12 December 2011

Have You Heard of RtI?

The theory behind Response to Intervention is that districts will save money by not testing every child who is referred. (A "referral" just means a teacher or parent goes to the right person and asks for special testing.)  It seems that under the RtI system, teachers are not just awesome people; they have supernatural powers.  Even if they have 30 kids to a class, they can somehow rig other personalized "interventions" for the student.  These "interventions" have to be tried for a good amount of time before it can be demonstrated that a child even needs to be tested. Mmm-hmm.

"All too frequently, special education becomes the only intervention, and that is just sad," writes a school psychologist.  She refuses to test any child who hasn't had extra helps in the classroom for a goodly period of time.  She's just too busy. "There has to be an intervention before you can make a case that you need special intervention."

"Also, not all students with disabilities need special education...I need to be convinced the problem can’t be remediated with targeted intervention in general education before I suspect a disability or a need for special education. Nevermind that you could go through the whole special education testing process and find there is no disability and that whole time you could have been doing something for the student."

Oh, doesn't that sound lovely, folks.  You might just not find anything with testing, and that would waste her time.  If you have stomach pains, and you are not SURE it is appendicitis?  Do not bother the doctor.  He is too busy with other patients who have been proven to be sick.  What other interventions have you tried first, dear patient?

No testing?  A watch and wait attitude?  Means we have no objective data on what the student really needs.  (We'll just say we have met all "needs" and save a lot of money, reasons the school.  No data also means no lawsuits.)  There is no need for an IEP that gives legal protection to the disabled child and outlines his rights to a given modification or therapy.  It wastes the school psychologist's time to test and draw these things up, and she could be actually helping some other kid with that time. School psychologist is busy and testing doesn't happen until she sees a glaring need for it, so you concerned parents and teachers?  Shut up until ohh... I don't know... months pass and the kid is further behind and/or has a school aversion.  Truancy is such a cut and dried thing, plus it's cheap to measure and isn't her department.

I wonder why this chick has an entire article on those pesky "helicopter parents" and is also surprised when parents seek outside evaluations?  Even in the 'hood, some parents are able to get their stuff together enough to fight the system.  I am very sorry for the kids who don't have parents who know what's really going on.


  1. This sounds like another government cop out to me. They're obviously wanting to save those precious dollars for something more important, like their own Christmas holidys perhaps?
    Not testing every referral is wrong, they're going to m iss so many kids who need help.

  2. The school refused to test my daughter, so my husband and I paid $1800 to have her privately tested (insurance did not cover it). We found that her IQ was borderline and she scored in less than the 5th percentile on many of the subtest in a standard IQ test. When we brought them the results they still didn't want to give her services because they told me given her results she should be getting much lower grades than she was getting and that she had found a way to compensate.

    Uh, that and I worked with her all evening at home and she was suspended 11 times the last year we had her in school.

    Thus began my journey as a homeschooling mom. And, you know what? I like it. Yeah school and your stupid rules!

  3. I hadn't heard of that. Doesn't surprise me. My mother-in-law is an RN who does needs analysis for a school district. I believe she is the only one for five schools and, from what little I've heard, it's not very easy for her to get through some of the red tape to actually access the needs of a child.

    I really hope they don't keep adding more red tape like this... ugh.



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