I would love to hear from parents about their current struggles with special education. Feel free to email me at email@example.com. I can answer questions, help with resources, etc. I am especially interested in talking to parents that are currently using Endrew vs. Douglas County in their advocacy! I would love to write an article about this ruling and its positive affects on children with disabilities, but could use some real life stories! Thanks in advance==JoAnn
Be sure and check out my blog post (on my blog post page). My blog is entitled: What makes this advocate angry related to special education!
For a limited time, check out the special price of "Slaying Special Education Dragons" of $13+shipping on Amazon.
Are you hosting an event for parents or book club and need 10 copies of either book? Please email JoAnn at firstname.lastname@example.org for a special rate.
JoAnn's Comment: I am absolutely thrilled with both of these decisions. Many children with disabilities will be helped by them, but especially the Endrew F. v. Douglas County. Many school districts have extremely low expecations for children with disabilities, and I love the fact that now the U.S. Supreme Court has set a higher standard--it is about time!
I also love the section of the ruling that discusses academic and functional advancement. Early in my daughter Angelina's life I learned from wonderful people that functional skills were important, whether she could learn academics or not. Many times over the years in my advocacy I have fought for functional skill training for children especially those in their teen years, as they transition to adulthood.
What do you think about this ruling? You can send me your thoughts or questions at email@example.com.
Welcome to the website of JoAnn Collins
JoAnn Collins is the mother of three adults with disabilities-two who have developmental disabilities. She has been an effective educational advocate helping children and parents for over 25 years. In 2007, her first advocacy book for parents was self-published and named "Disability Deception: Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game. " This book was well-received by parents, who were surprised by learning the many lies they hear related to special education. "Slaying Special Education Dragons" came out in 2014 and is a roadmap to help parents as they navigate the special education maze!
U.S. Supreme Court Ruling for Parents
In Endrew F. vs Douglas County School District, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a critical decision that raised the bar for the educational benefits owed to millions of children with disabilities. This ruling rejected a lower court standard from the 10th Circuit court of Appeals. The court ruled unanimously that schools must do more than provide a "merely more than de minimis" education program to a student with a disability.
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote the opinion for the eight-member court, and he delivered much of it from the bench . . .
"When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing 'merely more than de minimis' progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all," Roberts said."For children with disabilities, receiving instruction that aims so low would be tantamount to 'sitting idly ... awaiting the time when they were old enough to drop out,'"he added, quoting from key 1982 Supreme Court precedent on special education, Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, "The IDEA demands more," the chief justice said. "It requires an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances."
Higher Standard-----That standard was the one suggested by President Barack Obama's administration, in one of its final arguments before the justices in January. For a child for whom a regular classroom is not "a reasonable prospect," the chief justice said, the educational program must be "appropriately ambitious in light of his circumstances." "Of course this describes a general standard, not a formula," Roberts said. "But whatever else can be said about it, this standard is markedly more demanding than the 'merely more than de minimis' test applied by the 10th Circuit."
Education Week article on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District
1) Some special educators lie or provide you with misinformation because they do not know the law.
2) Some special educators lie because they want to make it appear that federal and state law gives them more power than it actually does. If they can make you believe that they have certain types of power, then you may be intimidated and back down from your advocacy.
3) Some special educators lie because they believe that you are vulnerable or going through a hard time. This could be due to low income, being a single parent, stress at home, unemployment or language and cultural barriers. If special educators believe that you are vulnerable, they may try to take advantage of you.
4) Some special educators lie about a child's educational progress, overstating such progress without any objective data to support their views. This roadblock is often used to try and stop you from asking for more intensive services for your child.
5) Some special educators lie when you request a specific service because they do not want to set a precedent of paying for that service. I find this especially true when it comes to any type of private tutoring, applied behavioral analysis, or private reading instruction. Special educators may be concerned that other parents will ask for the same service, so they do their best to preempt such future requests.
Further information on lies that special educators tell and how to overcome the lies can be found in my book, "Slaying Special Education Dragons: Ten Step Roadmap to Navigate the Maze, Overcome Roadblocks, and Slay Dragons to Ensure Your Child's Appropriate Education."
Why do some special educators lie to parents?
Testimonials for Disability Deception:
"I was surprised to learn of this book whose title openly acknowledges something that I deal with on a continual basis. I have long bemoaned the fact that there is so little information and a lack of published guidelines on how to deal with the lies and fraudulent schemes that I regularly encounter from our school district (which seems to take a zero-tolerance approach towards educating "over-budget" children with disabilities. My son with autism & speech apraxia falls into that category.) I was able to identify with JoAnn Collins' description of initially being shocked when she found out for the first time that she had trustingly believed what turned out to be a blatant lie from a "caring" professional -- depriving her child of needed services. She very openly addresses this pervasive problem, which I (like many parents) have had to discover on my own the hard way. I believe her book should be read by every parent with a child that has a disability affecting his or her education."
"Mrs. Collins acknowledges that there are wonderful (& deeply-appreciated) public educators who have personal and professional integrity to resist taking part in these illegal tactics. However, she upholds the fact that districts are legally obligated, nonetheless, to provide an appropriate education to all children when they accept special education funding. y times over when children grow up to be dependent on services employment and independence. I am grateful to JoAnn Collins for addressing this topic!"
Testimonials for Slaying Special Education Dragons
"I am an advocate and I will be using this book often. Everyone can benefit now from what [JoAnn] has learned in the many years the author has successfully advocated and helped families.
JoAnn Collins has done the hard research for you. This book is filled with straightforward information addressing a broad range of special education issues. "
"It contains concise descriptions of common problems parents face, along with the solid tools to overcome them. It is jam-packed with great resources that parents can use to advocate for an appropriate education for their child.
There is also information on using a special education advocate, such as how to find one and what to look for.
I am grateful the author has shared her knowledge and resources with advocates and parents. We are all in this together!"
Wrightslaw article on Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District
This article specifically states that school districts must "look at a child's unique needs to develop an IEP pursuing academic and functional advancement."