The blog author, Robert Rummel-Hudson, a father who is getting ready for his child's IEP warns other parents of what the process will be like. At first I thought he was writing to encourage parents to take an active role in their child's IEP and to understand that they are an essential part of the IEP team. This is great! I thought. I want more parents to understand their role and how important they are. I want the parents to have a voice.
Then I kept reading.
Rummel-Hudson is speaking from his own experience, which I sincerely hope readers take into account as they read. His experiences are not going to be indicative of IEP meetings everywhere. Each state, each county, each school is going to hold them a bit differently. The same legal guidelines are the same, but every county puts its own spin on it, and each school, each set of personalities and school cultures is going to change how the meetings go.
I fear that parents gearing up for their first IEP meetings are going to be frightened by Rummel-Hudson's post, or will feel that they need to come in ready for a fight. He writes,
As parents, we advocate for our kids receiving as much in the way of services as we can get, and we do so knowing that our success could very well mean fewer resources for other students. That sounds harsh, but we shouldn't worry too much about that, because the school's position is the opposite. Giving each student as little as they can in the way of individual resources means more for everyone. It's an awkward dance that shouldn't be about money and resources but absolutely is.
Um, no. We do not sit at the table thinking, "let's give each student as little as we can because that means more resources for everyone." We sit there and think about what will be best for each individual student. As teachers we are passionate about your child- we want your child to succeed and we want your child to make unbelievable gains. We also know that some things that look like they will be beneficial actually can be a determinate to your child's learning. Some services look great but will hinder your child's ability to scaffold his/her learning, transfer skills and be independent. And then there is the legal aspect that we are, in fact, held to. Schools are required to provide what is considered a "free and appropriate public education" (FAPE). Sadly appropriate doesn't always transfer to your child achieving their full potential. This "appropriate" piece stumps us too. It's not us, it's the law and the courts and how the word appropriate is determined. But many of us, if we think there is a way, will fight for you.
I don't know Rummel-Hudson's situation and I am not a frequent reader of his blog so I may be missing important key points.
I'm not saying that parents shouldn't fight for their kids, but I'm worried that readers may get the wrong impression of IEP meetings from his post. It should never be a school vs the parents meeting. Tomorrow my post will be about what to expect in an IEP meeting.