Predetermination in Special Education – What Can You Do About It?

Are you the parent of a child with autism, learning disability, or a physical disability that has been struggling to get your child an appropriate special education? Do you think that special education personnel come to Individual Educational Plan (IEP) meetings already decided about your child’s placement or needed services? This article will be discussing predetermination, special education, and ways to overcome this.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that a child has the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Parents have the right to be involved in all decisions made for their child’s education. Special education personnel may bring a draft IEP to the meeting, but only if they are willing to change the IEP to allow parental input.

Predetermination is defined as school personnel making unilateral decisions about a child before the IEP meeting, without parental input, and refusing to listen to parental input during the meeting. Or school district personnel presenting a take it or leave it IEP. If a parent brings information that a child needs a particular related or special education service and evidence that the child needs it, school district personnel are required to at least “consider” the input. The problem is that many special education personnel have already decided or predetermined what placement or services will be offered.

In a well know predetermination case the court found that a school district had an unofficial policy of denying all requests for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) programs; despite evidence that a child required it. In this case the parents paid for a private ABA program in which the child made tremendous progress. The school district was excited about the child’s progress until the parents asked for reimbursement; then they refused to pay. The court found that the school district would not listen to the parents or their experts, about the child’s need for ABA. This was predetermination and the courts ruled that the parents had the right to reimbursement for the private ABA program.

In another predetermination case the court found that despite evidence that a child was making great progress at a private school, and continued to need the services that the private school offered, the school district only placed the child in the private school because they were working on a plan to transition him to a district based placement. They refused to listen to the parent or the parents experts, that the child needed to continue to attend the private school to receive FAPE. The court determined that this was predetermination; and the child was able to continue at the private school at public expense.

It is my opinion that predetermination occurs when a school district makes unilateral decisions about a child’s education despite evidence to the contrary, and refuses meaningful parental input. Also when a take it or leave it IEP is presented to parents.

How to overcome predetermination:

1. Bring documentation of your child’s educational needs to the IEP meeting and share with special education personnel; schools must consider all information brought by parents.

2. Parents must be meaningful participants in the IEP process. Relay the court rulings to special education personnel that if a parent is not allowed meaningful participation in the development of their child’s IEP, predetermination and denial of FAPE may be found.

3. If special education personnel still refuse to allow you input or only give one option for services or placement, consider a state complaint for violation of IDEA.

4. Have an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) performed on your child to determine what related and special education services your child needs. Make sure that the evaluator you pick is not only willing to test your child but to write a comprehensive and concise report that includes recommendations for needed related and special education services.

Predetermination is harmful for children with disabilities because it denies children the services that they need to benefit from their education. Keep advocating-your child is worth it!

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Education And Health – Learning Is Good For The Brain And The Body

Never underestimate the benefits of a good education. Thomas Jefferson would have hit the nail right on the head if instead of putting, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” in the Declaration of Independence, he instead penned the words, “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Health and Education.”

Education, health and happiness are inextricably linked, according to an increasing number of studies pointing to a direct connection between education and quality of life. A conversation about quality living would most assuredly have to include references to strength, stamina, vigor… all by-products of good health.

The highway of education is paved with a fundamental and far-reaching approach to learning that forges knowledge in a variety of subjects, including health. Once you have the knowledge, it then becomes much easier to make the right decisions throughout life about health and everything else.

“Knowledge is power,” wrote author Veronica Roth. Knowledge opens doors, breaks down barriers and levels the playing field. Without it, we wander through life unaware of the possibilities around us and unsure of the decisions in front of us. With it, we are able to recognize the good and bad in things and make decisions based on observation, intelligence and informed judgment.

After learning about the concept of healthy living, and as happens with many of life’s daily responsibilities when accompanied by knowledge, a process of education ignites within us. Because our brain has absorbed information important for being healthy, we begin the process of learning how to be healthy. The cycle continues.

To answer the questions introduced from this new awareness, we then focus on those things which help us accomplish our goal of achieving and maintaining wellness. Suddenly, our brain prompts our body to make the necessary adjustments which can promote a healthy lifestyle in us. In a short amount of time, health becomes something you think about more than only when you must.

Health is primarily defined as ‘a state of complete emotional and physical well-being’. Achieving optimum health and wellness is a challenge for everybody, educated or not. However, having the knowledge necessary to attain and maintain good health, is a perfect example of how learning can positively affect every aspect of your daily existence.

Dr. Seuss had it right, “The more you read, the more things you will know. The more things you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Ideally a life-long process, learning stimulates the brain, triggers a physical response, and helps to identify almost unlimited avenues of education. Education, in turn, creates a foundation for life which translates, almost unconsciously, across limitless aspects of life, including health and wellness.

Numerous studies have established the importance and long-term benefits of early childhood education on a person’s well-being. According to the Economic Opportunity Institute, “Early childhood learning plays a crucial role in primary education. By focusing early in childhood on prevention and protective factors, quality care and information can help children to grow up healthy.”

The report went on to state, “… quality early learning and care before the age of five has found it is associated with improvement in a range of educational and social measures, some of which have been documented many years after the care.”

While it has been proven that genetic characteristics structured in our DNA do certainly play a role in health and longevity, addressing the core issue of education – early and continued engaged learning – can provide a wide array of positive benefits for the brain, the body, and for society in general.

Falling Standard Of Education In Nigeria: Who Is To Be Blame?

INTRODUCTION

The concept ” falling standard of Education” is a relative term because there is no well defined instruments to measure it with utmost reliability and validity. That is why scholars’ views on the concept varies. These scholars view it at different perspectives, depending on the angle each of them is looking at it.

Babalola, A (2006) sees the concept from admission of Nigerian University products in developed countries universities. That the first six Nigerian Universities (University of Ibadan, Ile Ife, Lagos, Benin, Nsukka and Zaria) had their products competing favourably with any other University in the world as their products were sought for by University of Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford and London for admission into their post-graduate courses. That these students record breaking performances and when they graduate are employed by the best multi-national companies and corporate bodies globally unlike today where no Nigerian University is among the top 6,000 Universities of the world (Adeniyi, Bello (2008) in Why no worry about rankings). He sees standard from how universities contribute to knowledge and solving problems besetting mankind.

According to Gateway to the Nation (2010), University of Ibadan is ranked 6,340th University in the world. In Africa, University of Ibadan is ranked 57th, OAU 69th and South African Universities are leading the way in Africa.

He also use written and spoken English as a yardstick for measuring standard of education which University of London conducted a research in West Africa and the result showed that teachers trained by colonial masters were better of than those trained by indigenous teachers.

He also used staffing, funding, foundation, origin and students as standard of education.

Standard of education to Dike, V. (2003) is how education contribute to the public health (or sociopolitical and economic development of a Nation).

Standard of education to either passing or failing of external examinations like WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB,(NOW UTME) among others.

Teachers without Boarders (2006) looks at educational standard from how the products of schools can be measured in terms of outcome. That is how school leavers contribute to the society in terms of cognitive affective and psychomotor. I will be using students to refer to both students and pupils, I will use head teacher to refer to both principal and headmaster.

Which ever way you may view standard of education, for you to conclude whether the standard is falling or not, you must take into consideration all the aforementioned variables including achieving educational goals.

Equally, for justice to be done while measuring these standards one has to look at reliability where all the schools to be measured must have the same infrastructure, teaching materials, quality of teachers, level and degree of learners, condition within which learning takes place, some methods of assessment and some types of contribution to the society among others.

CAUSES OF FALLING STANDARDS

Haven discussed what makes up standard in education, may I crave your indulgence to some of the established facts that constitute falling standard of education in Nigeria.

(1) Discipline: This is one of the outstanding attributes of education when it is rightly observed.

a. Repeating: school no longer observe repeating as every student is promoted to the next class whether they understand or not gives room for falling standard.

b. Attendance: The 75% of attendance universally accepted as the bases for someone to sit for examination is no longer observed.

c. Late coming: Student that come late are no longer punished, which leads to their losing morning classes.

d. Misbehaviour: Students are no longer punished for misbehavior because of their parental influences (lost of jobs or unnecessary transfer).

e. Cultism: This could refer to rituals, usually under oath binding the members to a common course. They operate covertly in fulfillment of their objectives to the detriment of other people. Thus, planning secondary needs above primary needs.

These cults exist because of over population of students in schools, wrong admissions not based on merits, hence fear of examination failures and selfish worldly gains.

(2) Quest for paper qualification: Nigerians respect paper qualification above performance in the fields. Hence, cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains are supposed to be measured on the field.

(3) Politicizing education: Merit is no longer regarded as it is now ” who you know” and not “what you can deliver” Technocrats (educationists are not appointed Commissioner of education and education board).

(4) Policy problem: Sometimes the type of policies government make on education adversely affects output. For instance, in College of Education, we have National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), competing with JAMB for admission as the two guidelines vary.

Equally, WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, JAMB ( now UTME) compete with qualifying pre-requisites and regulation of entries into tertiary institutions.

(5) Teachers not being part of the examination bodies. One wonders whether the continuous Assessment submitted by these teachers are used or not.

(6) Accessibility of Schools: The Nigerian population boom has outnumbered the existing schools as the existing schools have to over admit.

This point can be practically seen in the following areas:

(i) Teacher / Student ratio of 1:25 is no longer there as in my class, it is 1:3900.

(ii) Students / books / Journals ratio of 1:10 is no longer feasible.

(iii) Politics of admission: Schools can no longer set targets for admission to conform with their facilities as powerful notes from above will force the school authorities to either over admit or find themselves in the labour market again. Yet it is those that are giving these notes are suppose to build more schools or provide needed infrastructure etc. to accommodate those collecting these notes.

(7) Over-dependent on cognitive domain: Schools do not give regards to affective domain that will mould characters of our young ones. Little attention is given to psychomotor while no attention is given to affective domain.

(8) Shortage of qualified teachers: Some schools in the rural areas only have the headmaster as government employee while the rest that may be secondary school drop outs are PTA staff. What miracle can these staff perform? Dike, V. (2006) observed that only 23% out of the then 400,000 primary schools in Nigeria have grade II even when NCE is now the minimum qualification for teachers at primary and Junior Secondary schools.

(9) Teachers welfare: It is no longer news that

(a) Politicians do not have negotiation council to negotiate their salary increase.

(b) There is no disparity among political office holders from the federal, state and local governments.

(c) Their salaries are increased at astronomical manner.

(d) Their salaries are increased any time without recourse to whether the nation’s economy can bear it or not.

(e) But for teachers, they must negotiate the 10 to 20% of an attempt to increase their salary with consideration of the economy of the nation. How can these teachers contribute and perform miracle when their family members are in the hospitals and the O.S. syndrome is written on their cards by pharmacists while they do not have money to treat.

(10) Constant Strikes: This is an impediment to smooth covering of syllabus. Oefule (2009) explained that one Nigerian guest asked a question on strike at Oxford University community but the vice chancellor could not even remember about strike, only the registrar remembered it for 17 years back. This is what governance means to the people.

(11) Long rule of the military; Education was not properly funded by the military regimes as according to Babalola, A(2006) Obasanjos administration inherited many left over problems of the military such as non- payment of pensions and gratuities of retired University staff, poor remuneration of university staff, dilapidating buildings of schools, libraries with outdated books, obsolete laboratory equipments, bad campus roads, inadequate water and power supply among others.

(12) In the secondary and primary schools levels, schools do not even have buildings talk less` of furniture’s, equipments and reading materials. This is the level where the foundation of education should be laid. Any faulty foundation will lead to faulty structures. What do you expect from the tertiary level?

(13) Lack of training of teachers: Teachers are not trained to update their knowledge with latest discoveries based on research, then how can they give what they don’t have?

(14) Poor state of Educational teaching facilities: Dike V. (2006) reported that research result shows that over 2015 primary schools in Nigeria do not have building but study under trees, talk less of teaching materials.

(15) Corruption: leaders of the schools and some Government officials either connive to buy equipments with loan money that cannot be of any use to the school or take such loans and do not even do anything with it.

(16) Poor budgetary allocation to education: A research work of 2001 shows that Nigeria only, allocate less than 20% to education it further reveals that Nigeria spends 0.76% to education as against Uganda 2.6%, Tanzania3.4%, Mozambique 4.1%, Angola 4.9%, Coted Ivore 5% Kenya 6.5% and South Africa 7.9% among others.

WHO IS TO BE BLAMED?

We have seen the causes of falling standards and from these causes we can deduce that the following are to be blamed:

1. Government suppose to carry the lion share of the blame because all the other variables are dependent variables to it.

2. Teachers also have their shares of the blame with regards to their diligent duties.

3. Parents: feeding has to be provided by parents. This is because parents do not leave schools to operate without interference.

4. Students: students who do not abide by school rules and regulations nor pay attention to their studies also contribute to falling standards. Students also seek for paper qualification and disregards to performance they also participate in cult activities that derail the progress of the academy.

5. The society is not left out as it is the way it sees and respects the products of these schools that recycles back again.

SOLUTION

Based on the problems or causes identified above, the following solutions are proffered: Schools should respect and restore back discipline to bring back the lost glory of our educational standards.

Performance should be regarded and respected more than just paper qualification. Equally, education should not be politicized for whatever reason.

Policy makers should be mindful of policies that affect education .eg JAMB(UTME) regulation in admissions.

Teachers should be involved in examination activities and examination bodies should always publish examination reports and distribute it to various schools for them to hold school workshop for training of subject teachers on their areas of weaknesses observed in the students’ scripts with regards to following the marking scheme.

More schools should be built to increase accessibility by all. Cognitive, affective and psychomotor domain should be used for assessment of students.

Teachers’ welfare should be given priority by government to avoid unnecessary strikes in our educational sector while more qualified teachers should be employed to curb the present shortage of teachers in our schools.

Our civilian government should prove to the people that they are better than military government.

Teachers should be trained so that they can meet up with any new challenges Educational facilities should be upgraded to modern standards while teaching facilities should be adequately provided.

Corruption should be eliminated to the barest minimum by all stakeholders while government should increase its budgetary allocations to education to improve the standard of education in Nigeria.

Baptidzo – A More Precise Definition

“The position of the book Baptidzo is that the word Baptidzo is not an act but a changed condition, state, result or an effect accomplished brought about by any one of several possible acts.” Let’s flesh that out some. To be more precise in our definition, we will define Baptidzo in greater detail, and with far more words, as:

PRIMARY MEANING:

a) a thorough change of condition, a new state, a result, or an effect accomplished,

b) by being enveloped or mersed within a fluid,

c) without any limitation of time. This is the primary meaning of Baptidzo.

In other words, if a person were enveloped with water for an unlimited amount of time, that person would undergo a thorough change of condition, that is, that person would pass from life to death. As a result, the Greeks commonly used Baptidzo to refer to a drowning.

SECONDARY MEANING ONE:

a) a thorough change of condition, a new state, a result or an effect accomplished

b) without envelopment or mersion within a fluid, but instead

c) by any power or influence competent to control and to assimilate the baptized object to its own characteristics.

That particular change of condition would be dependent upon and indicated by an adjunct in the sentence, that is, additional words of explanation (Adjunct. 1: Something joined or added to another thing but not essentially a part of it. 2 a: A word or word group that qualifies or completes the meaning of another word or other words and is not itself a main structural element in its sentence, b: an adverb or adverbial attached to the verb of a clause especially to express a relation of time, place, frequency, degree, or manner; Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). This is the secondary meaning of Baptidzo.

In other words, if it were said that a person was baptized by tragedy into grief, we would understand that the person had come under the power of a tragedy that possessed the power to thoroughly change the person from a state of peace and contentment into a state of grief by its power to control and to assimilate the person into the calamity. Of course, no liquid was present or needed to effect the change. The adjunct or additional word of explanation in this scenario is the word tragedy. This usage is also very common in Classic Greek.

SECONDARY MEANING TWO:

a) a thorough change of condition,

b) without envelopment or mersion within a fluid

c) by any power or influence competent to control and to assimilate the baptized object to its own characteristics

d) indicated by the absolute use of Baptidzo, this means Baptidzo is used without any adjunct in the sentence at all.

The difference in the secondary meaning of numbers One and Two is only found in point d). This is the result of adjunct words, which were long and frequently used, now dropped yet supplied mentally by the reader. It is the familiarity of the words that allow them to be dropped yet fully understood by the reader. In grammar this is called an ellipsis (Ellipsis: “The omissions of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete.” Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary). “The doctrine of ellipsis is that which is the most essential requisite in any transaction may be omitted, on the ground that it cannot be missed, and therefore will not fail to be supplied” (Dale, James W., Christic Baptism and Patristic Baptism, (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 1874, 1995), 217). This is still the secondary use of this word, but one in which little contextual material is given, but simply assumed by those intimately familiar with the subject.

For instance, it could be said that “a priest, for the purpose of ceremonial purification, baptized a person.” In time, after much common use, the phrase or adjunct “for the purpose of ceremonial purification” would be dropped from the sentence. But the audience would just as clearly understand what had happened if it were reported that “the priest baptized a person” (for the purpose of ceremonial purification) without these last words being actually in the sentence.

Words typically have several meanings, as any dictionary will quickly demonstrate. These definitions here do not exhaust the many facets of the word Baptidzo but they do provide us with the most obvious and most useful meanings of the word.

IN ESSENCE

Notice two elements common in these definitions: 1) there is no mode inherent in the definitions. Immersion, sprinkling, pouring and a great variety of other methods illustrate the possible modes of baptism found in Greek literature. Indicators, other than the actual word Baptidzo, determine the mode of the specific baptism (if it is mentioned at all), for inherent in this word there is no mode suggested. 2) The one recurring element of these definitions is “a thorough change of condition, a result, a new state, or an effect accomplished.” This tends to be the one universal feature of Baptidzo; often, if not generally, it is virtually the very essence of its meaning. However, the mode of producing this change of condition is never a part of the definition.

As an aside, notice the Greek suffix idzo found in Baptidzo. idzo introduces a causative notion in a Greek word. The meaning here is that Baptidzo causes either 1) an envelopment or 2) a thorough change of condition.

Therefore, the following points are essential if one is to understand the meaning of the word Baptidzo. The significance of this word:

1)… is in no way controlled or dependent upon by any particular form, act or mode.

2)… is often (but not always) dependent upon and controlled by the idea of envelopment within some element.

3)… is fundamentally connected with a continuance within this element for an indefinite period of time,

4) this results in a change of condition, state or result in the baptized object.

Education, Meaning, Aim and Function

The process of defining the meaning of Education is to problematize its lexicology and re-conceptualize it. An example is illustrated from real day-life. A multinational company involved in the making of advanced pharmaceutical products decides to get rid of its wastes in a cheaper manner rather then waste-treat them. They dump the wastes around the coast of a poorer African continent based on the company’s policy of maximum profits. Are the board of directors in the company educated? They are, one can assume for rhetorical comfort. An illiterate, native-tribe living in the rainforest jungles of Papua New Guinea doesn’t know the meaning of Environmental jargon: ‘Reduce, Recycle & Reuse’; yet, they conserve and sustain the environment, based on the level of skills known to them. Are the people of the rainforest uneducated just because they are illiterate?

The problems connected with narrowness of meaning called Education emerge within the contextuality of the above mentioned examples, and the conceptual difficulties involved in attempting to centre meaning upon Education is by all means complicated. So the meaning of education has to emerge from this narrowness to the broadness of meaning. In its broadness of meaning Education is the process of ‘stimulating’ the ‘person’ with Experiences, Language and Ideology, beginning from the time of birth and continuing till the time of death. This meaning of Education would give rise to the Aim, as disseminating formally, non-formally, culturally, nationally, scientifically and ritually-skills, literacy, knowledge, norm and values, as pedagogies of the institutions giving rise to the aim. This aim would be directly related to the perpetuation of that Society as an ideological structure. Aim would again determine the Function of Education The function of Education would be thus related to how meaning and aims are synchronized into processes called experience of application. The thesis statement of this paper is developed on three levels-one, the meaning of education as the stimulation of person a with language, experiences and ideology-two, aim of education being dissemination and perpetuation, and three, function, as synchronized processing.

The development of the Meaning of Education as a stimulation of a person from birth to death with language, experiences and ideology makes the person, a Being of the process as an Ontology. This process starts right from birth as affective language, for example, a mother’s cooing, to a process where the person becomes a cognitive structure, as I-the speaking subject or ego-subject. Here, the individual undergoes the norms, traditions of the society’s culture and learns to adapt and appropriate the symbolic codes of the society. Along with this process, the individual also learns to formalize his or her adaptation and appropriation to a literacy process i.e. developing skills and competencies. Thus we find that the Meaning of Education to be multi-leveled as well as multiple -oriented, through both formalist and non-formalist institutions of society. The formalist institutions which procreate the Meaning of Education are the Schools, the Government, Law and Order etc. Other formalist institutions like family, religion and native-traditions can work both openly as well as silently to orient an individual to the meaning of experience as the educated. For example a mother’s oral transmission of a folk song to the daughter is silent whereas a marriage function is a more open aspect as the performance of a culture’s pedagogy. Thus language and experiences generate the codes for that society to experience the Meaning of Education, making possible for ideologies to exist.

Thus the meaning of Education would give rise to the Aim, as disseminating formally, non-formally, culturally, nationally, scientifically and ritually-skills, literacy, knowledge, norms and values as pedagogies. Dissemination would mean the spreading of the Society’s cultural norms and values. It would also mean the spreading of Nationalism as democratic-pluralism, multiculturalism, diversity and celebration or its reverse as intolerance, authoritarianism through pedagogies; it is also the development of systematized pedagogies- promoted as theoretical and applied within the Society’s Scientific and Technocratic institutions.

The Aim of Education would be directly related to the perpetuation of that Society as an ideological structure. The contemporariness of perpetuation would answer the questions related to the aim of Education being: empowerment, sustainability, preservation, minimization, conflict resolution, creativity and innovation.

The Aim of Education as well as the Meaning of Education give rise to the Function of Education as meaning, that is the synchronized processing of Aim and Function into a materialist, operational process. Synchronization of the Meaning and Aim of education takes places at various levels action. They are Making, Transmission and Implementation and Cultural-Simulation. At the Making level, the Function of Education is connected with ‘Policy Formulation’ related to the Meaning and Aim of Education. Policy Formulation can reflect on multiple issues like development, sustainability, scientific progress, promotion of rights, dignity and culture, energy management, disaster management, peace and conflict resolution. Once policies are made they are transmitted and implemented through the society’s institutional structures like the legal system, the education system, the society’s welfare management etc. Cultural-simulation takes place both formally and non -formally as society’s religious, cultural and familial institutions. They perform many social and cultural roles within the home as well celebration or mourning for an occasion.

To conclude, it is pertinent to summarize the thesis developed that is, the Meaning of Education has been broadened to involve the stimulation of a Person, with Language, Experiences and Ideology. The Meaning of Education becomes vital to the Aim of Education as dissemination and perpetuation. The Meaning and Aim of Education becomes synchronized into the Function of education as Making, Transmission and Participation.