Alert: Oakland Schools has created a flyer on the proposed revisions to the Mi Admin Rules for Special Ed that is disingenuous and dangerous to the children and teachers.

My information is spreading to parents and concerned teachers and citizens. The Oakland Schools and MDE are working hard to discredit my information. This will not work.

*****Please email me at if you have received this flyer.

Red Flag!!!! Open the link to the Michigan Protection and Advocacy “MPAS” public comment. MPAS put out a public comment and then revised and resubmitted their public comment.

MPAS Public Comment “1”: “original” public comment was “in support of “revision to R 340.1832/ISD Plan and the newly proposed “d” local authority for special ed staffing. This comment raises serous concerns about the ISD “alternate” plans but was written under the impression that the newly proposed “d” would not allow ISDs and school districts to determine special ed staffing levels.

MPAS “Revised/Resubmitted” Comment “2”: “Opposes” R 340.1832d and giving ISDs and school days any additional authority to override state rules on special education programs and caseloads.

Oakland Schools’ disputed responses to my concerns documented in my posts on Facebook, in my blog on the rule revisions and in national action alerts.

1. My assertion that R 340.1832″d” gives ISDs and school districts authority to change special ed staffing caseloads.

Oakland Schools’ response states that this will provide an “additional layer of oversight but “neglects” to explain that the ISDs have full authority to override the special education programs and create their own.  My assertion is “fact” and theirs is disingenuous propaganda.

2. My assertion that the proposed revision to the Autism Spectrum Disorder “rule”/R 340.1715 that states the following; “a student will have to fail to make eye contact.” This is based upon “fact.”  The MDE’s proposed revision “removes” the words “such as” (eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture and social interaction) to “INCLUDING”.  Changing the verbiage from “such as” to “including” will not “mandate” that a student must be unable to make eye contact in order to qualify.  Oakland Schools’ response is inaccurate and frightening as most people are overwhelmed with the volume of these revisions and don’t understand something that sounds as benign as removing “such as” and replacing with “including.”  This is among the most insidious of the MDE’s proposed revisions.

3. My assertion that removing “short term objectives” and have nothing but an annual goal. Oakland Schools’ explanation that the IDEA does not require short term objectives.  I have openly stated that the IDEA 2004 revisions removed the requirement for short term objectives outside of students on modified/alternate curriculum. My assertion is that the MDE is lowering the bar to the “minimum” required in the IDEA is 100-percent accurate. Removing short term objectives removes all accountability for a student’s growth, or lack there of. Parents will have to wait one year to measure progress, or lack thereof. We stopped the MDE from removing short term objectives in 2008.

4. My assertion that eliminating the Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team is being pushed to save time and money.  Oakland Schools’ response that the group of “professionals” has always been documented is disingenuous. Yes, the Mi Admin Rules document the “required members” of a MET. However, the “Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team” has always gone beyond the “defined” members required.  This change is to remove staff from both the MET and ultimately the IEP team meetings.

5. My assertion that parents will be required to “consent to the provision of special education programs and services prior to the IEP team meeting” is the “fact” based upon the MDE”s proposed revisions. Oakland Schools’ flyer actually has the audacity to state; “Procedurally, it is not yet clear how districts will address this change…..” (please read this and then imagine that a proposed revision is “not yet clear” to ISDs like Oakland Schools or school districts.”  My comment remains “factual.”  Parents will be frozen out of the decisions on special eduction programs and services and be left to file formal “written complaints” or hire lawyers (prohibitively expensive) to file for a due process administrative hearing.

6, 7 & 8:  My assertion that the MDE’s proposed revisions to R 340.1832″e” ISD Alternate Special Ed Plans is nothing short of devastating remains my personal opinion and is shared by Michigan Protection and Advocacy (read MPAS’ public comment).  R 340.1832″e” was promulgated back in 2002 and gave ISDs permission to override all of our special education programs and services, and create their own. Not ONE ISD has used this rule to “reduce” special education program sizes.  This “rule” has only been used for budgetary purposes to allow districts to balance their budgets on the backs of kids with IEPs.

Further, the MDE”s proposed “additional” rule that a “paraprofessional” will only require a high school diploma”  Oakland Schools’ response about the “support” role that paras play is disingenuous and inaccurate.  Many students receive “direct instruction” from paraprofessionals.  In 2004 the U.S. Dept.  of Ed put out “non-regulatory guidance on paras”.  This document states that “paras providing direct instruction in reading, writing and math should have at least two years of higher level education.” ( I have posted this document on the Facebook page, Michigan Alliance for Special Education).  The MDE’s proposed revision codifies the lowest bar of expectations for paras that will never (or not anytime in the foreseeable future) require changes to para requirements, professional development, or allow them to earn a sustainable wage.

9. My assertion that it is wrong to “change the definition of a student with a disability.” I stand firm on this statement.  As an advocate and in IEP team meetings for middle school and high school students multiple times per week, I can say loudly and clearly that not one time has an IEP team raised the possibility or benefit of a potential 5th and 6th year of high school. Last summer an Oakland County school district forced a 12th grade student with an IEP and reading, writing and math skills back in the 3rd and 4th grade, to exit special education and graduate.  The district pushed this student through high school by creating “personal curriculums” that allowed the student to pass classes with “exams that only counted for 10-percent” of the grade.  This is a devastating reality for countless students with learning disabilities and ADHD graduating from our high schools with counterfeit diplomas as they receive “Ds” in content classes.

10.  Moving on to the MDE’s proposed revision to allow a Physician’s Assistant to evaluate a student for eligibility under an Other Health Impairment/OHI, Physical Impairment/PI, Traumatic Brain Injury/TBI and Deaf-Blindnes/DB, is an insult to the children and will allow for inaccurate evaluations that lead or don’t lead to eligibility. Clearly, this is my opinion but it is shared by the medical community and PhD psychologists and audiologists and optometrists. The reality is that the evaluation for ADHD is already problematic as many pediatricians lack the knowledge to properly evaluate for ADHD and now the MDE wants to add a Physician’s Assistant?  This is nothing but the Department’s intent to water-down evaluations.  The Oakland Schools flyer actually talks about shortages in the medical community as the reason behind this revision. This is malarkey.  Further, it would have been totally appropriate for the MDE to revise the OHI and TBI to add a PhD psychologist but that they have not done. Why you ask? Simply because both school psychologists and PhD psychologists are being eliminated and it is all about money.

To see the flyer being distributed click this link.

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