Wednesday, March 31, 2010


TV program to reveal behind-the-scenes DOE directives to cut special need services

by Larry Geller

It’s not just Furlough Fridays that are undermining educational opportunities in Hawaii. The Department of Education has accelerated its cutbacks of services to special needs students.

One day they may bump into a lawsuit as they back out of their obligations under federal law. Until then, advocates are doing their best to alert parents to what is happening behind the scenes. I was happy to participate in a short TV program on the subject which airs tonight.

Hawaii Special Needs Children and Friends: Parents Protest: DOE Removing Skills Trainers, Part 2

3/31/10 Wed 6:00 pm FOCUS 49
4/1/10 Thu 10:30 am OAHU 52

The program opens with a screen shot of documents the Department of Education wouldn’t want parents to see.

Although under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and also under state law, it is the IEP team, including the parents, that make all decisions about the program for special ed students, papers circulating in the DOE show that they are cutting back services outside of the IEP process. In this case, they are cancelling contracts of skills trainers and replacing them part-time hires practically off the street.

Of course that won’t work for the children.

And no IEP team has likely made the decision to do that—it’s being done through memos and directives that are separate from the federally required process.

Tune in tonight to find out how the DOE operates when it thinks no one is watching.

The program is produced by Naomi Grossman, long-time autism advocate.


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