“I’m a special education teacher. At a recent meeting, our sped director told us that ‘parents are not a part of the IEP Team.’ The director said we must have parental consent before we can implement an IEP, although parents are not members of the IEP team.
I’m confused. Can you clarify?
Parents are and always have been members of the IEP team. I can’t imagine why your sped director would tell teachers that parents are not members of the IEP team, but parents have to provide consent to the IEP. If parents aren’t involved in developing the IEP as members of the team, why would they have to consent?
The sped director must know this. But you and your fellow teachers . . . . . . need to know how to find answers to your questions in the federal law and regulations. As you just learned, if you don’t know how to find answers to statements that don’t ring true, you’re at the mercy of others for information.
Do you have a copy of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)? Every special education teacher needs to have a copy of the law and regulations.
The law about IEPs is in Section 1414(d). If you have a copy of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, turn to page 101. You’ll see (B) Individualized Education Team midway down the page in bold type. Parents are listed first.
The federal regulations about IEPs are on pages 245-251. Required members of the IEP team are listed on pages 246-247. Again, parents are listed first.
When you have to deal with a situation like this, we recommend you use the “Columbo Approach.” It goes like this – “I’m confused … I don’t understand … doesn’t it say right here that … ” (as you point to the relevant text in the statute or regulations). Of course (like Miss Manners), you are polite.
You will be in a stronger position if you have the law book in hand, relevant portions of the law highlighted, and sticky notes marking the pages. If you do this, you won’t need to say much (except “I’m confused …”). The law will speak for itself.
Your experience shows why it’s so important for teachers (and parents) to learn how to find answers to questions in the law on their own. If you can’t do this, you’ll rely on what others tell you. As you’ve learned, they may be dead wrong.