It’s been slow going since Judge Goodstein ordered MPS to do more for kids with special needs in 2008.
After dragging their feet last year, it looks like it’s going to be a “tough road ahead” for MPS to make progress with the court-ordered compliance plan, says Alan Coulter, the independent expert overseeing the “Jamie S. Compliance Plan.”
A second year review says the district is taking “encouraging steps” but parents are saying this sounds a bit too optimistic.
MPS is required to better identify and serve children with special needs and to make progress in 41 action steps in the plan. Can they do this while facing a dramatic reduction in financial resources?
“MPS lost about $84 million through spending cuts in Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011-’13 biennial budget, and it laid off 519 employees – including 354 teachers…”
“The improvement plan stems from a federal class-action lawsuit brought by Disability Rights Wisconsin. The group claimed MPS was not doing enough to seek out and then serve children with special needs, and that the state Department of Public Instruction had failed in its oversight of the district.
See Judge Orders Sanctions Against School District, Remedies For Kids
“DPI settled with Disability Rights on the case in 2008, and the settlement agreement required the state to create a compliance plan with Coulter and make sure those actions were carried out within MPS.”
Parents ask, “Has there indeed been improvement?” Some are still dubious, are asking for the report data, and question if MPS is really headed in the right direction.
See the full article in the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel.
Yes never give up. We are slow to change but persistence will make it happen. With the funding and extra teacher help we can work as a team.
This is a great example of a couple of important points. 1st, that systemic change is glacially slow. 2nd, that improving outcomes for students with disabilities improves outcomes for all students. 3rd, that as parents, we must continue to be vigilant regarding our particular student and his/her progress. While the slow changes happen, individual students must continue to have advocates overseeing individual progress. When we look back, the prognosis for a child with a disability has improved enormously. The system is changing in a positive way. We must not become complacent, especially when it comes to our individual children. If we are “pleasantly persistent”, requiring schools to provide what the laws require, we provide the stimulus for continued positive change. In other words, never give up!