Tag Archives: surrogate

The Approaching End of a Heartbreaking Era

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When the Education of All Handicapped Children’s Act (EAHCA) was enacted as PL94-142 in 1975, it was in the face of enormous opposition from school district administrators and their attorneys who were actively refusing to enroll children with disabilities in our nation’s public schools. Many have remained employed in public education, stewing in their own bile over their legal “loss” while begrudgingly enrolling students with special needs.

The EAHCA was reauthorized as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in 1990, which has, itself, been reauthorized twice since then, the last reauthorization being in 2004. Clearly, Congress has no intention of returning to a time when discriminating against those with disabilities was perfectly acceptable.

I don’t know how many of you have experienced an employment situation in which people have been required to do something that they opposed, but it’s been my experience that some people in this position are more likely to sabotage any attempts to do things differently to “prove” it was a bad idea than to willingly go with the program. Some people are just sore losers.

In short, you’re not likely to get buy-in from people who had to be Court-ordered or required by regulation to do the ethical and responsible thing. It says something, anyway, about a person’s character when he/she forgoes ethical solutions for whatever reasons and, therefore, requires enforceable regulations that dictate what his/her behavior should be. Some peoples’ characters create a situation in which the behaviors normally associated with common sense and ethics become subject to regulation.

This is not specific to special education or the legal practices that surround it. This is human nature. Somewhere out there in the world is the person who justified warning labels on suppositories that advise they are not meant for oral consumption. Some people’s functional skills in various aspects of life, for whatever reasons, are seriously limited.

People tend not to make improvements when forced to, particularly when they perceive the improvements as a threat to their familiar, comfortable, self-serving routines. This, too, is human nature.

The problem in special education is that, following the passage of the EAHCA, too many people with chips on their shoulders were left over the decades in positions of authority in public education, passing their “insight” onto the people they were responsible for training and stacking the deck against the success of special education. In other words, ever since the passage of the EAHCA in 1975, there have been career public education administrators undermining the effectiveness of special education in order to win an argument rather than educate children, the latter of which being what we actually pay them six-figure salaries at public expense to do.

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Corrective Actions Ordered for Schools in California’s DJJ Facilities

On August 26, 2010, an investigation was opened by the California Department of Education (“CDE”) into allegations of procedural non-compliance that I made in my capacities as both a volunteer surrogate parent and advocate for KPS4Parents on behalf of two incarcerated youth at the Ventura Correctional Facility in Camarillo, CA. Both youth are eligible to receive special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”).

You can download a PDF of the investigation findings by clicking here.  The personally identifying information of the students on whose behalf these complaints were filed has been redacted to preserve their confidentiality.

The nature of the complaint was that many, if not most, of the special education students attending Mary B. Perry High School, which is located within the facility, were compromised by systemic failures of the Department of Juvenile Justice (“DJJ”) and its internal public education system, the California Education Authority (“CEA”). The two students named individually in the complaint were compromised by these systemic violations and represented the class of students within the CEA who have been similarly compromised.

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