Michael Hirsch's article in the NY Teacher is a good place to start if you don't know anything about how principals are cutting services to kids with IEPs to save money. According to Hirsch, teacher input on the UFT's website for reporting these violations paints a "devastating picture of rampant neglect."
"The number of complaints is staggering," says UFT VP Carmen Alvarez. "But we already know that these kids are failing. The IEP is not a piece of paper; it’s a coordinated effort to save kids.”
Here are the kinds of things Hirsch says teachers are writing in:
Not having two appropriately certified teachers in Collaborative Team Teaching classes when IEP kids require them,I am trying to figure out which educators have the cojones to register these kinds of complaints. Schools Chancellor Joel Klein has, after all, created a culture of aggressive thuggery against teachers. It seems he'd give any principal who wanted to retaliate against a whistleblower his royal blessing, if not a bevy of lawyers to keep this kind of bravery under control.
Principals amending IEPs on their own, without input and approval from the IEP team,
Inappropriate disciplinary suspensions,
Lack of paraprofessional support services,
Failure to provide related services,
Staff being denied access to IEPs, and
Therapists being told to discontinue services for students who plainly need them, and
General education teachers unaware — because IEPs are unavailable, in some cases for months — that students in their class have disabilities and are required to receive support and instructional and testing accommodations.
I haven't yet mentioned the one complaint the union says it's been getting that really hurts the teacher more than the kids:
Teachers with oversized classes and behavior issues that they can’t manage.It's clear to me that administration will try to convince anyone who's listening that the negative results of their own mismanagement must always be the teacher's lack of skill. It's really not, but who cares about the truth when you're busy cost-cutting and want to "encourage" those expensive senior teachers to think about retiring.
I'm not crazy about all aspects of the union's campaign. Alvarez told the delegates yesterday that under Chapter 408 of the state ed law, everyone dealing with the IEP student has to be informed of his responsibilities in this process prior to the implementation of the IEP. That is one scary feature.
If they're going to mainstream inordinate numbers of IEP students into regular ed the way they've been doing for so many years, I'd rather not know what that little ol' IEP team envisioned for me when they placed those kids in such great and irrational numbers into my classes. They sure aren't going to be walking in my shoes, and I don't want to be held to any of the guidelines they might come up with off the top of their collaborative head. None of them have the experience of what it's possible to deliver in such large learning environments as our NYC classrooms, especially when there are so many overwhelming behavioral issues and widely differing skill sets.
The IEP team will be planning for that single IEP child. I'll be having deal with the whole shebang, and they will neither know of what I'll be up against or even much care.
You can read Chapter 408 of the 2002 state ed law and its amendments in Appendices 1 and 2 of this link. (Scroll down towards the end.)