Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"The Enron of Special Education"

You read the most amazing things on the internet these days.

For instance, I came across the following paragraph in an article about the new "Leading for Equity" book. The article seems to have been written by one of the co-authors of the book, and the article contains this paragraph:

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Montgomery CO Superintendent Jerry Weast is the Churchill of school reform. (His uncharacteristically modest assertion that he was not the British lion, but only “privileged to utter the lion’s roar” does not obscure the fact that he was one of the great leaders of the 20th century. So too Weast.)
Great Leaders of the 20th Century? What I would say, instead, is that the writer didn't mention (nor does his "Leading for Equity" book, I suspect) all the damage that has been done to special education and children with disabilities during the 8 years Jerry Weast has been superintendent.

In these eight years, quality special education programs for students with disabilities have been ruined. What used to be a comprehensive program of supports and services, with a wide range of program placements and intensity of services, has been decimated. It is now a "one size fits all" model, and special education test scores have declined, parent dissatisfaction is through the roof, and the number of schools who fail to make "AYP" because of poor special education performance is increasing.

It's all well and good to "close the gap," but why does MCPS have to throw special education students under the bus to do so? Students with disabilities come from all socioeconomic levels, and all races and ethnicities.

Students with disabilities deserve better than they have gotten from Jerry Weast. The "Churchill of School Reform?" I think not. More like the "Enron of Special Education."

1 comment:

  1. Speaking as an oldtimer, I can say there were definite problems with MCPS special ed before Weast. I hate to imagine that things are even worse now.


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