Only 59 Fairfax County Public Schools Students Have Recovery Services in Their IEPs

“Currently, there are 59 students with recovery services on their current IEP.”

~Molly Shannon, Fairfax County Public Schools FOIA Officer

There are “59 students with recovery services on their current IEP” in Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS).

That’s not a typo.

Fifty-nine (59) students out of FCPS’s over one hundred eighty thousand (180,000+) students have recovery services in their IEPs.

That’s it. Not 59% or 590, or any other variation one’s mind might jump to after reading the number “59” and thinking it must be a typo.

Nope. It’s real.

This bit of jaw-dropping data arrived late today, courtesy of FCPS’s FOIA Officer Molly Shannon—after weeks of going back and forth with her, trying to obtain updated data related to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) investigation into FCPS.

Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Any Worse

As of February 2022:

“Approximately 1,070 students have received are or [sic] have recovery services indicated in their IEP in some form.” (Source: March 3, 2022, FCPS email)

Seven months later (September 2022):

Linda Jacobson reported for The 74 that FCPS had spent only 5% of its $188.7 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds. (Data compiled by Edunomics)

Less than one month later (September 30, 2022):

Data reported by Virginia indicated that FCPS ARP spending had gone up, but was still at a measly 18.7% (Updated on Edunomics Lab’s site, on October 28, 2022).

Three days later (October 3, 2022):

Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) announced an investigation of FCPS for allegedly engaging in predetermination. The predetermination focused on FCPS’s denial of recovery services.

Less than three weeks later (October 21, 2022):

FCPS provided data to journalist Linda Jacobson, with the stellar “59” included.

Three days later (October 24, 2022):

United States Department of Education’s (USDOE) National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the “Nation’s Report Card”, which indicated Virginia has continued the decline it started in 2017, before COVID even hit.

Two weeks later (November 7, 2022):

After weeks of going back and forth and not receiving FOIA responses from FCPS, I submitted a FOIA request to FCPS for “all of FCPS’s responses to journalist Linda Jacobson’s FOIA requests for the last six months”. Given 1) FCPS had yet to provide me requested records and 2) Linda had covered FCPS, I decided to see if FCPS had provided records to her.

Two days later (November 9, 2022):

FCPS’s FOIA officer provided me a FOIA response to my November 7th request. The response is a series of emails between her and Linda, in which she uses an exemption to get out of providing the requested information. However, the officer eventually came around and provided Linda the information she said she couldn’t provide. In her email to Linda, the officer specifically stated:

“It is my understanding that you seek data specifically referring to services for students with IEPs who missed services due to remote learning. Please be advised that the data point is reflected in recovery services not compensatory services data.
“That updated data point for recovery services is provided below.
“ Currently, there are 59 students with recovery services on their current IEP.”

But Wait, There’s More

In addition to providing recovery services to so few students, FCPS is requiring parents to pay for the services and then seek reimbursement from FCPS. FCPS’s turnaround time? About forty-five days. In addition to denying and delaying provision of recovery services to students, it is putting the burden of payment on parents.

*This story is unfolding and more will be added in the coming days.

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