Saturday, May 10, 2014

Our own way, or what's good for us?

We had an interesting IEP meeting last week.  The District people had met the day before to decide what was going to happen.  Although such predetermination is illegal, since it cuts the parents out of the decision-making process, it happens all the time, and it's usually hard to prove.

Not this time.  Apart from other evidence, the district had intervened to keep the parent from looking at a possible placement specifically until the meeting was held, precisely because we were about to meet, so the purpose was undeniably to keep the parents in the dark about what was available.  That is certainly denying parent participation, and the courts are extremely clear that that by itself constitutes denial of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE).

So we explained that we understand that the district has some things they gotta have, and we have to figure out how to get them that, but what they had in mind was not going to happen.  And that became very clear to all, and so then we were able to move on to our real business, which was figuring out a few things about the kid that their testing had shown needed looked at, and so we're going to do that.

As I went away from there, it was clear that the district's pursuit of what they wanted had served to waste their time and effort, denying them what they actually need - for things to work for the kid so that their efforts actually work and the parents can be pleased.

By keeping them from getting what they want, we've given them a chance to get what they need.

This principle applies to more than special education directors.  In fact, it's a basic law of the universe: you get what you need by not getting what you want, and if you insist on what you want, you lose what you need.  An instance in the Bible is the younger son in the parable, and there are many other examples, but the world takes note of this in its own way: "Be careful what you wish for."

1 Corinthians 13 says that love does not insist on its own way.  As I drove away from there I realized that this is not because love is nice and not mean.  It's because love is wise and not dumb.