Sunday, November 11, 2012

Special Education: Greece Central Fails

Since school opened in September, I've recieved numerous parent complaints and questions about how the Greece Central School District handles (or doesn't) students with special needs. Most of these complaints came from parents asking what they can do when Greece ignores the specifics spelled out in their child's IEP. Most of these problems seem to be happening at our infamous "schools-of-choice" - West Ridge & Pine Brook.

Several of these complaints involve IEP's designating that the student was to have an aide available to provide some form of support, in the classroom, on the school bus, etc. I'm hearing that GCSD is ignoring the student's needs/IEP by not providing the designated support and then punishing students for not complying with various requests by teachers/staff, or for not adhering to rules, policies, etc. Some parents who attempt to advocate for their children are told to stop communicating with classroom teachers, or are threatened with further troubles for their youngster (or his/her siblings) to face should they persist. Very typical, though sad for the parents to face and pathetic on the district's end, too. Certainly GCSD can and should do it better!

Several of these totally frustrated parents have begun jumping ship by pulling their special needs students out of Greece schools and opting for private or parochial schools at great expense. Some are pulling ALL of their kids out of Greece. Adding insult to injury, once they settle into their new schools, they soon discover how far behind their children really are in learning to read, do math, etc. Then they end up facing the need to enlist tutors or other help to try to get their children back on track academically. It's a disgrace!

Let's remember that Greece Central Schools were sued not all that long ago when the Walts/Keller-Cogan administrations created a mess for parents of such students. It sounds like we're well on our way to heading back to repeating that situation. Special Education is costly enough without factoring in more lawsuits. Other districts seem to get it right. Why can't Greece?

Dr. Deb Hoeft<BR>Assistant Superintendent
Deb Hoeft, Ed.D.Assistant Superintendent585.966.2343


Anonymous said...

Hoeft was the problem prior to the law suit and the resulting in the Consent Agreement worked out with attorney Jonathan Feldman. When the agreement expired, Hoeft inc went back to their intimidating ways and began denying services to students in need.

With Pallas gone, that leaves only one Walts trained subject left, Deb Hoeft. She needs to go as she is not capable of being an administrator dealing with special Ed. Kids and their parents or for that matter anything else she is responsible for.

SCATS said...

To 3:12PM ~~ I'm not sure I understand when you say the "agreement expired." WHAT expired??

CMPBC said...

I just wanted to remark on this topic since my family has experienced this.

We came here from another district which I thought had been doing my child, with an IEP, wrong. When we came into the district I saw things that were heartbreaking for my child as well as myself. The district fought me until my child was not only failing all subjects but also being bullied so badly he was acting out for retribution.

I am a parent who believes that even if you feel you have been wronged you do the right thing. You take the right path to make things better. You never bring a knife to school or any other physical acting out. My child however is a young autistic child who does not completely understand and while he did get at home discipline for his at school bad behaviors I could not help but feel guilty EVERY DAY because school situations were making him (as well as my family) feel helpless and like there were no options.

At one point I had been told (By an assistant principal):
I have a step child with learning disabilities and this child was more successful than they would have been in a specialized program for children who have learning disabilities. REALLY? That is what you have to tell a parent asking you to follow the IEP! I was frustrated and disappointed.

Then the IEP was ripped apart, without knowing my child that well and my child turned into a mess at school! It was worse than ever before. At the head, worst point in the situation last year, my child and I were told we needed an attorney to represent us for the case to be expelled.

Last year was awful. I got every agency I could think of involved and finally this year the autism specialists that are needed. Success - sort of! Things are better. Difficult but better. Much improvement needed still but UGGGG some process was made.

Why should a parent need to hire, involve, 5 agencies to get the help a child is legally entitled too.

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem is theSED itself. They encourage districts to keep the number of special education students to a minimum. As usual, at the root of the problem as far as the SED Is concerned state aid costs related to SE programs . The state must reimburse the district and is responsible for 50% of related costs per student.

The dismantling of the SE programs in Greece began under Walts. At that time , 15% of Greece students were classified Special Education students prompting the SED to suggest those numbers were excessive That resulted in Walts giving the go ahead to begin to reclassify and mainstream kids with special needs. By the time Walts left in 05, only 7% of Greece students were so designated. Required staffing was the other part of the equation and deficient and continues today inspite of the terms agreed to in the law suit .

SCATS said...

To 7:38PM ~~ Even if that is part of the problem, it is NO EXCUSE for district personnel to make life miserable for these parents and students. I often get the impression that GCSD employees just do NOT like children. This is one of those times.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the parents that was involved in the class action suit. The district will fight at every turn to make you believe that "mainstreaming" is best for your child. While I think some teachers and administrators may sincerely believe that, in a lot of cases they are being pressured to reduce costs. The will fight your placement in a program and then push your child to take more credits to get them through the system as quickly as possible even though they are required by law to provide services until the student is 21. Get a lawyer, get an advocate and if the district cannot provide the right services, get them to pay for alternative placement. You should not be paying out of pocket for an education guaranteed by law. Don't give up.

Anonymous said...

This may help some families that want to take the time and fill the form out. The US Department of Justice oversees education. If enough familes do this who knows what the US Department of Justice will do. I have read one case where they came in and investigated. It was in Riverside California.

SCATS said...

To 8:01 and 8:02 PM ~~ Good advice both!

Anonymous said...

One of the districts dirty little secrets came to light shortly after Keller Cogan left. There actually existed a criteria attached special education administrators regarding classification and reclassification. It involved a simple one for one formula. Admistrators were required to follow this proceedure. For every child classified and given an IEP, one child had to be reclassified and mainstreamed. This practice was confirmed by one of those in charge at the time under questioning.

My personal take on the districts view of educating some of these kids is one of total indifference to their needs as well the rational that educating them is a waste of time and resources as they will never become productive Individules of our society.

Anonymous said...

Any time my child progressed with extra support and got to a passing level, the support was withdrawn only to be re-established when he started floundering again. We were told that an IEP wasn't necessary, only a 504. This went on for years until consulted an attorney.

SCATS said...

To 2:42PM ~~ That sounds like Greece! They love to blame parents & students .... and to make everyone fight for each little thing. It's one reason why parents count the days until graduation.

Anonymous said...

Greece has "graduates"? [g]

SCATS said...

To 7:29PM ~~ Yes sir, we do! But that doesn't mean they are either "college or career ready" ... much to the chagrin of parents who spend $$$ only to find that Timmy can't balance a checkbook, so he'll never be a rocket scientist. Thank God for those sports scholarships ;)

Anonymous said...

Since when to rocket scientists have to balance checks books? Isn't that what wives are for???