Common Core and the RTI Trap refers to the problem some parents are having getting special education services for their child, because the school is saying their child is still in RTI — or Response to Intervention.
The big risk is that RTI does not provide accommodations for the new Common Core Assessments or Florida State Assessments. Therefore, even though your child may need extra time or a private setting, your child will not receive these accommodations unless your child has a 504 Plan or an IEP that provides the accommodations in a formal document.
We believe the RTI Process could and should work effectively, but most states, counties and schools follow their own unique RTI Process. While special education services are clearly under the Special Education umbrella, RTI does not fit comfortably in any department. The good news is that districts we are working with are working hard to standardize and improve the process.
For now, parents should assume nothing. You want to work collaboratively, and you want to both understand the process and to know what your rights are to accelerate the process, where appropriate.
What is supposed to happen with RTI is:
– A child is identified early on, Kindergarten or 1st grade, and the regular teacher tries some interventions to get the child trending towards grade level
– If the child is not responding to the interventions well enough to get back to grade level, the team is supposed to move the child to Tier 2 of RTI – -where another teacher might come into the room to try different interventions. The process should then be examined say 6 to 8 weeks later, and if the child is not trending towards grade level the student is moved to Tier 3.
– In Tier 3, the student might be pulled out for a small group intervention where a specialist will then try yet another set of interventions.
Then, 6 to 8 weeks later, if the student is not responding to the interventions at a rate that will get the child back to grade level, then the child study team could recommend the student have a comprehensive evaluation to consider special education services
Too often we have seen and heard of cases where a student can be in Tier 1 of RTI for a long time. Unlike special education evaluations which must occur within 60 calendar days in most states and 60 school days in Florida, the RTI process does not have specified time frames. Note, in Florida the rules will change in July 2015 to require districts to complete new evaluation requests within 60 calendar days.
In theory this makes sense, but in practice, the parents need a way to expedite the process.
Melody Musgrove, the Federal Director of OSEP, the Office of Special Education Programs, wrote a letter that clearly says that RTI cannot be used to delay or deny an evaluation.
We believe that we need Informed, Empowered and Proactive Parents to both monitor and expedite the process, where appropriate.
We provide the Melody Musgrove letter and a sample letter you can send to schools at the RTI Trap