Do you think it is an accident that you receive all evaluation results, prospective IEP Goals and Objectives, and progress reports at your child’s PPT? Every one of us parents has wondered “how the hell am I supposed to understand, digest, and make decisions on this information right here and now.”
This is the school’s “ambush” technique. They do this because it confuses and overwhelms parents. This approach effectively neutralizes the parents ability to be an equal member of the team. Making intelligent decisions is nearly impossible under these circumstances, because parents are kept in the dark until the PPT itself.
Schools keep parents from thoroughly questioning information presented at the meeting, and understanding it fully. Parents feel insecure about their lack of knowledge of the meanings of the reports and other information. Because of this they are more likely to trust and just go along with the school team. The school knows a disempowered parent is less of a threat to them.
Also, the team probably has just completed the evaluations and reports at the 11th hour.
Every parent I have worked with complains about this disempowering behavior from the school.
But is the school disobeying the law by waiting until the meeting itself to give you relevant information? No. Do parents have the right to request all information several days prior to the PPT? Yes.
The law is silent on whether-or-not the school is obliged to give you the reports of their own volition – which means they are not obliged if parents don’t request them specifically.
However, it does specify that parents may request reports and all information be given them prior to PPT meetings. If parents make such requests (in writing) the school must to provide them.
Unfortunately, “what parents don’t know can hurt them.”
This is why it is imperative that parents know the law to advocate effectively for their children. Or bring someone who does know the law.