"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Friday, December 30, 2016

Houston's Systematic Mistreatment of Special Needs Children

The Houston Independent School District has an established history of miseducative corruption, which goes back to the glory days of Rod Paige, who made a national reputation with made up graduation and dropout numbers for Houston high schools.  His compelling lies earned him a spot as Secretary of Education for Geo. W. Bush, and since leaving ED to make room for the bovine Margaret Spellings, Paige has been on the prime rib speaking circuit of corporate ed reform.

In 2009, Houston elites brought in corporate ed reformers' poster boy, Supt. Terry Grier, to initiate as many half-baked ideas, child-unfriendly programs, and lucrative deals as possible.  Grier was such a disruption that HISD won Eli Broad's highest honor in 2013.

As a result of some good reporting by the Houston Chronicle, we now find that many of the efficiencies that have been achieved by Grier and his corporate team have resulted from the systematic mistreatment of special needs children. 

Chart below and clip from the most recent article in the Houston Chronicle series:

. . . . Federal officials have approved RTI, with one caveat: Schools cannot require teachers to try RTI before requesting a kid be evaluated for special ed.

That is exactly what has happened in HISD, according to numerous current and former staffers.

"RTI was a huge roadblock," said Renee Tappe, who retired in 2015 after 35 years in special education at HISD. "Every now and again, it would help a kid a little bit, but when you look at the number of kids denied, it's not even close to being worth it."

When delay is no longer possible, several HISD staffers said they have been encouraged to suspend or expel students who act out instead of evaluating them for special ed. A 2015 TEA probe confirmed HISD has done that multiple times, including by charging kids with truancy, according to records obtained by the Chronicle.

The district also has started increasingly serving students with dyslexia in Section 504, a less robust and less accountable program than special ed.

Veteran employees also pointed to the budget cuts as a way that HISD has intentionally lowered special education rates. Officials have cut nearly 600 special ed positions over the past decade, a 40 percent drop that has been even sharper than the dip in students, statistics show. . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment