House Bill 7536, which will create/enable an Office of the Ombudsman, with full oversight over the Rhode Island Department of Education’s (RIDE)  implementation of IEP’s (Individualized Education Program), is being heard tomorrow night by the all powerful Rhode Island House Finance Committee. (May 10 At The Rise of The House 4:30)

Representatives of The ARC Rhode Island, supporters of the legislation, formerly known as Rhode Island Advocacy For Children,  will be meeting at the Rhode Island State House at 3:30.

The legislation, sponsored by Representative Lauren Carson, is rapidly gaining steam, as parents & “boots on the ground” educators continue to express frustration over both the creation and execution of the strategies necessary to provide early intervention to support students who learn differently.

From The US Department of Education:

Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability.

To create an effective IEP, parents, teachers, other school staff–and often the student–must come together to look closely at the student’s unique needs. These individuals pool knowledge, experience and commitment to design an educational program that will help the student be involved in, and progress in, the general curriculum. The IEP guides the delivery of special education supports and services for the student with a disability. Without a doubt, writing–and implementing–an effective IEP requires teamwork.


Sign This Change.Org Petition To Support H7536 Which Will Create An Office Of The Ombudsman To Enable Oversight Of Rhode Island Special Education


Ombud Call for Testimony





Statement From ARC Rhode Island State Director Joanna Scocchi

I am Joanna Scocchi, State Director of The Arc Rhode Island. The Arc is a national organization with over 600 national chapters providing supports and services for children and adults with disability throughout their lifetimes.

I had to fight for my son to get even the most basic special education services, such as learning how to read and write.   Our school district fought me every which way while advocating that my son needed dyslexia remediation with evidence-based programs.   Starting 9th grade in our local high school at a third-grade reading level was NOT OK!   I eventually gave up on the idea that public school was for all children regardless of their disabilities and sent him to a private, language-based learning disabilities school., The Gow School.

I have dedicated the last 10+ years to advocating for children who were not receiving a public school education and fighting for children who were considered too difficult to teach or just considered one of those kids – essentially a “throwaway” child, simply pushed from grade- tograde.

PJ just graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Maine and is now a success story – but this is not the norm for “throwaway children.”

Please support kids like PJ tomorrow, Tuesday May 10th to  the RI Statehouse at 4:30pm in support of H7536 for the Special Education Ombudsman office to ensure special education children and families have an INDEPENDENT office they can turn to when they are having difficulties with their school district.

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