"Expectations are too low" for special needs students at GRPS according to evaluation

Mar 27, 2019

Lily Cheng Schulting with her son Bill
Credit Lily Cheng Schulting

“They were using a Brigance standard for Bill that was up to age 48 months.”

That’s Lilly Cheng Schulting, whose son Bill goes to a center-based program in a Grand Rapids Public Schools. 

“and they were saying, 'oh he’s doing wonderful and he’s the best one in the class,' But your standard is up to 48 months and he’s 15 years old.”

And Schulting’s concerns are backed by the results of the independent evaluation, which was released earlier this month and notes that the schools’ current culture does not foster a mindset of high expectations.  GRPS Communications Director, John Helmholdt says that that particular point in the report was difficult to grapple with. 

“That was a little bit hard to see because I think that's contrary to what we know about our teachers, our school leaders, and the district leadership. We have high expectations for all children.”

After five decades of administering the center based special education programs for Kent County, GRPS will hand over the program to the Kent ISD beginning in July. The decision was made by the GRPS board last summer.

Michelle Jokisch Polo, WGVU News