Special Education/LRE


My daughter is labeled as an SDC student. Recently we met to have her mainstreamed for ELA in a general education classroom.  During the mainstream time the school participates in a RTI program where students are shuffled.  It was suggested that during this time she should go with the RSP teacher to receive instruction.  As parents this sounds great, because she is still being mainstreamed and has an opportunity to receive Special Ed support.  We are now being told that this is illegal because she is an SDC student not an RSP student.  Couldn't she be serviced by both programs?

In order to receive direct service outside of the general classroom a child with a disability has to be found eligible in one of the 13 categories of disability defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  RTI is a part of IDEA, but it is primarily a tool to assist in the identification for eligibility.  

I assume your daughter has not been through an identification process and is not yet identified for IDEA purposes.  If so, then yes, any teacher who is funded 100% from special education funds needs to focus attention on children identified.  Some states have code (laws regarding state education) that restricts the special education teacher from working with general education...however, unless there is specific state code special education teachers are allowed to work in what we call an inclusive setting.  RTI could be considered an inclusive setting.  It would be better if the instruction was not one to one.  A small group of children with similar skill needs would be ideal, and if we believe the research we will keept the group smaller than 5 students.  I live and work in Kentucky and this is done there, it was allowable within the Arizona RTI structure, somewhat restricted in Washington State.  

IDEA 2004 revisions focused on removing the separate barriers between programs in schools.  They specifically attempted to change the law to provide more integration of special programs and general programs.  Given that, depending on the state law, I believe she can get both services (under federal law).  The RTI success or lack of success can then become evidence to help determine if she meets eligibility criteria for special education.  

I would get clarification by calling your State Department of Education, Exceptional Student Services, and ask for the special education dispute resolution personnel.  Then pose your question to them.  Tell them that you are trying to determine if your child's Free Appropriate Public Education is being denied because of funding.

Sorry it took so long for me to respond.

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Dr. Norm Bishop


I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.


I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website, Preachitteachit.com.

I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

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