Dr. Suess

"And will you succeed? Yes indeed! Yes indeed! Ninety Eight and Three Quarters guarenteed!"

Friday, February 11, 2005

Educating a child, should not be this hard!

Pearls and Dreams

It's 4 something am ... and I'm up because medicaid doesn't see fit to give enough Ambien to get me through a month ...and my son's teachers can't see fit to give him an appropriate education ... the following is an email that I just sent off to the special ed director of our district. We've already had 3 meetings between us and the teachers this year ... one had : The Special ed director, the principal, the vice principal, the school psychologist, the school counselor, the special ed math teacher, special ed social studies teacher, the special ed english teacher, special ed science teacher , the typing teacher ...they thought I was coming to the meeting alone HA ... they had one chair for me ... I walked in with my husband, my mom (who taught special education for 22 years) and our children's pastor (who taught school for 9 years and had special education students in her classroom the whole 9 years). We came to very little agreement in the meeting, but did come to some kind of agreement that should have helped .. we've done our part ... but ..it's not helping one little bit ..why? Because the problem was not, nor has it ever been, Benjamin or his willingness to cooperate. All of the agreements made, were based on getting Benjamin to do more work ... (taking away his locker so he can't stuff homework in it and not bring it home ... total agreement of EVERYONE in the room was one of the things). We did need to find something for him, but until the teachers change the way THEY function ... nothing is really going to change, till they stop blaming my son ... it's not going to work the following is my email to the special ed director.
Dr. J
I am, once again, at my wits end and don't know what to do. I would call another meeting, but to what end? To have Don yelling at the teachers and the teachers yelling at Don? It is 4 am, and I cannot sleep, because I am so frustrated with Benjamin's school situation and I just don't know what to do. I am doing everything that I can do, but your teachers are NOT doing everything that they can do, and ARE doing things to make matters worse.
Three times this week, Benjamin has come home complaining that his Math teacher Mrs. S has refused to help him. He says that he asks for help and she says "We covered the first three problems as a class, now do your work." or "I showed you how to do it, now do your work" or "You should know how to do it by now, now do your work"
Today, she called my mother because Benjamin was not working on his work and was instead drawing on himself. (what happened to emailing me if they could not reach me by phone as was discussed in the meeting?) She told my mom that she had told him that he had been shown how to do the problems and should do them but he was saying he didn't know how, so he was 'choosing to write on himself instead.' We discussed in the IEP meeting that this kind of behavior is his version of shut down. when he gets overwhelmed, when he gets confused, when he doesn't know what to do, instead of an outburst, or getting angry ... instead of acting out ... he grabs a book, he looks out the window, he draws ... he has verbalized to her that he does not understand. It's FRACTIONS. How many kids have to be shown over and over and over and over and over and over and over again and STILL don't remember it? He has SEVERE memory problems ...both short term and long term, she has no basis to expect him to remember it from one day to the next. Yet, she refuses to give him the help he needs.
Top it all off, after calling my mom, she refused to let him take the assignement home because 'he needed something to work on while the substitue is there on friday'. So, she won't help in class, and he can't take it home to get help from my mom after she calls her to tell her he won't do it???
Benjamin's grades in all his special ed classes are D's and F's ..his science grade,(I think it's science) is a 33%. This is absolutely absurd. They have GOT to stop blaming Benjamin and find a way to MEET BENJAMIN'S INDIVIDUAL LEARNING ABILITY. I don't care that they have a classroom full of other students, I do care, but you know what I mean. The law states that you MUST meet the child's individual needs. You cannot just shove the blame off on the child because he needs more attention than they want to give him. Either give him a one on one aide for each of his classes, or get the teachers to do something to change the way THEY deal with him. MAKE THEM STOP BLAMING BENJAMIN. IT IS NOT THE JOB OF THE CHILD TO FIT INTO THE INSTITIUTIONS NEEDS ... it is the institutitions job to fit the childs needs. That is WHY the special education laws exist. There is no viable reason for a special education child to be failing!
Yes, the relationship has become contentious, but can you blame me? When a teacher mistreats a child the parents normally become resentful and protective.

I don't know what else to do ... calling a meeting won't work ... I've done that ... something has to give ... and Benjamin is caught in the middle and it is NOT fair! It is NOT Benjamin, it is NOT the Eagler family ...I can name names of people who have struggled with the special education at the 6th and 7th grade center ...who have had absolute NIGHTMARE situations ... my mother works at Huntington learning center where they have student after student coming in with IEP's and parents saying the teachers are not doing the job and blaming the parents and children. I know of other families who've had such bad experiences they've moved out of the district or taken their child out or homeschooled ... I don't have any of those options because of my health and financial situation. I can't send him to Town and Country because we don't have the money. I can't fix anything ... Union is my one and only option ... Educating a child is not supposed to be this difficult..

Peggikaye Eagler


  1. Hi. I'm new here. I used to spend most of my life at these kind of meetings. Your email is excellent. And you're right. They need to stop trying to make him fit...but it's probably not going to happen...or happen easily. Is a one-on=one something they've budgeted for? Would they pay you or a family member to come and be the one-on-one? Does your district have an advocate, someone who will really push for the IEP/IAT and need oriented paperwork to be accomplished? If they do pull them in on this. Publicity can also be an amazing motivator. Schools don't want to be portrayed badly (funding and all). Inform that their practices might be of interest to the general public (not quite a threat, but they'll get the message).

    You're in a tough spot, but the way I read the Word: Nothing is impossible for God!

    blessings and grace.

  2. The district does not have any one on one ...should they? Yes. Do they? No ..by the way, while we are in the poorest area of the district, the district is one of the richest in the state, so when they hollar $ ... I don't buy it. Sorry, when you spend $68,000 on a homecoming TAILGATE party for the district ..you don't get to hollar no money for special education.

    ok .. my mom has taught special ed for 22 years, my dad taught for 42 years before he retired (he taught before it was law!) I was a special ed major ..and you've thrown a term at me I don't know! Congrats! What's an IAT?

    The district wouldn't DREAM of offering parents an advocate. They have actually told parents that they couldn't BRING an advocate with them, and unfortunately, some parents don't know any better.

    Publicity? They aren't even slightly worried about that. If you contact the media around here for stuff like this ...which I have on more than one occassion the response is "we have to report on too many negative stories as it is, we'd prefer to report on the more positive aspects of education so the community has a better perspective of the schools."
    It's funny, Tulsa Public schools gets negative reports all the time ... Union? only positive .. Tulsa ... poor district ... Union ... rich district.
    (except for about 12% of Union, which is below poverty, but 43% of Tulsa district is below poverty. )

    We've taken the district to due process twice before, and won, when they refused to give him an IEP as a toddler. She has been dealing with me for 10+ years ... by now, she ought to know, I'm willing to work, but I'm not willing to let my child be stomped on. They don't care about publicity, they know the media won't do it. They don't care about due process, they can afford it. They don't care. They don't care about anything that motivates most districts.

    In the 42 years my dad was in special ed ... he's never seen anything like it.

    And you're right ...nothing IS impossible with God.

    After I wrote the letter, and posted it to my blog, I started to realize, that I've planted the idea of Town and Country (a private school for kids with ADHD & other learning disabilities that had a GREAT reputation) and they HAVE paid the tuition for that school for a couple of kids before. Maybe they'd be willing to do that, just to get Benjamin out of their hair. Sooo ... I think that's the way my prayers are going to go. I certainly don't have the $6,000 a year to put him there myself.

  3. oh, and welcome! I hope you like my blog and come back often!

  4. This comes back oh too clearly from 15 years ago with my son in special ed. I finally ended up with an arrangement where they supplied me with a list of assignments on Friday for the following week. We worked on them at home since they couldn't provide the help that was needed. Granted the school wasn't doing its job, but the kid wasn't getting frustrated by being constantly accused and I wasn't going to meeting after meeting trying to move a dead horse. Not a perfect solution, but it worked for me. Just a thought. You have my sympathies working with that beauracracy.

  5. P.S. They give these teachers special training in special ed. They don't give training in common sense! Michele

  6. This is just crazy!

    An education is one of the most important things you can give a child, and success/failure in reaching certain standards will pretty much determine a large part of future success.

    But a love of studying....and wanting to continually improve yourself by learning new things is also important in itself. Education is one area adequate resources should be made available so that "no child is left behind" becomes a reality