Sometimes when children progress from preschool to school it is determined that they still need to be classified and receive special education services. Sometimes it is determined that they should be declassified. There is a defined process that is supposed to be followed.
Patrick is a preschooler who has disabilities and if he enrolled in kindergarten last year he would have either continued his classification and received services OR continued his occupational therapy services in the school under a declassification plan for one year. Given his severity of delay he would have also been a likely participant in a summer readiness program designed to help support children's performance when they are struggling with key developmental skills.
The goalposts have been moved again this year. Now there is no summer readiness program and there is no declassification plan. Part 200 regulations governing the special education program in NY State have not changed, and clearly state:
(iii) If the student has been receiving special education services, but it is determined by the committee on special education that the student no longer needs special education services and can be placed in a regular educational program on a full-time basis, the recommendation shall:
(a) identify the declassification support services, as defined in section 200.1(ooo) of this Part, if any, to be provided to the student; and/or the student's teachers; and
(b) indicate the projected date of initiation of such services, the frequency of provision of such services, and the duration of such services, provided that such services shall not continue for more than one year after the student enters the full-time regular education program.
Instead, one local district took Patrick's CPSE referral, tossed it into a CSE subcommittee, and determined that a referral to full CSE doesn't even need to happen. They made this determination based on the opinion of the CSE chair. No evaluations were completed, and the intent of the same district's CPSE was completely disregarded. I called the CPSE people in the district to inform them of what happened and they acted shocked. There is a new and tall 'WALL' being constructed between CPSE and CSE in many districts - and it allows this kind of shenanigans to go on. The CPSE people are conveniently 'protected' by these decisions because they can claim that they have no knowledge of what happens after a child is sent to CSE for referral.
That is about as honest as living in the home of a meth dealer and telling the police that you thought the person just had an innocent chemistry hobby.
If the CPSE wanted to declassify they would have had to do a full complement of evaluations and they would have had to justify why declassification was happening. Instead, it got passed to a CSE subcommittee where the referral was unceremoniously trashcanned. They will argue that it was a fair process that appropriately considered the situation - but that is a falsehood.
Some parents attend their meetings and see this happening with their jaws agape. Other parents do not attend their children's meetings at all and never know it is happening.
I document this for everyone because without the documentation there is no record. If we fail to talk about it and document it then the goalposts get moved every year. Committee chairs are free to work in their Ministries of Truth and throw last years practices down the memory hole, rewriting history and acting as if children NEVER got these services before.
Well children did receive the declassification services before, and they were afforded a correct referral and correct consideration by the CSE. Regulations did not change - they are just not being followed - but the Ministry of Truth wants you to think that nothing is different.
Except I was there last year and I am here this year, and I am witness.
Now you know too.
NYS Part 200 Regulations