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Education Rights Violated?
Q: I have gone through my son's portfolio, which contained all of his academic work for the past year and a half. Not only was his work not corrected nor graded, but I also discovered textbooks were not being utilized or supplied. There is no way to average out his grades if there were no grades on his work. He went from an IQ of 142 at age 7 to below fourth-grade level at age 10.
At the IEP meeting, I need to address these issues without jeopardizing my job with the education department. I am very upset about this. I feel my son's constitutional rights to an equal education were violated. Am I right? How do I approach this issue, make an impact on the school, and have them see the mistakes they made?
A: Your anger and frustration are certainly understandable. You should have been informed on a regular basis about your son's progress towards his IEP goals. For some schools that's every six weeks or every two or three months. In others, home progress reports coincide with regular report cards. In any case, you have a right to hear how he's doing. If he is not making progress, then either the goals need to be modified or (more likely) the teaching strategies and materials used need to be altered.
You shouldn't have to go through this on your own. Call the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities at 1-888-GR8-MIND or go to their website at http://www.aboutldon.org to see if they can steer you to an advocacy group in your community like the Learning Disabilities Association of America or the International Dyslexia Association. Someone there may be able to accompany you to the IEP meeting or at least give you some advice about getting appropriate help for your son. Good luck!
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.