Fixing Special Ed, Part 6:
Special-ed has a fundamental problem: Government rigidity blocks innovation

Leaves school administrators stuck within
a system-corrupting dilemma: kids vs costs

When Congress in 1975 passed into law the legislation now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the bipartisan majorities were overwhelming.

In the U.S. Senate, the vote was 87 to 7. And in the House of Representatives, it was 404 to 7.

Nevertheless, the law, in truth, constituted only a first stab at solving a nationwide problem that had long bedeviled America’s conscience — namely, that public schools all across the country continued to routinely and thoughtlessly exclude handicapped kids.

What had happened by 1975, however, was that further dithering was no longer politically possible.

Federal courts were compelling states to address the issue, disabled children’s parents and advocates were becoming politically formidable, and everyone in Congress — especially following the seamy Watergate revelations of 1974 — was eager to appear before voters as high-minded and compassionate.

Yet the fact remained that the “Education for All Handicapped Children Act,” as the law was known at the time, was largely untested and experimental.

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Fixing Special Ed, Part 5:
2001: CCSD, State of Nevada lose
precedent-setting Amanda J. case

Apparent shift in district's strategy follows:
Fight until jury trial looms, then settle with parents

One of the most startling revelations about how Clark County School District had been treating — or mistreating — special-needs families surfaced in 2001.

That was when a four-year-old lawsuit — accusing CCSD of denying appropriate education to a child years earlier — was finally decided by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The case would set an important legal precedent.

By 2001, the girl at the center of the litigation — called “Amanda J.,” in the lawsuit — was 10 years old.

What was at issue, however, was what CCSD should have told her parents six years before.

Born in Las Vegas in 1991, Amanda at two years old had been found by a psychologist in to be “moderately low” in communication and daily living skills, and recommended for the District’s early childhood program.

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Fixing Special Ed, Part 4:
CCSD asked for special-ed audit
then attempted to hide results

Revealed: Records tampering, state and
federal law violations, illegal IEP changes

Remarkably, LAUSD’s current Independent Monitor, Dr. David Rostetter, who figured prominently in Part Three of this series, also has had a significant history with Nevada — specifically, with the Clark County School District.

In the 1990s, CCSD retained Rostetter and another nationally credentialed educational consultant, Dr. Ed Sontag, to audit the district’s special-education program.

The background of that hire, according to the Las Vegas Sun’s then-assistant managing editor, Ken Ward, was that since 1991 at least the district had been receiving complaints from the U.S. Office for Civil Rights (OCR) over CCSD’s instruction and transportation services for special-needs students.

Then, in October 1995, the OCR filed yet another complaint against the district, asserting five other serious issues, specifically:

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Fixing Special Ed, Part 3:
School systems have circumvented
federal special-ed law for decades

Los Angeles, Texas, New York exemplify styles of noncompliance

Fixing Special Ed, Part 2:
New, higher special-ed costs
looming for State of Nevada

9th Circuit signals lack of patience with ploys
school districts have used to suppress costs

Fixing Special Ed, Part 1:
Supremes’ decision on special-ed
sets higher standards for care

Called ‘a recipe for financial disaster’ by
unhappy public-school administrator groups

What is IVGID so intent on hiding?

IVGID management keeps financial information from its governing board
so that the public can also be kept uninformed, says board chair Wong

IVGID officials caught in false testimony

State’s top authority refutes district’s compliance claims.

IVGID’s efforts to conceal
public records gets bizarre

Staff blandly admits felony-level destruction of email records

CCSD’s sexual-misconduct epidemic
shows need for bargaining transparency

Leading states define government labor-management negotiations as public meetings

CCSD’s systemic problem and
its expensive consequences

Part 8: District's internal financial controls revealed as effectively nonexistent

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