The "empowerment" scheme is a joke, a scam, and a bunch of bullsh&t.
I have spent my afternoon willing my ass to remain seated as I listened to an empowerment network wonk insist that I change the setting of one of my students. Listening to the wonk, it quickly became apparent that the wonk has absolutely no clue about least restrictive environments. I had to listen to phrases like:
"He'll be better if her were in culinary program."
"He can't do the work here! He would be so much better off in a 12:1:1 class."
"He'll never get more than an IEP diploma."
THE KID IS ONLY 11! Let's give him a chance. He's a foster kid. There is potential. He's 11, and she is already talking about him having a "shot" at learning a trade. This is not that type of kid. This kid needs a lot of emotional and educational support. AND HE'S GETTING IT!
He is emotionally and educationally growing in a group of his peers without a disability. Are things modified and adapted? Of course.
Then wonk made some statement that it was probably a concern of mine that if we lose this student, the school would suffer a bit financially. I replied, "This is an issue about a child, not money. We have been making due with what we have, and will continue to do so regardless."
For those of you that aren't aware, not all new schools are busting about with tons of money.
Then wonk went to my school psychologist (without consulting me or asking for my attendance at such meeting, which is really a bit much given that I'm the kid's provider AND the lead teacher). My principal wasn't there, so that made matters more complicated. My principal has no tolerance for nonsense, at least not this kind.
Then wonk went and told me I was wrong on a bunch of different matters (which I'm not). I finally had kids standing outside the office waiting for me to start extended day, which was the perfect way to get out of the situation before I let wonk meet the "you are truly screwing with the wrong person" demeanor I set aside for special situations.
Amazing how one person, who has only visited the school twice before, can cause so much needless trouble. And the school has to pay 28 grand for this kind of support (errr... or should I say control, because that's what it is).
Autonomy? My ass. These empowerment teams are a bunch of bullies trying to justify their jobs and avoid the classroom.
I'm exhausted, pissed, and got so caught up with the wonk, I didn't even eat yet today.
(sorry in advance for any typos)