Well, I did it. I sent a letter requesting clarification of the response from the Executive Director of Special Educationa and Student Services regarding my request to verify that the new proposed conditions on my son's amended IEP are, in fact, legal. She said they were. I guess I just don't understand how the "Dear Colleague" Letter (Dec. 26, 2007) from the Office for Civil Rights, which says that conditions on an IEP of a student in such a program as our STEM program are illegal, can be superseded by something else. Since the Director's response didn't include any reference to a document with that kind of power, I asked for it.
I also requested the exact phrasing of the Maryland State Curriculum for Science or Math that deals with breaking down an assignment into more specified directions and steps. My son has an accommodation that includes breaking down an assignment with the proposed condition that says that this will be done for assignments "that are not part of a group assignment requiring group members to break down the assignment or activity as part of their 'group' grade." STEM classes follow the Maryland State Curriculum. If it isn't part of the Curriculum, why do we need such a condition? Such a group grade won't happen. If it is part of the Curriculum, in what grade(s) does it happen? If it doesn't happen until 11th grade, for example, we don't need to have it on the IEP for the next 2-1/2 years; we can deal with it then (if I haven't yet figured out how to combat it).
There is more to the question above than that. How is the accommodation of breaking down an assignment when it is part of a group grade handled when the IEP carrier is in the general education? If it's part of the Maryland State Curriculum, is that student told that the accommodation will not be made for certain assignments, similarly to my son in STEM? (He never had the condition on this same accommodation prior to his starting in STEM.) If my son were to drop out of the STEM Program tomorrow, would the two conditions on his accommodations be removed?
My son has lived with more stringent conditions on his IEP for the past two-plus years; these watered-down conditions are much less pesky. The crux of the matter, I believe, is that there are conditions. I just don't understand how the "Dear Colleague" Letter was strong enough to get the department to say that yes, the conditions must be removed but was so weak that conditions are still allowed. It doesn't make sense.
I'll end this here as the above contains the gist of my questions. However, the response from the Director contains much more that is distressing than mentioned here. And I still haven't finished the Superintendent's homework.