Carol Sadler
Special Education Consultant/Advocate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188

I am a lay Parent Advocate assisting parents of children with disabilities in school IDEA, 504 and SST meetings. I am a former CHADD and LDA Coordinator, graduate of the 1st GA Advocacy Office PLSP legal training course and most importantly parent of two children with various disabilities.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Statement to House Education Committee on SB 10

----- Original Message -----
To: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Sent: Tuesday, March 27, 2007 1:39 PM
Subject: [GA-ADHDe-news] Re: [GA-ChildrensNetwork] My Statement to House Education Committee on SB 10

Date:  March 28, 2007


To:  House Education Committee

RE: SB 10


I am writing to encourage you to support SB 10.  Children with disabilities need SB 10, they need choice.  Because our public school system is failing these children, they need choice to be educated.


In Kindergarten, I was in the classroom as a volunteer parent weekly letting all the students in the class read to me for extra support.  This is how I first realized my daughter had a problem learning to read.  She could not learn sight words on flash cards, no matter how much we practiced.  We practiced so much, she cried nightly, she hated to try to read.  I worked with my school district for four years to teach my daughter to read and write.   During the summer of her 3rd grade year, they even gave her 156 hours of 1:1 reading instruction with their reading specialist, and she still virtually made no progress.  Grandparents who worked on homework with her attended her IEP meetings and reported to the school that she could not read, and she cried when had to read and write.  We video taped her reading to show her impairment.  In 4th grade when her special education teacher told me she was then losing instruction in all content areas and could no longer keep up with grade level work due to her inability to read, I finally pulled her out of public school and placed her in a private school (Lindamood-Bell-LMB) to remediate her reading, spelling, writing and math.  In just THREE months, they taught my daughter to read and spell, something the public school was unable to do in four years, even with their intense intervention.  My daughter made 2-4 years progress across the board in reading, spelling, writing, and math.  After three months of reading remediation at LMB, we put her back in public school.  They tested her the first day on her return and found her to be exactly on grade level (actually a little above) for the first time in her life (I have their testing as proof).  Today in 7th grade, she is reading above grade level, and reading for pleasure, something she never did in her early years.  Reading before private school-LMB was torture.

Last week I advocated for a 9th grade high school student in Cobb County who's mother is a teacher in the same county.  She has been telling her special education IEP committee that her son could not read, and she was having to help him do all his homework every night, spending sometimes as much as 5 hours a night.  The school had been telling her he was doing fine, making all A's and B's, and there was nothing to worry about.  At this child's IEP meeting last week when I saw his psychoeducational testing and it had some of the lowest scores I had ever seen in my career as an advocate, I asked the school how in the world was this student making all A's and B's in his 9th grade curriculum when his reading and language scores placed him in in some areas in the 1st%.  We called in both his Language Arts teachers (regular and special education)  and asked this question.  They both responded that his reading was in fact severely impaired.  His basic reading skills are on a 4th grade level and his comprehension skills are on a 3rd grade level.  However he worked so hard, was compliant, and attempted all his homework/classwork, they stated they would NEVER fail a child like this, that it would be unfair, so they pass him with A's and B's.  Looking back at his CRCT's, he had failed all his CRCT's up through 8th grade, yet the system kept promoting him and just kept adding more and more accommodations to make up for his severely impaired reading and language deficits.  Now in High School, it is clear, that this child can simply not keep up with the curriculum, nor will he be able to pass End of Course tests, and more importantly, the Graduation Test.  Where is the accountability???  There is none.  The Special Education Supervisor for this County called me after this child's IEP meeting and asked why this child's mother, who is a teacher in the same county, did not teach her child to read.  I simply told him she made a terrible mistake, like any other parent she relied on her school system to educate her son, and it was apparent that they knowingly had failed to do so.  She had repeatedly sent e-mails asking for help and making them aware of these problems, and they merely viewed her as a problem parent.  I asked him, "Are you saying it was wrong for her to rely on the school system to teach him reading and language?" 

Unfortunately, I represent children like this over and over again.  Schools refuse to identify and remediate Dyslexia in GA, eventhough it is clear under IDEA (Special Education) they are suppose too.  I've been told in IEP meetings that making only 3 months progress a year is acceptable, even for very bright Dyslexic and language impaired children who are above average in intelligence like my daughter.  At that "acceptable" rate, these children are NEVER taught to read.  Please do not doubt this happens, I can provide documentation and case after case where this is evident.

For any student the school systems knows cannot pass CRCT's, they make them take the test as non-standard and read the test to them, so the scores don't count, and they say they are doing this for the child because they don't want to frustrate them.  Our educational system is broken in GA.  We are not teaching children to read, write, or compute math, in comparison to other States.  Our special needs children, most who have average IQ's, simply give up and drop out, or graduate with a worthless special education diploma.  It is no wonder we are 49th in the Nation in education. 

Last week I also advocated for an autistic child who was place in the Gwinnett County Psycho-Ed center.  After just 4 days of being in this environment, he came home with a black eye, bruised forehead, bruises all over his body, and a hand print bruise across his rib cage due to improper daily restraints.  When this child reported to his teacher while being restrained that he could not breathe, she told him to "STOP BREATHING"...............    The very same day I received the call regarding this client, another parent called me to report that she had witnessed at the same facility in Gwinnett, a 6 year old autistic child being restrained for going to snack table to get a cupcake.  Two full size adults jumped on this child to keep her from getting a cupcake, and she was screaming that she could not breathe.  Getting a cupcake is not life threatening, and she should have never been restrained for this natural behavior.  What has happened to our educational system when we are restraining and punishing severely disabled children because they merely want to eat a cupcake??

I've advocated for an autistic child in Commerce City schools that was also improperly restrained and severely bruised all over his body.  I've advocated for a child in Cobb County where his special education teacher was pinching him and the other students when she didn't like what they were doing, leaving bruises.  I advocate for children all over this state who have ADHD and are being punished daily for behaviors related to their disability.  I've advocated for children where their teachers announced to the entire class intentionally embarrassing them that they were ADHD and stated "Boo Hoo".

I am asking you, the House Education Committee, to pass SB 10.  Please give our most vulnerable children another choice in education, since our system here is quite clearly failing them.  I'm sure the public educators are fighting this bill to protect their interest.  Perhaps if we pass this bill, and parents begin to use this money for private education, our public school systems will make a better more concerted effort to actually "teach" our special needs children using proven scientifically researched methodology, instead of programs like SRA, which was never designed to remediate children with Dyslexia.

Where is there accountability in Private Schools?  More importantly, I ask you where is there accountability in Public School?  There is NONE!  If any of you think for one minute that there is, you are fooling yourself.


Advocacy & Consulting Services - IEPadvocate4you
Carol Sadler, Special Education Consultant/Advocate
GA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA  30188

Information contained in this communication is confidential and privileged.  It is not meant to represent legal or medical advice, but rather advice given based on my knowledge as a trained Parent Advocate by the GA Advocacy Office, Council of Parent Advocates & Attorneys, CHADD, LDA, and the GA DOE Parent Mentor program as an invited guest.  Please do not forward without my permission.