Monday, October 24, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr. MS and Special Education Students 2012-2014

ALERT: Parents of students who were supposed to receive Special Education Services at Martin Luther King Jr Middle School during school years 2012-2014.

This email was sent to Joshua Civin, General Counsel to the Montgomery County Board of Education and to Chris Richardson, MCPS Associate Superintendent on Friday September 30, 2016.


From: Lyda Astrove []
Sent: Friday, September 30, 2016 11:10 AM
Subject: Martin Luther King Jr Middle School Special Education

Dear Josh:
I have attached a recent Maryland State Board of Education decision upholding the discharge of a special education teacher at Martin Luther King Jr Middle School.
As part of its decision, the Board attached a copy of the findings and decision from the Office of Administrative Hearings, which also had upheld the discharge. I am writing you because the findings in the ALJ's decision are so disturbing that I think MCPS owes it to the students involved to inform them that they did not receive appropriate special education services and offer them compensatory services.

Some of the findings:

1. When the new principal arrived at MLKJMS, she determined that the special education students "were not making academic progress." Page 14, ALJ opinion.

2. A general education teacher in the "co-taught" class testified that the lessons were not modified for students who needed it.

3. The special educator sometimes slept in class.

4. The general education teacher testified that the special educator was not really a co-teacher because he never led the class.

5. The IEPs were not individualized, not effective, and not flowing from the students' present levels of performance. (p. 18, ALJ opinion).

When the secondary learning centers were closed, the community was assured that the co-teaching model would be effectively implemented. As you can see, it has been years, and at least at MLKJMS, there have been students who did not get the special education services to which they were entitled. How many of these parents were notified that their child didn't have an individualized IEP? How many of these parents were told that the "co-taught" class really wasn't "co-taught" at all? How many children lost academic gains during this time because they didn't receive the proper support?

It shouldn't be the job of the parents to police the implementation of their child's IEP. And I'm sure that if any of these parents DID complain, MCPS would not have hesitated to falsely claim that the students were making "academic progress" and spend $6000 a day to prove it.

Where is the equity here? What, if anything, was done to make it right for these students?

Lyda Astrove

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