Friday, February 16, 2007

Easy Off, EASY I.E.P.

I enjoy computers. Going places on a whim intrigues me. Being able to surf cyberspace takes me places I probably never will go to in person. Collecting information from thousands of sources is remarkable. Some of it may even be accurate? I find web based programs amazing in their convenience. Even now I'm enjoying writing this using Google Docs & Spreadsheets. However, when a government agency embarks into the use and exploitation of web based programs my amazement dwindles. This brings me to EASY I.E.P.!

On the surface I have no major difficulties with EASY I.E.P. The idea, perhaps the dream, is to have Individual Education Programs, (I.E.P.), readily available via computers on the web. Gathering together all meeting participants, hovering around a computer, discussing new goals and objectives for a Special Education student is noble. Noble if the computer is working, if the internet is available, if EASY I.E.P. hasn't suddenly assigned your student to another teacher, and if everything prints after all participants agree on the final I.E.P. These are only the major "ifs"! Let's not forget the overwhelming motivation for any system to sign-on and use this program. It's cheaper then the one previously used which was in use because the first computerized I.E.P. system crashed when the company suddenly disappeared.

The Sasquatch family is punctual. They are also large humans with long hair and a 15-year-old daughter that they have very little understanding of the things she wants to do and the things she does do. "Lolita" needs to please any young man that shows an interest in her. They have came in through her bedroom window late at night. She has gone out her bedroom window late at night. At times she has stayed inside her room and they have stood outside her window. All of this aside, she is a very sweet, friendly, and caring child that thrives inside a very poor family. A family more concerned with how to receive the next government check and if they have a lawsuit against anyone or group.

The whole family showed for the scheduled I.E.P. meeting on the coldest January day we had experienced in years. Daddy Sasquatch entered the assistant principal's office and announced, "Those idiots don't know a damn thing! Global warming my ass."

Momma Sasquatch agreed with, "You damn right man."

The whole family settled into the available chairs. Dad, Mom, two little girls, two little boys, and of course my student "Lolita". I turned the computer cart so the parents could see the magic of EASY I.E.P. The first page of the document was visible on the screen. The Sasquatches leaned in unison toward the screen. They were fixated on the scanning pixels of the I.E.P. document.

"Okay, this is the first page of "Lolita's" I.E.P.," I said.

"How much did this contraption cost," Momma Sasquatch asked?

"Huh....I never thought about it," I said.

"A damn lot I bet," Daddy Sasquatch said.

"I suppose so."

"Can you get that internet crap on it?"

"When it's hooked to it, sure."

"Show me that gambling place we get over at Momma's sister's trailer."

"I'm sorry, but we can't do that, we're here to develop your daughter's annual I.E.P." I said.

Momma Sasquatch said, "Oh, whatever you come up with is okay. Just keep her from behind the school with some boy. She ain't gonna get pregnant doing what she does with those boys. Keep her away from the dark ones, too."

I'm seldom at a loss for words, but this was one of those times. It didn't occur to me to go on to the second page. One of the little boys jump up and ran around behind the computer cart tripping over the power cord and severing the lifeline for EASY I.E.P. The screen went black, the hard drive whirled to a stop and the printer cartridge danced from one side of its track to the other trying to shutdown.

"Get on back to your class girl. We got to get going," Daddy Sasquatch ordered my student and the rest of his family. They left in the same order they had entered. After they were situated in their new Ford van they drove off.

Some days later I finished "Lolita's" I.E.P. and sent it home with her for Momma and Daddy to sign. I'm still waiting for the return. "Lolita" never misses a day of school. She bounds off the short bus with the biggest smile I've recently encountered from a student. She loves school, classes, school buses, school food, boys, and her family. Sometimes EASY I.E.P. is just to easy.
Bear 4