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More on the special ed backlog

By Bill Turque

Deputy chancellor for special education Richard Nyankori called to add a few details to Monday's post about the backlog of 400 incomplete special education evaluations and IEP meetings. Nyankori said he is not shirking ownership of the issue, but that about 17 percent of the cases are several years old, involving students no longer in the system or parents who chose not to continue with the special ed process. "These are cases that were never properly exited out," Nyankori said, and have remained on the city's books as incomplete.

"It was incomplete due diligence on our part," he said.

Overall, Nyankori said the news on special ed evaluations has been good, with the timeliness rate growing from 34 percent to 80 percent in the last year.

He said there has also been significant growth in timely IEP meetings -- where parents and staff discuss the document that will define the services a child will receive--but with room for improvement. About 30 percent of the time parents call to cancel, sometimes for unavoidable contingencies and sometimes for reasons that are less clear.

"We need to increase our parental show rate," he said.

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By Bill Turque  | November 11, 2010; 11:10 AM ET
Categories:  Special Education  
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What adults are responsible for this ineffective service to special ed kids?

Will Nyankori get fired if he can't increase the parent show rate?

Posted by: efavorite | November 11, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully he will soon enough and Go with Rhee and order the special Ed staff to bring back 20 students each in to there neighborhood schools and than RIF them Nyankori is a Clown maybe his Lover will get a new Job else where and they move But if not come June he and Henderson will be GONE

Posted by: Darksecrettt | November 11, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

In response to Darksecrettt's post:

I'd like for someone to track down each of the 20 students the former "Placement Specialists" (now turned Progress Monitors) were mandated to return back to their neighborhood schools. My guess is that most of those students have fallen through DCPS' cracks.

Posted by: pumpkinmuffin | November 11, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Parent no shows? What about DCPS cancellation of meetings at the last minute? And DCPS delays and reschedulings? Is the good doctor telling us that these don’t happen?

Widespread conspiracies involving totally unrelated parties would have to exist for some of what is alluded to in comments to the BT post from 11/08/10 and this one.

For parents to defraud a system to such an extent would require not only unrelated parties to participate, but DCPS itself would have to be a party to have such extensive fraud. Does not DCPS do its own assessment of students? The system claims to have experts on staff and under contract. Does not DCPS assess the private schools into which it places students? If it does not, then it should. What’s the excuse?

DCPS the propaganda series rolls on…The fact remains that DCPS has not had and still does not have the requisite staff, expertise, facilities, capacity, commitment, nor desire to educate many of the special needs children this school system is required to educate.

Trying to create a “parent boogey man/straw man” or whatever you want to call it, does not change that very pertinent fact. Backlogs and cost overruns in special education are not by and large a parent fraud problem, but a problem with DCPS pushing cases to litigation instead providing the services required under law in a timely fashion.

Stop creating boogey men and get to the heart of the problem…litigation…which is most often forced, i.e. parents do not get any response to help their children, and are therefore forced into it.

This system has been broken for decades and no administrator up to this point has picked up the mantle to repair it.

Despite that, I have not given up hope. I am taking this opportunity with a new mayor coming into office to work to change the current environment. I hope others who are posting here are doing the same. There is strength in numbers.

Posted by: Concerned_Citizen2 | November 11, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

Dragging their feet on special ed is par for the course in some of the best school districts in the country. Only a class action lawsuit followed by court intervention will solve this problem. And, like Brown vs. Board of Education, the solution will be for future students, long after present-day students have passed through the system.

Posted by: virtualchemist | November 11, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

virtual: Do you really think that a court can just order enough "staff, expertise, facilities, capacity, commitment, [and] desire" with any more success than senior management has had? If so, then why do suits like Dixon and Jerry M. endure for 3 decades?

Posted by: hungrypug | November 12, 2010 12:31 AM | Report abuse

Virtualchemist - The city's special education agencies (mainly DCPS, but also the OSSE) HAVE BEEN AND ARE STILL under an intensive level of court oversight.. Three court orders (Blackman-Jones, Petties and Vance) are currently in effect, and another court order was recently exited.

These (along with the federal DOE/OSEP funding targets, which measure almost identical indicators) are the guiding forces behind SPED policy in the city, for better or worse.

Posted by: coffeebreath | November 12, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

What's with the parent no-shows? I was the parent and I used to set up the IEP meetings. Granted, the school districts where I live in California are smaller than the schools in the District, however, I made sure I was in charge of the IEP meeting. I have met far too many lazy special ed dept. "teachers" that I had to take control. If I didn't, it was a waste of time for me. It also put on record the amount of effort and time put forth by the "teachers" involved.
I realize that I was the exception, but if these school employees are not put on the spot, they simply do not do what is necessary for special ed kids. These aren't the kids who make schools look good. Most just scrape by even with very modified curriculum, minimal contact with teachers.
Overall, special education is compulsory babysitting at best. Sad to say, but reality.

Posted by: kodonivan | November 12, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Richard Nyankori is the same man who allowed a special eduction teacher who hit a student to remain in the system. The same man who after hearing a recording of an MDT meeting, said that they would have to investigate whether or not it was legal to throw away IEP notes. The same individual who thinks it is appropriate to pay parents, in some cases up to $12,000, to have their children return to a DCPS school from private placement.
Richard Nyankori needs to follow Rhee. He is an incompetent boob, with no practical experience. Richard Nyankori the same man who wants to eliminate trained health care providers from riding the school buses with special needs children. Richard Nyankori who is more concerned about the bottom line, than the children.

Richard Nyankori needs to get to steppin'

Posted by: duonoir | November 12, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse


Don't get me started on Richard Nyankori...a veritable disaster, as is the entire Rhee regime...what a fraud being perpetrated on the tax-paying citizens of the District!

Posted by: vscribe | November 12, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

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