Equality in Texas Public Schools for Male Offenders who have been Classified with Intellectual Disabilities
Lowry, Robert 1978-
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All independent school districts are required by law to provide educational services for the students classified as Developmentally Delayed Delinquents (DDD); this record of study focuses on the students classified as DDD in one ISD, Main, which is a pseudonym. Under federal and state laws, the students classified as DDD are entitled to a free and appropriate educational experience just like their nondisabled peers. However, in Main ISD?s 2008- 2009 school year, a problem arose with DDD placement in the general educational setting. During this time ninety students classified as DDD were either segregated to the alternative campus or to the MSSLC campus through an administrative decision by the former MISD superintendent. The new MISD superintendent is taking steps to correct this violation of special education law by placing a larger portion of DDD students back into their appropriate educational settings. However, given the recent disruptions in the program caused by the former superintendent, the researcher is trying to understand the quality of the current programming. Therefore, the research focus was: What are the perceptions of the professional staff (teachers, counselors, school leaders, and other professional staff) as to the nature and quality of the educational experiences provided by the high school and the alternative school for their DDD students? Findings from the research produced three overarching themes. The first theme, program culture, refers to the direction, purpose, and passion the school district has for enhancing programs for the students classified as DDD. The second theme, staffing, refers to programs and services set up to accept and educate the ?normal? students, which can cause a disconnect or deficit view of thinking for students with disabilities. The last theme is curriculum and instruction, which indicates the ability of the high school and the developmental center to provide quality instruction. Finally, individual perceptions can dictate many aspects of human nature including but not limited to our attitudes, outlook, and our drive to enforce change, or our willingness to settle or accept the status quo. Ultimately, Main ISD?s educational leaders need to become more cognizant about what it truly means to be culturally proficient and to more closely focus on and understand the students that walk through the school?s doors every morning. Policies, practices, and procedures must reflect this internal understanding and culture for proficiency in educating each and every student.