As noted earlier this year, the proposed revisions would have dramatic and detrimental effects on Michigan's children. As Laura Jones, the petition's organizer, puts it, the changes would.
- "Change eligibility standards for children on the autistic spectrum by use of a symptom which is not an accepted medical diagnostic criteria. The result will be a flood of ASD kids being pushed into general education without help, causing havoc in classrooms and education needs not being met for all students. Look up the definition of the word 'including'. It does not mean 'such as'.
- Remove the use of multidisciplinary teams in evaluations, which places too much control over eligibility with a few people. Such limited evaluations will be incomplete and inaccurate as the team members are further degraded by a drop in qualifications for education and medical professionals.
- Degrade the standards for Para-Pros who provide direct instruction in reading, written expression and mathematics to the lowest possible level (high school diploma) and reduce the quality of education for Special Education students.
- Short term measurable objectives will be eliminated, removing any progress monitoring for children or staff that is other than subjective.
- Have special education staffing levels set by schools locally and will explode special education staff caseloads as standards are removed.
- Remove all transparency from the ISD “alternate special education plan.” MI ISDs have authority to override all special education programs, program sizes, teacher caseloads and student age spans, and create their own. The MI DOE is now proposing to remove all transparency and only require that the ISD keeps a copy of this “alternate plan” on file.
- Require parents to initiate consent for special education prior to convening an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. This is incongruent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This may be due to the poor clarrity in the proposed rules changes, which is further reason to withdraw them.
- Reduce requirements for Hearing Impairment and Visual Impairment teachers, shortchanging students.
- Allow physician assistants to be on the evaluation team to determine a Physical Impairment (PI), Other Health Impairment (OHI), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Deaf-Blind.
- Require only a psychiatrist, psychologist and social worker in determining a student’s eligibility for an Emotional Impairment."
As the petition grows, organizers have found an ally in Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley, who has a daughter receiving special education services. However, the fight isn't over and every name is counted.
Click here to add yours today.