From the discussion on Diane Ravtich’s blog on “reforms” to special education compliance…
Diane, I’m a sped teacher who believes the focus on compliance is insane. I spend my days doing paperwork to meet compliance mandates while my paraprofessional works with kids in small groups. At least once a week, I’m at school for 2 hours after dismissal completing paperwork. Our IEPs are 17 pages long – for EACH student. I want to teach. I’m sick of sitting at a computer all day long.
I agree that monitoring achievement data for sped kids is crazy and can see how that will just lead to even more paperwork. But if it means no more 17 page IEPs, I’d be happy.
This is why most teachers in a given district/state/country go along with education reform. They don’t like present conditions, and think that anything would be better, when it really just makes it worse, either in the same way or in a new and really awful way. I’ll share a story I heard about why there is compliance with Arne Duncan and ed.gov on the part of national teacher unions that I find entirely believable. The story goes that rank-and-file members are demanding that the union support the waiver process because they are panicked about being labelled a “failing” school as we approach the time when 100% of students should be at grade-level proficiency. They are solely focused on not being able to achieve that impossibility, and not on what they are signing up for in its place. What SPED teacher would want to have their compliance judged on the test scores of students on their caseload? The commenter even admits it would be “crazy” to monitor achievement data for students, but says she’d be “happy” to do that in place of 17 page IEPs, not understanding that teachers will be judged on whether they are doing their job based on this, not just school districts and states. It’s that lack of long-term thinking that has allowed this circus to go forward as long as it has.