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The Special Ed Advocate

Managing Parent-School Disputes During the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Pam Wright & Pete Wright

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This newsletter is a 3 minute read (674 words).

If you are like millions of parents, you've been counting the days until your child's school reopened for in-person learning.

America's great virtual-learning experiment is off to a glitchy start.

  • Three of Texas' largest school districts were hit with technical problems on the first day of classes, as were school systems in Idaho and Kansas, AP reports.
  • North Carolina's platform crashed on the first day of classes last month.
  • Seattle's system crashed last week.
  • An estimated 62 percent of American school children are starting the year virtually. Many others face a similar fate if the virus caseloads in their communities rise.
  • Only 19 percent of children have in-person school every day, with another 18 percent in hybrid formats. (Source: Axios PM)

Don't under-estimate this virus -- it's devious. Reopening schools for safe in-person learning is complicated. Staying open is incredibly difficult, even with strict safety measures.

In this issue of The Special Ed Advocate, we discuss . . .

  • "Why Can't I Trust the School to Do What's Roght for my Child?" Managing Parent-School Disputes During the COVID-19 Pandemic
  • Pop-Up: Resolving Parent-School Disputes
  • How to be a more effective advocate at IEP meetings
  • More COVID-19 Resources from Wrightslaw

1. "Why Can't I Trust the School to Do What's Right for My Child?" Managing Parent-School Disputes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

"Between COVID-19, job stress, school closures, virtual school, and a child who lost skills and regressed, we've been through the wringer."

"Now my child's team wants me to consent to providing all special education and related services on the school's 'virtual platform.' I don't agree that virtual learning will meet my child's needs or provide him with an appropriate education."

"The team says if I don't give my consent, my child will receive no services at all."

serious woman facing the reader

Advocate Pat Howey answers this parent's questions and provides more strategies about how to be a more effective advocate for your child.

In Why Can't I Trust the School to Do What's Right for My Child? Managing Parent-School Disputes During the COVID-19 Pandemic, you learn . . .

  • why disagreements turn into power struggles;
  • parent power -- how to use your power wisely;
  • stand up and act like an equal team member; and
  • the power of your written opinion after an IEP meeting.

2. Resolving Parent-School Disputes Pop-Up Tool

If you have questions about resolving problems with the school, take a look at the Resolving Disputes Pop-Up Tool.
The Resolving Disputes Pop-Up Tool.Resolving Disputes Pop-Up Tool has 12 Questions and Answers. < br>

  • Question #1. "I don't agree with the school's proposed IEP. What should I do?"

Other questions include:

  • My child's IEP isn't working. How can I get the school to create an IEP with measurable goals?
  • I have a comprehensive evaluation from a neuropsychologist. How can I get the school to use the recommendations from the evaluator?
  • My child's IEP team says they only include academic skills in transition plans. Should other skills be included in the transition plan?
  • Can the IEP team "vote" for a child's placement, if the parent objects?
  • Can a parent demand that an IEP team member be excluded?
  • Our favorite: Is an effective IEP team a reality or impossible dream?

Take a look at the Resolving Disputes Pop-Up Tool

More Cool Tools from Wrightslaw.

3. Be a More Effective Advocate at IEP meetings

The IDEA specifically allows / encourages parents to submit their concerns to the IEP Team. One way to record your concerns and the team's response is to use a written opinion.

When you take time to prepare a Written Opinion, you ensure that the IEP team knows what you experienced during the meeting, how the team answered your questions and requests, and other issues, including disagreements, untruths, misstatements -- all the things that never make it into the school's meeting notes or summary.

4. More COVID-19 Resources from Wrightslaw

Advocacy Rule #1: Write Things Down When They Happen

Worried about Regression? Failure to Learn Basic Academic Skills? Is it Time to Consider a Different Plan for Your Child's Education?

Can IEP Meetings Be Postponed Until After Schools Re-Open?

How to Prepare for IEP Meetings, Provide Info, Share Concerns

How to Use Teletherapy for Therapy and Related Services During COVID-19

Revised: 09/09/20

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