Supplementary material on education as promised on 10/21

  • by

Below you’ll find the extra education material that Keith Howard talked about on Saturday at the Women’s Agenda Assembly in Statesville. I have condensed some of the information. Contact information for questions regarding the material below: KeithH@legalaidnc.org

This message includes or has links to:

  1. Personal Education Plans: The Law and You
  2. Accessing Test Scores through the DPI website
  3. Amicus brief in the Leandro case, 9/21/06

Mary

1st Posting: PEP “The Law and You”

If your Child did poorly on an End-Of-Grade test…

By Lewis Pitts, Esq.

The End-of-Grade (EOG) or End-of-Course tests that public school children in North Carolina must take near the end of a school year can cause lots of stress and anxiety, both for children and parents. If your child scores a III or a IV, s/he is said to be performing at grade level or is “proficient.” However a score of I or II means your child is at risk of academic failure and may not be promoted to the next grade level.

Any child that scores a I or a II is entitled by North Carolina law to get special tutoring and help designed to help that particular child learn. Additionally, such children may also be at risk of suspension or expulsion because many schools use a “zero tolerance” policy as a way of removing low-scoring children from school. Therefore, it is in the best of interest of your child to jump right on the problem of low test scores and get help.

Any parent of a child scoring less than a III on the Tests should write the Principal and ask for a Personal Education Plan (PEP) especially made for her child. That’s right. the PEP is not supposed to be a “one size fits all” tutoring class in the gym. These “interventions” are free and your child has a state constitutional right to them.

The law also promises that the school will provide free transportation to these activities if you need it. Moreover, your child does NOT have to be diagnosed with a disability to get a PEP.

Here are some tips to help you get a PEP:

  1. Know that your child is constitutionally entitled to a PEP, and the law is the law. Your child is entitled to have his/her PEP be meaningful and followed, and the parent is entitled to be included in the process of developing and implementing the PEP. However, remember that schools are very under-funded and may resist giving you what is promised in the law. Therefore, be involved, be cooperative and easy going; but know your rights as stated here and insist on them.
  2. Make your request for the PEP in writing, not just by telephone. Keep a copy of every thing. Keep notes of each conversation you have with anybody from the school. Of course, it’s best to avoid confrontational situations by being as polite and cooperative as possible. But you can do that AND be careful to make a record and insist on your child’s right to a sound basic education.
  3. Know that NC law section 115C-105.41 promises the PEP. If someone from the school wants to know what law gives your child these rights, tell them the NC constitution promises an equal opportunity for sound basic education for every child and that NC law section 115C-105.41 promises the PEP. If need be, you could go on-line or to the public library and ask the librarian to look up this law for you. It is only one page and very clear. This law is not part of the Special Education law. Your child may be entitled to Special Education services and the plan under that system which is called and Individual Education Plan or IEP. But that is different than a PEP, which does not require a finding that your child is “disabled.”
  4. Ask for a copy of the written PEP that is developed for your child. Also, at the beginning of the school year, ask for a meeting with your child’s teachers to discuss the PEP. Make this request in writing, too. You know your child better than anyone. Your advice and input is very important.

If you are having problems getting a meaningful PEP and you have tried meeting with the school and/or a school board member without success, call your local Legal Aid of NC office. They may be able to help or may refer you to Advocates for Children’s Services of Legal Aid based in Durham, NC, 1- 919-226-0052.

[Lewis Pitts is an attorney with Legal Aid of North Carolina and serves on the Legal Services Education Law Task Force. “The Law and You” is a regular publication of Legal Aid of NC, a nonprofit, statewide law firm that provides free civil legal assistance to poor and low-income residents of North Carolina.]

2nd Posting

ACCESSING TEST SCORES THROUGH THE NC DPI WEBSITE

To access End of Grade (for grades 3-8) and End of Course (grades 9-12) tests, see:

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/reporting/leaperformancearchive/

This takes you to the webpage for the Accountability Services Division of the NC Department of Public Instruction.

Double click on 2004-2005 (or whatever year you want to know about) under: “Reports of Supplemental Disaggregated State, School System (LEA) and School Performance Data.”

Select a school system, then view data for the entire school system (LEA) or for individual schools. Our statistics for end of course tests are based on the “composite” scores (the very bottom choice, not “Math and Reading Composite,” which is only for the end of grade tests administered to 3-8 graders).

*Note that some non-highschoolers take end of course tests: advanced middle school students, who take high school classes, also take end of course tests. Generally, a very high percentage of these students pass end of course tests.

Third: Leandro PEP Amicus Brief

This is the 9/21/06 legal document. This is a 10-page PDF file. If you need it in another form, please contact Mary Peterson, mapeterson2@yahoo.com.