Education Should be Based on our Children's Needs

On May 11, 2016, the Office of the Independent Monitor held public hearings and “parents of children with IEPs [Individual Education Plan] and all other members of the LAUSD community [were] invited to provide comments to Dr. David Rostetter”. The following is a copy of my testimony before Dr. Rostetter’s office:

Two of my triplets are on the autism spectrum. One goes to Kennedy High School, which is an LAUSD school, and the other one goes to Tobinworld. The daughter I am going to speak about is the one who goes to Tobinworld, which is a non-public school that has a contract with the LAUSD and the LAUSD runs her IEP. Therefore, her IEP is with the LAUSD’s Special Education department.

On her last IEP, which is her three year IEP, goals for after she leaves school were discussed. The document indicated that she is going to live with us. We objected to that goal as we want our child to be as independent as possible. The response from person conducting the IEP was “well, we asked your student.” The staff of the school tried to correct him but he ignored what they said and doubled down. “That is what your daughter wants.” My daughter is nonverbal and has trouble expressing what she wants for dinner, never mind what her life goals are. This showed just how little this administrator knew or cared about my child.

Unfortunately, that was not the worst of his lies. Further on in the goals, it said that the teacher was supposed to reduce her prompts so that my daughter did not have to be in this school and could be mainstreamed. When we objected to that and expressed that the teacher should be deciding what my daughter requires not based on the District’s desires but my child’s needs, he said “the law requires the least restrictive environment.” I know this is untrue because I have researched this issue and that is not what the law says. It adds on to that “as appropriate for my child.” For them to tell the parent otherwise was blatantly false. They were ignoring the second half of the equation.

The education experience of our children should not be based on what the cheapest option for the District, but one of the Board members sat in a Board meeting a couple of months ago and said It's too expensive for special education, we need to mainstream them. That is unacceptable. The education our kids receive should be based on the child’s needs, not the cheapest route for the District.