RTI and Parental Rights

I spoke to the Board of Education on Wednesday November 19, 2014 regarding the RTI (Response to Intervention) program and parental rights. If your children are in this program you have the right to go to CSE (Committee on Special Education) at any time. Here it is….

My Name is Maria Maritsas, I attended Coffee and Conversation on Monday and spoke with Dr. Padalino regarding the RTI program. He explained how the program consisted of 3 tiers, the teacher would first use simple strategies to help the struggling student and then see if the student needed additional supports for success. When asked about evaluations, he stated that parents could request their child be evaluated at any time and the teacher had the right to request an evaluation also. I am happy to hear that this district seems to be complying with the law. The US Department of Education sent letters to all state directors of education stating that RTI could not delay the evaluation process. I am quoting from their letter:

“It is critical that this identification occur in a timely manner and that no procedures or practices result in delaying or denying this identification. It has come to the attention of the Office of Special Education programs that, in some instances, local educational agencies may be using Response to Intervention strategies to delay or deny a timely initial evaluation for children suspected of having an disability. States and local education agencies have an obligation to ensure that evaluations of children suspected of having a disability are not delayed or denied because of implementation of an RTI strategy.” 

This brings me to one of the new goals* for teaching and learning. It is concerning to me that one of the goals is to reduce the Special Education Initial Classification Rate by 10% annually for the next three years. It is impossible to predict what will come in the future and to place a number on how many evaluations will be requested. Teachers have an obligation under IDEA to request a timely evaluation for their students if they suspect their student has a learning disability and for the student to have a free and appropriate public education. RTI data does not provide sufficient data to rule out or identify a disability. Parents have the right to request an evaluation at any time and I am hoping that the consent form for RTI reflects the information that parents CAN refer to CSE at any time in the process.

I have copies of the letter from the United stated department of education for you to view if you so choose. Thank you.

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*goals presented at November 5, 2014 Board of Education meeting – click here

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