Diane Eastburn is the Kent County parent representative for the IEP Task Force, meeting for the first time this Thursday, September 4th, in Dover and Wilmington. Diane has a message for all special needs parents:
I am committed to doing everything I can to make the process better for Delaware students and parents. If you would like to contact me, I have provided my email address, Cedarridge90@aol.com or another contact for me is my home phone 302-653-4216. I will take calls 9am – 8pm, but since this is a holiday weekend I may be in and out – but I have an answering machine and would be happy to return any calls I may miss. Again, my goal is to make the IEP process better for everyone. Thank you again for your comments and feel free to share your thoughts. If people would like they may email thoughts and leave a phone number or email address so I may get back with them.
Please post this on your blog – the larger variety of people I hear from the larger voice I can help represent. This is all about fixing the process for our children and our parents. We need to remove the adversarial sides and make this a true team effort. IEP Team should be just that – a team, not a district against a parent. I also believe that we need accountability in the process.
This was exactly what I was looking for when I emailed every single House Representative and Senator in Delaware the evening they came out with Senate Concurring Resolution 63. I wanted outside parents on this task force, ones not involved in other groups. Diane Eastburn is just that, a regular parent, who has been through this process before, and helps others who have been in the same boat. I am confident Diane will be an awesome advocate for all our special needs children, so please try to contact her before Thursday. I am expecting heavy parent turnout at both locations, so public comment may be limited. If you can’t show up, please contact Diane and let her know what you feel is wrong in the process. If you have had IEPs denied, let her know that, and the reasons why it was denied. The only way we can change things is if we speak with one voice, and right now Diane has the microphone! All Delaware bloggers, please reblog this so we can get the widest audience possible!
The IEP Task Force begins next week. In nine days. With no public notice of a location and who the members on the task force even are. I do know the following: Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn is the Task Force Chair, and Senators Poore and Lawson and House Representative Heffernan (whose husband is on the Delaware Board of Education and was the chair for the DOE Advisory Council for Special Education Improvement) are the designated members from Legislative Hall. I’m not sure who the minority Republican House Rep will be, but it is required in the legislation. I am hearing many differing reports on if the task force is fully staffed yet. According to the DOE, it is. See page 49 on this PDF from the DOE’s “Advisory Council” on improving the IEP process (same wording as the legislation, even though this advisory council has been meeting since earlier in the year): https://eboard.eboardsolutions.com/Meetings/Attachment.aspx?S=190001&AID=7329&MID=339
According to someone in the know in Legislative Hall, it isn’t. So who is right? Or is the DOE just taking over the whole thing even though Senate Concurring Resolution 63 creating the IEP Task Force explicitly states who picks the members in designated areas? Because Michelle Rush at the DOE has been designated as the coordinator for the task force. No locations have even been announced, and no public notice has gone out. It is scheduled at 4:30pm, virtually ensuring many working parents won’t be able to attend. Public comment has been reserved for the end of the meeting, when focus will be dwindling amongst the members.
If this IEP Task Force is anything like the above link, then it will be all about aligning special education students with Common Core Standards and the Smarter Balanced Assessment (with faulty accommodations for special ed students and no form to even go into IEPs yet). I pray it isn’t about that, and it will address the true problems with special education. I pray the task force chair, Lieutenant Governor Matt Denn, has the sense of purpose that these students need an individualized education plan, not making them more similar with other students and forcing them to adapt to the “rigor” of Common Core. This was exactly why I insisted parents be added to the task force, to prevent this from happening. But if the DOE has the final say on the task force, then the IEP process will not be improved, it will be diluted. The Delaware DOE needs to understand this IEP Task Force was not created as their task force. It was written by legislators, serving the will of the people who pay for your jobs.