Petition Closed
Petitioning State Superintendent of Education Michael P. Flanagan and 1 other

Withdraw the proposed rule changes to Special Education immediately (MARSE).

10,476
Supporters

As the officials charged with overseeing and administering education for all students, you are the people responsible for policy affecting the most vulnerable of us; special education students.

We ask you to stop the proposed MARSE rule changes immediately.   The public comment period was not administered correctly, and all comments and objections by the 10,000 people who petitioned the MDE were ignored in particular.  This is not reasonable nor professional.    We urge restraint.

We ask you to convene a task force or blue ribbon panel to review what changes could improve Special Education in Michigan.  We ask that this panel include current Special Education parents, former Special Education students and accredited experts in the fields of Special Education and the named disabilities.  In the face of not doing this, we ask that you simply 

The currently proposed rules changes to MARSE are put forward disingenuously as minor rule changes when they are major and sweeping changes to Special Education. 

They will negatively impact schools, the children they serve, and most especially special education students.  If enacted or approved, these changes will push the State of Michigan to the bottom of all states in Special Education services.  This will make us an unattractive place for new business and for maintaining or growing our population.

The proposed new rules will:

  • Short term measurable objectives will be eliminated, removing any progress monitoring for children or staff that is other than subjective. As the Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service states in their comments to MDE rulemaking 3-14

     “Without short-term objectives, the only remaining measure of educational benefit is an annual one.  If a school fails to offer services reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit, the measure of educational benefit will only occur once a year, placing the IEP in question outside the complaint timeline and rendering the complaint process unavailable to address the issue.

 

  • Have special education staffing levels set by schools locally and will explode special education staff caseloads as standards are removed.

 

  • Remove all transparency from the ISD “alternate special education plan.”  MI ISDs have authority to override all special education programs, program sizes, teacher caseloads and student age spans, and create their own.  The MI DOE is now proposing to remove all transparency and only require that the ISD keeps a copy of this “alternate plan” on file.

 

  • Require parents to initiate consent for special education prior to convening an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.   This  is incongruent with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.  

 

  • Reduce requirements for Hearing Impairment and Visual Impairment teachers, shortchanging students.

 

  • Allow physician assistants  to be on the evaluation team to determine a Physical Impairment (PI), Other Health Impairment (OHI), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Deaf-Blind.

 

  • Require only a psychiatrist, psychologist and social worker in determining a student’s eligibility for an Emotional Impairment How do you “rule out a learning disability” when no achievement testing or cognitive battery is conducted?
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    Mean that a student would be ineligible for  Special Education once they have acquired enough credits to graduate with a diploma, regardless of whether they remain enrolled in classes to fulfill their IEP goals and/or transition plan.  (High performing ASD students are a prime example.)

  • Removal of the MET for re-evaluations, and the diminution of the MET composition for initial and re-evaulationswould preclude input/evaluations from the parent and various professionals necessary to conduct a comprehensive multi-disciplinary evaluation of all areas of suspected disability(ies), review / assess the educational impact of the suspected disabilities, and link the students disability’s with appropriate academic programs and related services.

  • denying speech and language services to students who require such services, but whose eligibility is other than Speech and Language Disorder.  Denials already occur in today’s population within schools in Michigan.  Ex:  A Michigan Special Ed director told an Advocate Lawyer recently that a student was not entitled to speech and language services because they were “not classified in the right disability”.  The resolution was made and services provided when the language being struck by the OSE here was cited.  This was a Special Ed Director – training on basic law should not be necessary to ensure basic services nor is it a reasonable remedy as the OSE continually proposes since reaching that ‘retraining’ requires a lengthy, expensive formal complaint.

 

No changes this sweeping should be made without proper public input and full, open presentation to the people of Michigan.  These changes do not meet that standard.

 

Letter to
State Superintendent of Education Michael P. Flanagan
Joint Committee on Administrative Rules Rep. Ken Goike (Chair) and Senator Jim Stamas (Alternate Chair)
Please withdraw the proposed rule changes to Special Education immediately (MARSE). Please listen to the overwhelming voice of the people of Michigan who do not want these changes and indicated so during the public comment period.

The changes proposed are major changes to Special Education, have been developed without proper input from affected persons, educators and families. They are being presented disingenuously as minor rules changes when they are sweeping changes which will remove significant numbers from eligibility and degrade the quality of special education in Michigan. They will also degrade services to Special Education recipients in Michigan.

As the officials charged with overseeing and administering education for all students, you are the people responsible for policy affecting the most vulnerable of us; special education students.

We ask you to stop the proposed MARSE rule changes immediately.

We ask you to convene a task force or blue ribbon panel to review what changes could improve Special Education in Michigan. We ask that this panel include current Special Education parents, former Special Education students and accredited experts in the fields of Special Education and the named disabilities. This would represent true inclusion.

The proposed changes will negatively impact schools, the children they serve, and most especially special education students. If approved, these changes will push the State of Michigan to the bottom of all states in Special Education services. This will make us an unattractive place for new business and for maintaining or growing our population.

Please stop these proposed rules changes immediately. Please listen to the people who have taken considerable time to review, comment and attend hearings.