I dedicate this article to a truly inspiring child advocate and professor, the late Irwin Hyman, Ed.D., who fostered my education throughout my time at Temple University.
He was a man of brilliance, boundless energy, and intense devotion to the well-being of children. He had a vision of change and helped his students to become part of it.
The bureaucracy has won. The kids have lost. The game is over. Turn off the lights. Lock the doors.
It has been a brutal and grueling road to this conclusion, but I am certain of it. The kids are always going to lose. Always. Over the course of twenty-three years and more than 1,200 assessments, most ending up in an individualized education plan, mediation or hearing, I’ve watched, first-hand, the unapologetically incompetent special education system “at work.” Not only is it incompetent, but thieving and vicious.
I’ve worked with kids from many school districts, states, and yes, even countries, and the story never, ever changes. Never. Of course, I’m painting every district with the same brush. Does your district have another story?
While I recognize that many people are working diligently and ethically to help these children, they do so at their own peril. A school psychologist dared to agree with my assessment and she was fired. Good for her. She went into private practice. She couldn’t take it anymore, either. Such was my path.
Multiple times administrators told me what I could and could not say. Administrators! They had no credentials or training to influence my work, but for the sake of the bureaucracy, they tried to control me and the rest of us. Intimidation, threats of “write ups” and transfers, lunch duty — whatever it took to wield the bat of authority.
Bureaucracies really are living, breathing beings. And they act like it. All living things seek to stay alive and perpetuate themselves.
Once I realized how the “game was played,” I walked parents to their cars after IEP meetings and gave each of them packets of the information I could not give them in front of the team. Bless them. None of them ever ratted me out. Finally, I could not reconcile the immorality and lack of ethics, so I quit. I started a private practice where I could gather as much data as I needed to make appropriate recommendations based on that data. My attitude was — and is — “Get out of my way. This kid needs help.”
I thought that would be enough, but it isn’t. The deck is stacked against the families.
First, school districts use taxpayer dollars to fight you.
That’s right. The money you pay in taxes is used against you, while you are struggling to sell property or get a second or third job to afford an attorney. It’s a war of attrition. They can and will outspend you. They can and will wear you down to protect the “mother ship” of the bureaucracy.
Consider the Solana School District in San Diego that spent $1,000,000 in a 7-year battle against parents of a 4-year-old with autism. All these parents wanted was for their child to be included in a general education setting. The district was trying to avoid paying $6,100 in tuition for a private school. Go ahead. Read it again. That’s where your tax dollars are going.
Understand that some punk who just robbed a 7-11 and waived a .45 in the face of a terrified clerk gets an attorney to protect his rights and yes, yet again, you foot the bill. All in the name of justice.
Who helps parents who assert their child’s rights to a Free and Appropriate Education? If the family had limited resources, the best I could do was refer them to a competent advocate when there was no attorney who worked on contingency.
When the family was from another state or region, I referred them to the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA). I gave them resources such as Pete Wright’s website.
After all of the work we did, if I couldn’t find resources they could afford, what would be the value of that work? I used a metaphor to bring home the truth. You’re having chest pains. You have a history of cardiac problems. You go to the ER where the doctor tells you that you’re having a heart attack and walks away. “Good luck,” she says. And you stand there, perplexed. “Aren’t you supposed to help me?” Silence…
It’s the same question I ask myself time after time. Aren’t they supposed to be helping? Oh sure, on the surface, it looks that way because there is just so much paper generated on behalf of your child and everyone looks so busy. Yet, when you challenge them because your child is not making progress, their attitude changes dramatically. It’s the “How dare you question our authority” stance. And then, when you throw in an “outsider” like me, it’s on.
Second, the assessments are, in my experience, useless.
It’s not that the school psychologists don’t want to or don’t know how to do more, it’s that they’re allowed to do only what they are told and, unfortunately, don’t have the proper tools. They are frustrated beyond belief, overworked beyond all reason, and operate from a position that is intolerable. They know what is going on with the students, but can’t help. They’re put in a position where they must “identify with the aggressor” (a.k.a., administration).
Stockholm syndrome might be more familiar to you than the phrase “identify with the aggressor.” If you comply with those who can hurt you, you’re less likely to get hurt. Remember Patty Hearst? This woman’s behavior brought the concept of “identification with the aggressor” to our attention. To the public, it made sense and helped us understand the reasons that abused women didn’t report or testify against their abusers. It explained the alignment with the hostage-taker.
I’ve reviewed several thousand assessments conducted by school district personnel from all over the United States. Here’s what I’ve seen:
Using outdated tests and outdated scoring software. This likely means your child is being compared to kids who were in school long before your child was born. Your kids are not being compared to those with whom they’ll be competing for a chair in college or a job.
Global scores are reported. Those with learning disabilities frequently have highly inconsistent performances both on tests and in the classroom setting. Frustrating for everyone. One day they can do it, the next, they can’t. Why?
If global scores are reported, you have no idea if that score is correct because you don’t have access to the scores that make up that overall score. For example, the overall score is average and that makes you a happy Momma. But, what you don’t know is that one score is really, really high and the important scores are really, really low and it comes out average. What you don’t know can hurt your child because you then go on to operate under inaccurate beliefs about your child’s reading ability.
Lies by omission. Lies by commission are outright lies and lies by omission are distortions of the truth because not all of the information was offered.
A limited kind and amount of information is shared. I can usually tell when students are doing poorly because age and grade equivalences are not provided (if they are available from the test maker). Age and grade equivalences do not provide the most reliable picture of a student’s performance; standard scores are more reliable. However, age and grade equivalences are more meaningful to parents. What do parents know about a score of eighty-five or even a percentile rank of fifteen? But, if they see that their ninth grader is reading at a fourth grade level, the situation heats up.
There is little-to-no interpretation. When districts conduct assessments and write reports, there is little meaningful interpretation. That means that the results are rarely “connected” to the classroom performance in a way that makes sense to parents. Their reports are a sterile listing of standard scores and percentile ranks and a general, qualitative description (average, above average, below average) of the student’s performance. Parents rarely understand the issues their children are experiencing in the classroom.
In my practice, I write my reports for parents. They’re a subtest-by-subtest analysis with a great many observations that add to the understanding of “what” their child looked like when they were working. I want them to see their child through my eyes when working through tasks. They are frequently several hundred pages long, especially since I include all previous assessments, report cards, standardized testing, IEPs, addendum — all of it.
Discrepancies are not explained. How is it the case that student’s achievement scores are higher than their intelligence/learning potential scores? How can you spend what you don’t have? Whereas higher achievement scores can be the result of effective intervention, their classroom performance does not reflect their reading, math, or written language achievement.
The school environment is not conducive to valid results. So, when the bell rings and everyone’s going out to play, how can a kid, who is being tested, concentrate? If a student is worried about missing history because she’s already behind or her latest crush sits next to her in that class, how can testing compete with those feelings and thoughts? It can’t, plain and simple. Unlike the school setting, my environment is controllable. Because I test kids on the weekends, I can meet when they want to meet. There are no phones ringing, no herds of kids moving through the halls, no loud voices, no interruptions.
There’s little-to-no opportunity to establish rapport. I was a school psychologist. I knew that I had about ten minutes to establish some type of non-threatening relationship with a child before I asked them to work. This time limit was not particularly conducive to successful results.
In private practice, I could spend as much time as I wanted chatting and getting to know kids, making them hot chocolate or playing games when they were anxious.
They were in charge of the environment. If they needed to stand, they stood. If they needed to reach out to someone for support, they did. For complex assessments and kids who have been seriously wounded by their educational experiences, sometimes it took twenty-five sessions. Sessions lasted no more than ninety minutes because kids just couldn’t maintain effective attention and motivation for longer, as the research shows. Some of my kids could manage only twenty minutes due to attentional or emotional/behavioral challenges.
Districts really do base their conclusions on one test. Despite protests to the contrary, it is my professional opinion that districts base their conclusions on one test or one test plus a subtest of another measure. This is not “best practice.”
School districts consistently fail to identify all areas of suspected disability. They don’t have the tests to measure what they suspect. Psychologists don’t have the tools they need to explore suspicions developed during their assessments. Many school psychologists have training that is focused only on the types of assessments that are conducted in schools and are not educated in the wide array of disabilities that they’ll encounter. When I sit in an IEP meeting and ask the psychologists about metacognitive and metamemory strategies that the student used, I get blank stares.
Short/brief forms of tests are administered. Only portions of tests are administered to achieve the desired scores. The shorter the test, the less reliable it is. Test reliability means that the test will yield the same results over and over. Consider the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-5th Edition. It is necessary to administer only seven of the sixteen subtests in order to achieve the Full Scale IQ. The Full Scale IQ seems to be the only information that school districts find meaningful. In my opinion, a tremendous amount of critical information is lost if the remaining nine subtests are omitted. Test publishing houses need to stop being complicit in the inadequacies of school districts by making it easier to conduct a cursory evaluation.
School districts’ assessments are inadequate. School districts conduct what I call “eligibility” assessments, and we private clinicians conduct “diagnostic” assessments. In an “eligibility” assessment, only enough data is gathered to determine if your child is eligible for a program. Usually, “foundational” skills are measured and there is little-to-no “functional focus.”
It’s one thing to have solid sight word vocabulary, but that skill, in no way, is guaranteed to manifest into reading comprehension.
Many of my tests are “functional” in nature. Not only do I measure sight word, word attack and word knowledge, but I measure how quickly a student can read, retain, understand, and answer comprehension questions. Why have basic skills if you can’t make them functional?
If you’re the most talented pianist known to mankind and never play, then, what is the value of your gift? Functional skills. Skills kids can use to succeed in the classroom. That’s where the action is.
It’s my experience that school districts across the country are nearly at a loss when it comes to evaluating autism and emotional distress. They have cursory training and experience in evaluating these aspects of the human experience.
For your reference, my assessment plan for elementary students with learning disabilities is offered at the end of this article.
Third, the Individualized Education Plan meeting does not generate a blueprint for learning.
Why is that? Well, the school psychologist has limited information, the team is required to write goals at grade level, and the whole plan is, in no way, individualized. It can’t be because education isn’t individualized.
The process is destined for failure. Everyone might be working hard with the best of intentions, but they are shoveling sand against the tide. Have you heard that definition of insanity that says you do the same thing over and over and expect a different result? That’s where we are. We just look busy, that’s it. We got here because we just won’t open our eyes and see that we’re failing and we’ll keep on failing because…
It’s an US versus THEM mentality. School districts put up huge walls. Unless they are forced to, they don’t call on other professionals in the community for help. Why? Because they’ll have to pay for the services.
When I was able to convince Nancy Bell of Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes to put a clinic in our community, the next time the local newspaper came out, there was the superintendent proudly announcing, “If Dr. McCulloch thinks our school district is paying for these services, she’s wrong.” Well, sixteen years later, they’ve written plenty of checks to parents to reimburse them for Lindamood-Bell services, but they can still contend they’ve never paid Lindamood-Bell. Seriously? Yeah, let’s just play with these kids’ lives for the sake of the bureaucracy.
Districts do their best to minimize the extensive results I provide. “No, no, we can’t look at that!” They oftentimes completely ignore my results. What is a parent to think?
One interesting dynamic is how they frequently reference “the team” as if it is a groupthink. Well, it is. But, the “team” seems to be defined as the people who work for the school and since there are usually more on their side of the table than on the parents’ side of the table, I’ve asked parents to bring grandparents, aunts and uncles, pastors, anybody who can fill the seats. Of course, you have to give the district twenty-four-hour notice as to who is coming. It sure does shake things up!
They don’t ask us. I can practically guarantee that if a school district called on any of my colleagues and asked for our help, we would be right there, doing everything we can to make the situation come out right for the kid. The problem here is that our focus is the kid and not perpetuating the bureaucracy. We are ethically bound to consider the best interests of our clients at all times. We have no allegiances to bureaucracy.
We’re not taking into account a kid’s developmental history. A long and difficult labor and delivery can lead to ADHD, autism and language processing disorders. If the kid was colicky and didn’t achieve independent sleep within the expected time frame, they might end up being diagnosed with ADHD. If they were slow to achieve language milestones or had multiple ear infections, they’re vulnerable to language disorders.
Once a kid qualifies for language services, they need to be tracked. I’m talking about language development, not speech problems such as articulation disorders. Just because a kid has achieved their goals does not mean that language disorders are gone. They will absolutely reappear. Trust me. I’ve seen it over and over. Surprise! Qualify for language processing deficits in third grade, and dismissed in fourth grade? By sixth grade, you’re drowning. Your language development progresses slowly, but the pace of the curriculum is running away from you.
We don’t understand that the more subtle aspects of learning can make or break a kid. Processing speed matters. Ever see the “I Love Lucy” episode where she and Ethel get a job at the candy factory? Their job was to wrap each piece as it moved along a conveyor belt. They’re toddling along, having fun, doing their job. Along comes their supervisor, sees, that they “got it down” and speeds up the conveyor. Lucy and Ethel couldn’t keep up and started stuffing candy into their hats, bras and pockets.
If a kid has a sluggish cognitive tempo, there’s not a lot to be done about it. Kids with slow processing speed simply cannot keep up. They can’t keep up with the pace of classroom instruction, the homework assignments and tests. It’s tremendous stress on them.
A Ford just can’t keep up with a Ferrari. These kids will always have a large “fix and finish file.”
Learn about the massive impact of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s not just about paying attention. The “downstream” effects of ADHD are memory and speed of processing along with other executive functioning skills. Evaluate these areas to determine if they are hiding underneath the ADHD.
Learn about the widespread consequences of being on the autistic spectrum. It’s not just about social development. It’s about tolerating the environment from a sensory standpoint. It’s about struggling to develop higher order thinking skills. How many school psychologists know the role of mirror neurons in the daily functioning of students on the spectrum?
We’re not being realistic about what we can actually accomplish. Is it realistic to think that when a ninth grader is reading at a fourth grade level that a classroom support system can actually remediate that student? No, it isn’t. We just can’t give kids with disabilities the attention, the time, or the expertise they need to overcome their challenges.
It’s the budget or the kid. And, the winner is, the budget! It’s that basic.
We don’t consider the long-term consequences of a child who does not learn. You’re foolish if you think that you are insulated from the damage wreaked by a kid who never learned how to read.
Let me paint a picture for you. I testified in a fair hearing of a kid who was massively dyslexic and the district failed him. It was clear cut. But, mother had moved him all over in an attempt to get him educated and she lied about her address. Game over. Kid loses.
Later, I encountered one of the attorneys involved in the case. At the beginning of an IEP meeting, an attorney was boasting about his newborn daughter. The pictures were, of course, adorable. After the IEP meeting was over, he loudly, and in a nasty, provocative tone said, “Hey, no hard feelings about XXXX.” I lost it.
I told him, “You think you did well? You dumped another poor, black kid out onto the street with no hope of ever getting a job. In sixteen years, what’s to keep him from putting a gun to your new baby girl’s head and taking her car?” He came over the table after me and had to be restrained. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?
We’re not paying enough attention to the gifted kids. We make a dangerous assumption that “they’ll always do okay.” They don’t. Working with the prison population taught me that many a bright kid goes astray when they’re not challenged. Just because they’re smart, doesn’t mean they’ll be successful. They need to be taught how to channel their gifts into success. We need to invest in the creative and innovative kids in our schools.
School districts won’t admit that they don’t know what to do to help a kid. This one is self-explanatory, isn’t it?
What do we do now that we have this huge bureaucracy with its entrenched personnel and “unhealthy” organizational moral code? I have some ideas:
We have to start at both ends. We need to put vocational/trade training programs into place immediately for those high schoolers who are struggling academically and who see themselves with a future in a trade. We’ll always need plumbers, electricians, mechanics and builders.
At the kindergarten/preschool end, having parents complete a basic developmental history that hits the “high points” of a child’s beginning will help determine if they are vulnerable for disabilities. By second grade, every child should have been assessed to get baseline data.
Each school should be characterized by the following:
1. Every classroom has a maximum of twenty students with a full-time, fully credentialed teacher, and full-time aide with at least some teacher training. It’s likely we won’t need special education or even non-public schools if we reshape how we deliver services.
2. Teachers with specialized training should have unlimited opportunity to conduct remediation for those students who need it. After all, if they don’t have the basic skills to access the curriculum, are students going to benefit from being in the classroom?
3. Community and school-based resources should be available, freely, to teachers, counselors, school psychologists, and nurses. They should not have to get permission to speak with experts.
4. Each school psychologist should have no more than two elementary schools or one middle school or one high school. May I tell you that my first year in a local school district, I had seven schools, including a middle school and a high school? The younger the kids, the more attention they need. It’s about prevention versus intervention. Intervention is very expensive and not just in dollars. Give the psychologist a fighting chance to make a difference.
5. Each school psychologist should have easy access to the kinds of test instruments they want to use. They should have access to the test publishers’ catalogs to learn about the kinds of tests that are available. I bought a test and was using it at a public school when I was the psychologist. I was called in and “written up” for using the test because, as the special education director told me, “If we find a problem, we have to do something about it.” Well, golly gee, isn’t that the POINT?
6. School psychologists should have an actual office away from the busy-ness of the rest of the school to conduct testing. It should be a comfortable atmosphere that is not cold, hard, and scary. Kids should want to go there.
I like the idea of assessment centers that are open on the weekends. Students could have a choice as to when and where they are evaluated in order to achieve valid results.
7. Experts should be brought into the schools to offer in-service about various disabilities and conditions in order to help teachers and others find the best ways to support children with special needs.
8. Twice a month, the team involved in evaluating, teaching and tracking a child’s progress needs to be given unencumbered time to sit together and focus on this one child.
9. Schools should not close at three and over the weekends, extended holidays and summers. We are losing out on a valuable resource in our communities. They should be open after school for trade education, literacy and enrichment (learning another language or English), help with homework, parent education and social opportunities. See the article “What to do about Baltimore” (4-30-15) at drclaudia.net.
10. Schools need to draw on the resources around them for those institutions (if available) that offer training from the following: teacher, speech and language, occupational therapists and those seeking to work with the pediatric population in terms of mental, social and behavioral health. Also, schools should draw on the senior population to provide a wealth of helpful partners in the classroom.
Earlier, I spoke about the “thieving and vicious” nature of school districts when it comes to special education kids and their families. I believe that I have covered the “thieving” part extensively. Let me add a bit about the “vicious” part. These are my personal experiences. I observed them myself. I was involved in them.
> After I opened my practice, I had my first IEP meeting at a local school. The district failed to conduct a language evaluation even though they had a signed assessment plan. After the meeting, the school psychologist asked to speak to me. We went to his office and he told me that if I “didn’t play ball with the district” that he’d see to it that I was “run out of town.”
> A new special education director was hired at a school district. She called me at home to tell me that she was hired to “put me out of business.” I was so excited. I responded that I hoped her district would do such a great job that, I would have no families coming to me from them.
> Families were told that I did not have a license to practice.
> Families were also told that the district would not work with them if I conducted an evaluation.
> In an act of frustration and an attempt at intimidation, I suspect, a school district attorney threw her glasses and a book at me in a meeting.
> A psychologist hired by the district to conduct an assessment told me, in front of the IEP team, which included the parents, that I was “too stupid to understand his results.” Funny enough, neither did the school district’s attorney. The case was settled.
> Teachers were told not to complete rating scales and feedback forms that I asked them to complete. This was a violation of the parents’ right to fully participate in their child’s assessment because I was their proxy for this element of the evaluation.
> Observations were “suddenly cancelled” for no reason once I arrived at the school.
> During a fair hearing, the school district’s attorney swore at me while I was testifying. He also threw my report at me and exclaimed, “I know why you write such big reports. You’re trying to protect yourself from a lawsuit.” I quickly responded, “Well, if I wanted to do a half-baked job (not exactly the phrase I used), I’d be a school psychologist for your district!” And, the wars go on…
> Districts refused to allow me to observe.
> Shortly before I closed my practice, a guidance counselor explained to me that she shredded the rating scales that the teacher had already completed. Her explanation was that the scales were not appropriate for the teacher to complete. In actuality, the rating scales were the teachers’ versions and were designed for teachers. They destroyed my professional property.
> One of mother’s I represented, who was a mild-mannered and very patient woman, was threatened with a restraining order if she kept trying to schedule meetings with her child’s teacher.
> Another mother who I represented, who was extremely active as a volunteer in her child’s classroom, was apparently advocating “too much” and was not invited to the volunteer luncheon at the end of the school year. There were a variety of similar rebukes to her and some right in front of me.
> When I took off work for two months to study for an exam, several of my colleagues called me to see if I “was doing better.” I learned some of the startling rumors that were being spread by school district personnel regarding my absence. It was no surprise since, from time-to-time, throughout my 23 years in private practice, rumors were spread about my husband and also my son. I learned about these rumors from my families and colleagues.
It was clear to me that school districts’ terrorism extended to anyone who might threaten their existence.
My father would say to us kids, “Don’t just stand there, do something!” He was right. Looking at the fact that we are experiencing astronomical levels of teacher burnout, we have to do a lot of things differently. At this point, we’re losing 40%-50% of teachers in their first years of teaching. Kids are dropping out in record numbers and these are the statistics you don’t hear about because data isn’t being collected.
NOBODY is asking those who work in the field about solutions. It’s all about the “upper crust,” the “elite,” the “insiders” and let’s face it, they must not know much because look at the shape we are in.
We have a multitude of organizations that are “supposed” to be helping kids, but they, too, are bureaucracies who do not provide direct support. They seem to be in the fundraising and research business. Again, self-perpetuating and self-serving.
I say it’s time we have a Parent’s March. Heaven knows, we’ve got enough evidence to support our concerns. We will continue to have more drug use, more riots, more mass casualty shootings, more murder, more unwanted pregnancies, more prisoners and prisons, more wasted potential, more stress, more health issues and less life satisfaction if we do nothing. If we are not bold and committed, it will be “business as usual” and the bureaucracy is saved once again.
America has great music; however, with our current educational system, not everybody gets a chance to dance.
Let’s get this revolution started.
Assessment Plan for Elementary Students Suspected of Learning Disabilities
Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-5th Edition (WISC-5)
Leiter International Performance Scale-3rd Edition
Woodcock-Johnson III Diagnostic Reading Battery
Gray Oral Reading Tests-5th Edition
Gray Silent Reading Tests
Tests of Reading Comprehension Test-4th Edition
Key Math-III Diagnostic Inventory
Test of Written Language-4th Edition
Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement-4th Edition
Written Language subtests:
Spelling of Sounds
Test of Memory and Learning-2nd Edition
Rey Complex Figure and Recognition Trial
Conners Rating Scales-3rd Edition/Long Form completed by
teachers, parents and student, if appropriate
Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement-4th Edition/Form A
Sentence Reading Fluency
Word Reading Fluency
Math Facts Fluency
Sentence Writing Fluency
Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functioning-2nd Edition completed by parents, teachers and student, if appropriate
Behavior Assessment System for Children-3nd Edition completed by parents, teachers and students, if appropriate
“Blind” classroom observations in structured and unstructured settings
Review of Records
Feedback with student; feedback with parents
If I suspect language processing disorders, I will also administer a Test of Listening Comprehension-2nd Edition and if autism is suspected, I administer the Test of Problem-Solving-3rd Edition, the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-2nd Edition (Parent Interview Edition), Social Responsiveness Scale-2nd as well as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2nd Edition.
I also have individual tests that measure auditory and visual processing and a wide variety of timed tests, which help me to determine a student’s ability to produce work in a reasonable time frame.
Understand that I have $35,000 worth of test materials and scoring software from which I can choose and I have the luxury of administering as many tests as I feel are necessary to pursue any clinical hypotheses. Luxury, indeed.
WHITTIER JOURNAL OF CHILD AND FAMILY ADVOCACY [Vol. 16:1]
Dr. Claudia McCulloch
About Dr. Claudia:
My initial inspiration to become a psychologist who evaluated children, teens and young adults with exceptionalities came when I started teaching in a small Montessori school that accepted kids who were rejected by public schools because they had Down Syndrome, ADHD and dyslexia. It was 1975 and I had no idea what my ultimate professional goal was, but I knew it would unfold and I would know it when I saw it.
I went on to earn a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling. Well, that was part of the goal, but that degree got me one step closer when I began working with emotionally disturbed children in a housing project in Philadelphia. In that setting, the goal was clarified. I met a woman, Sybil Masters, who conducted evaluations on my students and she came back to me with such amazing information. She was a school psychologist.
I was accepted into the School Psychology doctoral program at Temple University where I first earned a Master’s Degree and then, the Ph.D. I worked in schools as a school psychologist. When the politics, incompetence, downright fraud, intimidation of parents, teachers and school psychologists, was too much to bear, I knew I couldn’t go on in that position, especially when I was told to lie about test results because “we have too many kids in special education”.
I went into private practice where my only goal was to determine exactly what was going on with kids, craft a plan to remediate the problems and then, to take the fight to the school districts (and others) to outline where they failed to evaluate all areas of suspected disability and to provide FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education).
For 25 years, I fought all of the fights and now, I host a 3-hour weekday talk radio show answering your questions about your children’s education, development and behavior as well as questions about your own lives and the people who impact you including your friends, neighbors, co-workers and boss.
Find me at DrClaudia.net. The show is live streamed on Facebook every weekday from 11 to 2 Central time. Check out the Parenting Pointers which are 60-second features and the several thousand blog posts!
† Claudia Rodgers McCulloch, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Educational Psychologist. Current host of “The Dr. Claudia Show-All Things Family” radio show. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DrClaudiaMcCulloch/
 Ashly McGlone, Special Ed Case Costs Approach $1M, THE SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE (August 12, 2014), http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/watchdog/sdut-solana-beachspecial-ed-case-legal-fees-2014aug12-htmlstory.html
 cursorily assessed if there are no concerns.