Tuesday, October 13, 2015

How can a special education student fail finals yet pass? Sadly, it’s easy. @mocoboe @mcps #specialeducation

Oliver Hirschfeld’s daughter is a senior at Montgomery County’s Walt Whitman High School, one of the best-performing public schools in the country. But in Hirschfeld’s view, Whitman is failing to serve his child and is resisting common-sense alternatives.
He is impressed with the school’s Advanced Placement courses, in more than 30 subjects, but his daughter has learning disabilities, and, he says, she needs self-contained special education classes so that she can master the English and math basics that will get her into a community college. Such classes were provided when she was in the ninth and 10th grades, but there are none any more at Whitman for special education students with individualized education plans (IEPs).

In the 20 academic classes that Hirschfeld’s daughter has taken at Whitman so far, “she’s failed 60 percent of the final exams,” he told me. “She’s failed two of the three of the High School Assessment tests” that Maryland requires.
Yet the school told him: “At this time, the Whitman IEP team believes that the current IEP is appropriate and that [your daughter] is making progress with her IEP goals and her academic program.”
The clash between school and parent at Whitman resembles attempts at Virginia public high schools to let struggling students proceed to graduation despite failing final exams. Those schools said essentially the same thing that Whitman said to the Hirschfelds, roughly translated: Your child is learning and completing courses, so chill out...

...In ninth and 10th grades, she said, she was helped by six self-contained classes with fewer than 15 students each. Whitman administrators said the school has no such classes now, not because of any policy change but because it no longer has any special education students who need them. The school did not explain why the need for them evaporated...



  1. It is known as the MCPS Paradox!

    1. Don't you really mean that the MCPS BOE needs to have their heads examined by a "pair of docs?"


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