MD proposes bill to decrease parent document review period for IEP meetings
A new Maryland House bill intends to alter the current law that requires parents of special needs students receive necessary documents five business days before an Individual Education Program Meeting. House Bill 596 proposes an alteration of the time requirement from five business days to five CALENDAR days, which would ultimately count weekend days in the review period.
If approved, the new law would deny parents the ability to review all documentation far in advance of their child’s IEP meeting. So if a family decided to retain the counsel of an attorney or an education advocate, that intermediary would also be pressed for time to review such documents.
The effort to repeal this provision of the law is supported by public school administrators and psychologists who claim it is an undue burden to have to provide parents with the documentation used in the placement and programming decisions five business days ahead of the meeting.
In reality, the five-day provision allows parents the only real opportunity to read and better understand the various documents, which include test results, teacher reports, student observations and formal evaluations. The documentation can be voluminous and without the five-calendar-day parental provision parents will be uninformed and unprepared for crucial meetings with their child’s school. Everything is decided at these meetings, from whether a child is expected to receive a diploma to whether the child will be placed in a special school or public school with regular education students.
Please help in opposing passage of this destructive and unwise proposed alteration to the current law. Hearings are set for March on this repeal measure. Please contact your legislators to voice your strong opposition to this unwarranted, unnecessary attack to student and family rights.
— Patrick Hoover, Esq.