IOWA'S SCORED RESPONSE TO OFFICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS

11-28-17

Greetings, Register Reporter, Mackenzie Ryan,  Legislature Education Committees, Iowa Association of School Boards, Special Ed. Advisory Panel and all—

Please forward this post to Iowa school boards and all Special Ed. Advisory Panel members.  Thank you.

This post strikes a blow for kids stigmatized by the confines of a bogus Iowa Special Education classification.

The Special Ed Advisory Panel met on 9-8-17 and published and posted meeting minutes intended for Office of Special Education Programs (the federal funding and oversight agency)  stating the Panel’s general purpose is to submit the posted state performance plan and a state performance report.  As a  result, their contents were reviewed and scored in this professional response from superior educator, Dr. Sue Atkinson, Baxter, Iowa.

Based on a thorough assessment of the Advisory Panel’s posted minutes document, the overall score for the Panels’ posted performance plan and report is only 1% percent reduction in Special Education enrollment, 5 years after it is implemented, with respect to an enrollment of 483,451 in 2015-2016. 

AN EFFECTIVE IMPROVEMENT PLAN WOULD REDUCE SPECIAL ED ENROLLMENT BY AT LEAST 30% IN 5 YEARS!!   

1% enrollment reduction is unacceptable and results from:

1) No clearly stated purpose to measurably reduce Special Education enrollment at all, and no one is named in charge or accountable,

2) No educator interest, intention or commitment to reduce enrollment,

3) Fraudulent educator cult belief that Special Ed students are defective and can’t be taught and can’t learn, despite lack of any medically diagnosed learning disabilities,

4) No measurable improved results amounts stated or expected,

5) No educator consequences for poor results or poor performance of any kind,

6) Panels’ incapability (they were educated in the failed public schools) to prepare a comprehensive, Special Ed. enrollment reduction plan!

Read on for Dr. Sue’s further assessment, explanation and critique of the Panels’ unacceptable statements and documents!

The minutes of the Special Ed Advisory Panel Meeting 09-8-17 posted on website

https://www.educateiowa.gov/sites/files/ed/documents/Iowa%20Special%20Education%20Advisory%20Panel%20Minutes.pdf

clearly indicate Iowa is still behind in figuring out the connection between the number of students in Special Ed and the ineffective teaching methods being used in the classroom (according to the latest NCTQ reports of Dec 2016 and June 2017), thus making their plan to address the situation as likely to fail as all of their previous “fixes” that have cost the taxpayers billions of dollars. 

UPDATED IOWA EDUCATION FIX FAILURES AND COSTS

IS THIS HEAVEN?  NO!  IT’S IOWA!

GOVERNOR BRANSTAD AND SENATOR MIKE GRONSTAL APPROVED OF AT LEAST $187 BILLION EDUCATION WASTE.  Source: Iowalive & Others  11-20-17

DESCRIPTION OF EDUCATION FIX FAILURES FOISTED ON IA SCHOOL  BOARDS & TAXPAYERS.

ESTIMATED NET, TOTAL WASTE, AS OF 11-20-17  (BILLIONS)

HIGHER TEACHER PAY

$98.00

STATE AID TO SCHOOLS

$56.00

SPECIAL EDUCATION

$24.80

AEAs

$22.50

PHASES I, II & III TEACHER TRAINING

$8.00

SMALLER CLASS SIZE

$6.40

NEW MATH

$5.70

WHOLE LANGUAGE

$4.30

MANDATORY KINDERGARTEN

$2.40

TEACHER-IN-SERVICE DAYS

$2.30

PRESCHOOL

$0.70

TEACHER LEADERSHIP PROGRAM

$0.40

ALL OTHER FAILURES

$1.00

TOTAL

$232.50

Anyone claiming to have better numbers is asked to provide them.

 

The state’s ESSA plan also demonstrates this lack of knowledge of what is creating one of the largest proficiency gaps in the country.

This is what the Panel’s plan says they will look at:

Areas we look at in the I-SIP include:

·Results – A broad statement of desired outcomes. Linked to State Board and

Division goals

·Result Measure – Data elements that broadly describe status of the desired result.   Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

·Indicators – Data elements that are more sensitive to describe progress towards the result

measure.   Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

·Potential Factors – Variables shown by research to effect desired outcome.   Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

 Elementary Status Since 2015

·General upward trend in percent of students with IEPs at or above benchmarks Spring 2016-

Spring 2017.  Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

·More districts are reporting screening data.  Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

·1 in 4 students with IEPs (20-25%) are meeting benchmarks.  Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

·The percentage of students with IEPS who meet benchmarks decline as grade levels increase.  Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

Secondary Status Since 2015

·IEP students (42%) require remedial coursework (non-IEP 17.8%).  Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

·IEP students drop out of school at twice the rate of their non-IEP peers.  Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

·Large difference in 4-year graduation rate (2015-16 -70% vs 93%).  Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

·More clarification of data is needed (meaning, comparison of IEP and nonIEP, removals).  Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.

Differentiated Accountability in Iowa

Iowa has established a Unified Differentiated Accountability and Support System [UDAS] designed to provide support for public districts, accredited nonpublic schools and Area Education Agencies (AEAs) when and where they need it most.  The UDAS provides a way to determine how to allocate resources to improve our state systems. UDAS will not go away with the implementation of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) but will continue as part of Collaborating for Iowa’s Kids (C4K) in collaboration with AEAs and LEAs. UDAS also emphasizes positive outcomes for all Iowa learners as well as provides Tiered

support at the Universal, Supplemental and Intensive levels. With the data we have collected, based on the healthy indicators in Differentiated Accountability we have been able to identify schools and districts that are need of support which allows us to provide a needs assessment to identify and prioritize needs.

Here is my experience with the Baxter school district, that approximates the poor decision-making seen in Iowa education around the state in various degrees (except in this case, I attend most of the monthly school board meetings and tell them during the public forum what they need to be doing, based on current assessments and studies regarding the difference between the system of memorization Iowa has been using the past five+ decades and the system of concepts they are supposed to be getting back to):

·      Five years ago, Baxter finally made the change to materials for concept-based reading.  While the materials they purchased were based on the national Common Core, Iowa schools have been required to follow the Iowa Core, written by Iowa educators and a complete embarrassment because of all the memorization it contained (and the materials for teaching this are still in use by Iowa’s teacher training programs, which also fail to incorporate all five of the concepts known as the science of reading).

·      I told them that night that they should plan on doing an effective remediation of the teachers who would be using this new material (which could be done with online programs) so they would not only make up for their education and training only in a system of memorization, but learn the methods they should be using to effectively teach reading concepts to the various learning styles (which memorization does not do, putting students into Special Ed with the false notion they have a disability).

·      Baxter failed to see that teachers were effectively remediated, so they used the memorization methods they learned in Iowa’s failed elementary teacher training programs, and student proficiencies remained at low levels, commensurate with Iowa’s poor showing on national NAEP assessments that use national grade level standards, but also show the low standards Iowa uses as basic entry level.

·      I explained to them that to effectively remediate both students and teachers, it was necessary to begin at the beginning level and go through each of the five reading concepts using effective teaching methods, but this was not done with either the teachers nor the students.  Instead, Iowa’s idiotic summer reading program of “just read more” was used for three years – and has been an acknowledged failure (but which Dir. Ryan Wise touted in his cover letter for Iowa’s ESSA plan, and for which he received an award from the Iowa Association of School Boards).

·      This fall – five years later – Baxter is implementing a program that only teaches the concepts they failed to teach up to this point (because only three of Iowa’s elementary teacher training programs – four as of last year – incorporate all five concepts, even though they are using the wrong teaching methods), so I have told them at at least two of the monthly board meetings this fall they need to do a complete remediation if they want to be more successful than the failed summer reading program.

·      Three years ago, Baxter purchased materials to begin using curriculum for math concepts (based on the national Common Core – because the Iowa attempt to write a math curriculum was as embarrassing as their attempt to write a reading curriculum), so I told them at that meeting they would need to completely remediate teachers to make up for both their own bad education as well as their bad training (and even now only two of Iowa’s elementary teacher training programs use the correct materials).

·      Baxter failed to see that teachers were effectively remediated so they understood math concepts and knew how to effectively teach them to the various learning styles.

·      At the November school board meeting, the elementary principal announced they would begin training teachers to understand the concept of numbers – no mention of how to effectively teach this to the various learning styles.

According to the Special Ed Advisory minutes:  “The State’s primary focus on monitoring activities must be on the following per Iowa Code 41.600(2):

·Improving educational results and functional outcomes for all children with disabilities (no mention of the fact Iowa falsely considers students they have failed to teach as “disabled” in spite of several national studies and reports); and

·ensuring that public agencies meet the program requirements under Part B of the Act, with a

particular emphasis on those requirements that are most closely related to improving educational results for children with disabilities (no mention of the fact Iowa falsely considers students they have failed to teach as “disabled” in spite of several national studies and reports).”

The minutes go on to say:  “Our focus on General Supervision in Iowa is:

1.The duty to Inform

2.The duty to prevent

3.The duty to inspect/detect

4.The duty to correct”

Notice there is no mention of the low standards Iowa uses in lieu of national grade level standards – NOR the fact that teachers are untrained in effective teaching methods, which affect the data elements.  To effectively remediate it is necessary to know how to effectively teach.  The Supreme Court has ruled that discriminating against students denies them an education, a right they have under Amendment 14 of the Constitution.  Iowa is ripe for a class action lawsuit.

Sue Atkinson, PhD

P. O. Box 301

Baxter IA 50028

641-227-3786

http://www.iowalive.net/

Sincerely,

Iowalive    A  growing network of volunteer citizens and professionals for improving Iowa