Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Letter to Editor: Parents..."have a 100 percent chance of losing"

The Oct. 10 Metro article “Montgomery schools graded on special ed” reported on a study of the effectiveness and fairness of Montgomery County Public Schools’ special-education program. As a parent of a child with disabilities, I felt most of the conclusions in the report were untrue. I had to read closely to find even a glimmer of our family’s experience within the 144 pages of statistics and surveys.
MCPS has a fox in the chicken coop in the form of legal tactics that scare, bully and financially overwhelm parents, most of whom have no means to fight back. This win-at-all-costs strategy has proved effective. The report indicated that most parents don’t pursue legal remedies against MCPS, and the ones who do have a
100 percent chance of losing. Yet investigations by the Maryland State Department of Education, in response to parent complaints about MCPS, were decided in favor of parents by a ratio
of 7 to 1.
Since 2004, MCPS has paid a single law firm with scorch-and-burn tactics an average of about $500,000 a year. This money punishes the handful of parents bold enough to seek legal redress and sends a “proceed with caution” message to anyone watching. Using heavy-handed strategies against parents of children with disabilities is deplorable, but it’s a symptom, not the cause. MCPS’s approach to resolving disputes is broken. As a public interest attorney dedicated to correcting social inequities, I hope MCPS finds a path toward a more just future.
Mary Greene, Silver Spring

1 comment:

  1. I'm in 100% agreement with the writer.


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