on to us, the
Iris H. Spires
© Copyright 2010 EdgefieldDaily.com All original
material is property of EdgefieldDaily.com and cannot be reproduced,
redistributed without the expressed written permission of Edgefield Daily.com
We still need recipes for Cooking Section
WEBNEWS – Send in your favorite or
favorites. There is no limit to the number of recipes you can send in.
Help create an exchange of local favorites, home cooking,
grilling, sauces, and deserts! Send in your submissions here.