Judge orders search for Milwaukee students in need of special education

Alan Borsuk:

A federal judge has ordered Milwaukee Public Schools to launch a wide search for students who didn’t get special education services they should have gotten between 2000 and 2005 and to figure out what needs to be done to make that up to them.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Aaron Goodstein ordered that someone from outside the system be hired to monitor work on providing education services to compensate the students or former students involved because MPS has not shown it will adequately remedy its problems in special education on its own.
Goodstein’s decision earlier this month was another step in a lawsuit that dates to 2001. In earlier decisions, he ruled that MPS had denied students their rights in the past and ordered major changes in how MPS deals with deciding whether children are entitled to special education help. The process of making those changes is under way.

5 thoughts on “Judge orders search for Milwaukee students in need of special education”

  1. The reality is that in any school district (even the MMSD which has exceptional special ed programming), parents have to advocate, often very forcefully, for their childrens’ federal rights to special ed programming.

  2. I disagree. As a Director and Special Educator for many years, we are also advocates for students and provide above and beyond minimum benefit for students with disabilities in Wisconsin. The other holds true quite often, the district finds the student eligible and the parents say NO to services. The federal criteria for disabilities are quite narrow and does not include students who “struggle” but rather students who meet specific criteria. This is frustrating to parents. Also, clinical/medical diagnosis does not equal special education eligibility in the schools. There has to be SIGNIFICANT need that can not be met in the general environment. I would agree with your statement if you were referring to MMSD and programming for talented and gifted!

  3. I’m not saying it’s difficult to get a child with legitimate needs an IEP. I’m saying that it’s difficult to get an IEP carried out specifically as it is written, unless you are willing to be there and make sure it’s done yourself.

  4. Again, I disagree-maybe in your experience it’s been difficult, but in schools which I have worked, we DO carry out the IEP as it is written and if that isn’t happening, you, as a parent have a right to a meeting. It’s not that it doesn’t happen, I’m sure, but your comment initially seems to indicate that MMSD does not carry out IEPs unless a parent makes them. I’m sure there are a lot of parents who are happy with their students programming. And, I guess while I’m at it, I have also found that many parents want above and beyond minimum benefit and are upset when the school district disagrees with what is “free, appropriate public education”. Schools are being asked more and more to become “therapists”, which is not their role, rather the role of folks in the community.

  5. It’s not a matter of a “right to a meeting”. It’s a matter of every kid who has an IEP not having to have their parents exercise a “right to a meeting.” And in Madison, especially once you hit the middle & high school levels, there are so many kids with so many different needs that you have to stay on top of everything if you want that IEP carried out specifically as written. It’s the result of staff downsizing, no doubt. It’s not that the MMSD staff doesn’t care. We’ve worked with over 75 different people in the past 10 yrs and I can only think of a few that weren’t total angels. We’ve never, ever had disagreements over the “free, appropriate definitions”. My point is that PARENTS have to make this happen- which, if you think about it, isn’t any different than anything else that happens with regards to your child’s education:)

Comments are closed.