Saturday, July 4, 2009

ATTN. Woodstock Special Ed Parents

You'll want to become aware of parent activity in School District 158 (Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Lakewood, Huntley, Union), where parents have banded together to address the services that their special education children are (not) getting. Somehow, in some way, they found one another and, through the power of numbers, they now have the attention of the school district administrators.

Three of the four key special education department administrators left District 158 recently. Is that merely a coincidence? Did they all end up in the same (new) school district?

What does District 200 do for parents of students in Special Education? Anything, except the direct education (we hope) of the students?

A few years ago District 200 started a support group for parents of students in Special Education called Parent-2oo-Parent. I think it lasted one year - maybe two. They kicked me out because I wasn't a "parent". No matter that I was the very involved ex-step-parent in the child's life. That was why I got kicked out; I was asking too many questions and informing other parents of the special education rights of their children.

In District 200 parents of special education students are pretty much kept isolated from one another. No support group exists. No education or training for parents of special education students is provided. No meetings of parents. So parents don't get a chance to meet one another and find out who is satisfied and who is not.

An IEP is supposed to be a "team" effort; a partnership, a collaboration, a working together by parents, teachers and staff for the benefit of the student.

The efforts of special education parents in District 158 should be a model for District 200. And it can be, IF enough parents show up and speak out.

Contact me at and I shall build an email distribution list of parents in D200 for communication about special education services and programs that we'd like to have. Or just email me your suggestions. Better yet - post them right here as Comments for all to read.

District 200 will get a bunch of stimulus money. Let's see how they are supposed to spend it and how they do spend it.

I can tell you how quickly 12 years pass. The parents of younger students now in D200 Special Education should not have to fight all the same battles that those of us who have learned the rights of our children had to fight. Somewhere, there should be progress that stays in place.

Read the articles in local papers that followed Thursday night's meeting. Yes! Thursday night - the night before a holiday week-end!

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