In response to the posts relating to, “Accountability Crisis,” a reader writes:
Consider this. Let’s say a freshman has 8 classes. This freshman is a special education student. The student’s schedule looks like this:Algebra 1; Resource Math; English 1; Resource English; Biology; Resource Science; PE; Social StudiesNow, let’s assume the worst. This student fails Algebra I, English I, and Biology. You have a serious problem. Under this scenario, the student just earned 5 credits. A good district policy would require 6 or more credits to be a 10th grader. Most of you don’t have the luxury of working under solid, proactive policy, so this becomes a clear run for the hills TAKS-M problem. However, if you are fortunate, you get to keep the student classified as a 9th grader. The next year you start a credit recovery regime for the lost 9th grade credits. The 10th grade schedule will reflect the 9th grade performance. That is, there will be resource classes, for sure. If you use full inclusion, you must INSIST that the inclusion specialist and classroom teacher concur on the grade. You require enough documentation and intervention so that the inclusion course essentially becomes a resource course for that student, no matter what you call it.I call of my courses pre-AP, do full inclusion, demand top notch documentation and RTI, and leave the final grade to be determined by the inclusion specialist. This can cause some waves, but I solve a number of problems with just one action. First, we provide full inclusion. Second, we actually implement RTI. Third, the inclusion specialist ensures that the IEP is being implemented. Fourth, the PBMAS weight slowly loses its mass.The worst case student for the student is this; the student is classified as a repeat 9th grader instead of a 10th grader. Your responsibility is to come up with a 10th grade schedule, including credit recovery, that makes this repeat 9th grader an 11th grader at the end of the school year. You have now side stepped the AYP bullet (10th grade was skipped) and the student is TAKS-M.Never worry too much about PBMAS. Yes, having flags there will get you a watchful eye and you will have to write an improvement plan. But you need to have a plan that will solve the problem sooner rather than later, even if don’t have to submit the plan to TEA. If you don’t, shame on you and you deserve all the heat you get. The point is, your accountability rating is not compromised by PBMAS. You simply have to write a plan and correct the problem. I will take a PBMAS hit over an AEIS or AYP hit any day of the week.Another principal I know came up with a similar course of action at the same time my campus did. We use the inclusion path; the other school uses the resource path. The resource path is better if you have AYP to worry about. In my district, high schools don’t receive any Title One funding (by design), so AYP is not an accountability concern. Plus, we are full inclusion, which TEA loves (as do I). In summary, we worked on the PBMAS problem and the AEIS problem. In an AYP district I would worry about the AEIS problem followed by the AYP problem. I would have a plan for PBMAS, but that would certainly be a distant third.I hope this helps.