MDE Crosses Point of No Return


The Michigan Department of Education has crossed the point of no return. Their thinking is delusional and their actions are nothing short of corrupt.

Today I received a Final Report on a special education written complaint (known as a Part B/Part B IDEA complaint) that I filed against the MDE. Mind you they issued the Final Report two weeks late. My complaint alleged that they had violated the state and federal special ed laws by not investigating and issuing a Final Report on a Part 8/Part B written complaint filed against our Bad Boy, Southfield Public Schools on Jan. 7, 2014. instead the MDE reached “resolution” with Southfield around me and my co-complainant. We would not have known had we not been copied on a May 14, 2014 letter to Southfield letting the district know that the case was being closed due to providing all of the paperwork required in the resolution agreement.

I said, Huh? Are you kidding me? I emailed the MDE and cast of disingenuous and un-ethical half-wits. One of them, Harvvalee Saunto responded that the MDE had reached resolution and had copied me and my co-complainant on a Feb. 7, 2014 letter that we never received, She emailed me a copy.

I then filed a complaint against the MDE for failing to follow the IDEA and MI Special Ed Rules pursuant to a special education complaint. This should have been a slam dunk. Then again this is the MDE. This is Mike Flanagan and Eleanor White’s MDE (at least until she flies off on her broom on 08-15 for the EAA).

The MDE found themselves “in compliance” on all allegations in this complaint. The MDE had the audacity to justify this convoluted compliance by inaccurately citing “resolution procedures” used in Kansas and Idaho. What, all of a sudden, Kansas and Idaho define IDEA? In any event, the MDE misquoted their procedures. They suggested that in Kansas and Idaho the Department of Ed reaches resolution around parents all the time. Yeah, right!

Then they cited a dialogue that the MDE’s Harvalee Saunto had with Office of Civil Rights staff. They went outside of IDEA and looked to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the ADA for guidance. The MDE documented that the OCR holds the school district in higher esteem than the parent. That the OCR gives deference to the school district. This too is nuts. U.S. Department of Ed, Office of un-Special Education Programs, “Dispute Resolution, Questions & Answers,” along with “commentary” in the Federal Register, recognize that “special education complaints present a powerful mechanism for parents to avoid costly due process hearings.”

The MDE is violating the IDEA every day. They are getting away with it because our MI Protection & Advocacy and ACLU won’t get involved. They are getting away with it because Ed Secretary Arne Duncan’s U.S. Department of Ed is less accountable to students with special needs and IDEA than when George Bush was President and Margaret Spellings was Ed Secretary. As a Democrat, I got more done with Margaret Spellings as Ed Secretary and Kerri Briggs as Assistant Secretary than I do with Arne Duncan and Michael Yudin. Shame on them.

Shame on the MDE and if Mike Flanagan, Eleanor White or her soon to be successor think I will go away or stop filing complaints, they haven’t read the memos. I will fight as long as I am 6′ above ground and can walk and talk…and if I can’t walk, then as long as I can talk. Henry David Thoreau lived believing that we must challenge government and evil. So did Martin Luther King. And I will….

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