Predetermination in Special Education – What Can You Do About It? – Education Service

Are you the parent of a child with autism, learning disability, or a physical disability that has been struggling to get your child an appropriate special education? Do you think that special education personnel come to Individual Educational Plan (IEP) meetings already decided about your child’s placement or needed services? This article will be discussing predetermination, special education, and ways to overcome this.The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that a child has the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Parents have the right to be involved in all decisions made for their child’s education. Special education personnel may bring a draft IEP to the meeting, but only if they are willing to change the IEP to allow parental input.Predetermination is defined as school personnel making unilateral decisions about a child before the IEP meeting, without parental input, and refusing to listen to parental input during the meeting. Or school district personnel presenting a take it or leave it IEP. If a parent brings information that a child needs a particular related or special education service and evidence that the child needs it, school district personnel are required to at least “consider” the input. The problem is that many special education personnel have already decided or predetermined what placement or services will be offered.In a well know predetermination case the court found that a school district had an unofficial policy of denying all requests for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) programs; despite evidence that a child required it. In this case the parents paid for a private ABA program in which the child made tremendous progress. The school district was excited about the child’s progress until the parents asked for reimbursement; then they refused to pay. The court found that the school district would not listen to the parents or their experts, about the child’s need for ABA. This was predetermination and the courts ruled that the parents had the right to reimbursement for the private ABA program.In another predetermination case the court found that despite evidence that a child was making great progress at a private school, and continued to need the services that the private school offered, the school district only placed the child in the private school because they were working on a plan to transition him to a district based placement. They refused to listen to the parent or the parents experts, that the child needed to continue to attend the private school to receive FAPE. The court determined that this was predetermination; and the child was able to continue at the private school at public expense.It is my opinion that predetermination occurs when a school district makes unilateral decisions about a child’s education despite evidence to the contrary, and refuses meaningful parental input. Also when a take it or leave it IEP is presented to parents.How to overcome predetermination:1. Bring documentation of your child’s educational needs to the IEP meeting and share with special education personnel; schools must consider all information brought by parents.2. Parents must be meaningful participants in the IEP process. Relay the court rulings to special education personnel that if a parent is not allowed meaningful participation in the development of their child’s IEP, predetermination and denial of FAPE may be found.3. If special education personnel still refuse to allow you input or only give one option for services or placement, consider a state complaint for violation of IDEA.4. Have an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) performed on your child to determine what related and special education services your child needs. Make sure that the evaluator you pick is not only willing to test your child but to write a comprehensive and concise report that includes recommendations for needed related and special education services.Predetermination is harmful for children with disabilities because it denies children the services that they need to benefit from their education. Keep advocating-your child is worth it!

6 Steps to Successful Special Education Eligibility For Your Child! – Education Service

Are you concerned that your child may have Asperger’s Syndrome or be on the Autism Spectrum even though special education personnel in your school district say that they don’t? Is your child struggling academically even though school personnel say everything is fine? This article is for you! I will be discussing the 6 steps to special education eligibility, and how you can prepare for each step to increase your chances that your child will be found eligible!The federal law that covers special education is called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 or IDEA 2004; which all states must comply with.Step 1 is the Request for Evaluation. According to IDEA 2004 school districts must find, locate and evaluate all children with disabilities, under the Child Find section. You may submit a written request that your child receive a comprehensive psychological evaluation, to determine if they have a disability.You should include any information that supports your case that your child has a disability. Outside evaluations, medical reports, district and state wide standardized testing, teacher comments etc. Also in your request, mention all areas that you think your child may have a disability in because schools must test in all areas of suspected disability.Step 2 is the decision by the school district whether they are going to test your child; which is usually done at a meeting between parents and school personnel. You must stand up for your child at this meeting, and absolutely insist that your child be tested in all areas of suspected disability.Step 3 is the consent to evaluate. If the school agrees to evaluate your child you must sign a consent form for this testing. IDEA 2004 requires that parents give informed consent. What does this mean? This means that you understand what tests are going to be given and in what areas. You may withhold consent to test in one area, or to give a specific test if you do not agree.Ask that all evaluation reports be sent to you by mail at least 10 days prior to the eligibility meeting; so that you can be a full participant in the process.Step 4 is the actual evaluation. The school has 60 days in which to complete the evaluation. Most evaluations have interviews with one or both parents especially if a Vineland or an Autism Rating Scale is being given. Rating Scales should be filled out by parents because they know the child best; and this will increase the reliability of the Scale.Step 5 is the Eligibility Conference and the Individual Educational Plan Meeting. If at all possible bring another parent or an advocate who is familiar with special education.Ask lots of questions especially about terminology that you do not understand. Ask evaluators to fully explain their report, and especially any scores that are below grade level. If scores are below grade level evaluators should be able to tell you why? For example: A third grade student that reads at a first grade level may have undiagnosed learning disabilities. Any area that is below grade level means that a child may need related and or special education services in this area, in order to benefit from their education.If the child is found eligible then an Individual Educational Plan (IEP) must be developed for the child. All services needed should be included on the IEP, as well as minutes per week that the child will receive the service.Step 6 is Consent for special education Placement. IDEA 2004 requires that parents sign for initial related and special education services. Special education is not necessarily a special class, but can be services that your child needs for their education. Related services are things such as therapies, assistive technology, counseling, etc.While eligibility is not guaranteed, advocating for your child you will increase your chance of having your child found eligible for special education services!

5 Things Parents Should Know About Graduation and Special Education to Help Your Child – Education Service

Are you the parent of a child in high school receiving special education services? Are you concerned that your child with autism is not receiving appropriate transition services to be prepared for life after school? Would you like to have more information about graduation and special education? This article will give you 5 things that you will need to know as a parent as your child heads toward graduation.1. A child with a disability has the right to be educated from the age of 3 until their 22nd birthday. Check your child’s IEP if they are in high school and make sure that the graduation date listed is up until your child’s 22nd birthday not sooner.2. Special education personnel cannot graduate your child just because they have enough credits. The law requires that special education personnel keep other things in mind when determining a graduation date. My son Shaun’s school tried this trick on me and I did not bite, but successfully advocated against graduation, because he still needed services.3. The definition of special education is: individually based education that prepares a student for post school learning, employment, independent living and financial self sufficiency. If a child continues to need functional skills training, more academic learning, help in areas of skill deficits, transition services, job skills and training, and/or related services they are not ready to graduate.4. Many states have developed a certificate of completion instead of giving children a regular high school diploma. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that special education services end when a child receives a regular education diploma. Services do not end if the child receives a certificate of completion and still requires special education services to benefit from their education.5. 26 States in the USA have or are planning to have high stake exit exams. This may affect your child’s ability to attend post school learning. Due to litigation some states have offered waivers to children with disabilities. Check with your states department of education to determine if they have high stake exit exams.Many states do not have enough adult disability services for all of the people that need them. This is the reason that it is critical to have your child stay in school as long as they can. Use this information to help your child receive the transition services they need so that they will be prepared for post school learning, and independent living.

5 Lies About Special Education Transportation, and How You Can Overcome the Lies and Get Your Child – Education Service

Are you the parent of a child with autism or a physical disability, that receives special education services? Does your child need transportation services? Do you think that special education personnel are not being truthful about what the federal special education law (IDEA 2004) says about transportation? This article will be discussing 5 lies that are commonly told to parents about transportation. Also, discussion on how to overcome these lies to help your child receive needed, transportation services.Lie 1: We can keep your child on the bus for as long as we want. While IDEA 2004 does not address length of bus ride, long bus rides can be negatively affecting a child’s education (causing stress, negative behavior).The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) stated in a policy letter to anonymous (1993) that lengthy bus rides may be discriminatory, and may result in denial of FAPE. Why could a long bus ride be discriminatory? If children with disabilities are on the bus longer than children without disabilities, this could be considered discrimination.Lie 2: No one says that we have to provide transportation to your child, and we are not going to. Transportation is considered a related service and needs to be given to a child, if they need the service so that they can receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).Lie 3: The transportation director makes decisions about whether a child needs transportation not the IEP team. In a document from OSEP entitled Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Eligible for Transportation OSEP states “The IEP team is responsible for determining if transportation is required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education and related services… ” If your child needs transportation make sure that it is listed in your child’s IEP as a related service (if child not riding regular education bus).Lie 4: The state says that we can bring your child to school 15 minutes late every day, and take her out 15 minutes early due to transportation issues. Ask the school to show you in writing any documentation that proves that they have the right to do what they want to do. In the above example you could ask for “Please show me in writing where it states that our State Department of Education is allowing cutting short of education due to transportation issues!”
Actually the above OSEP document makes it clear that the school day for a child with a disability should not be longer or shorter than the school day for general education students. Since a child would receive less educational time this could also be a denial of FAPE.Lie 5: If you want your child to participate in extracurricular activities then you must provide transportation, we do not have to. Actually IDEA 2004 states that a child with a disability has a right to transportation for required after school activities as well as for extracurricular activities. Make sure that the extracurricular activity is listed on your child’s IEP, and also listed that they require transportation in order to participate in the activity.How do you overcome these transportation lies?1. Learn about transportation requirements in IDEA 2004 (which is the federal special education law). I use the book Special Education Law 2nd edition from Peter and Pam Wright, which is fantastic. This book as well as a lot more advocacy information for parents can be found at: http://www.wrightslaw.com.2. Call your states Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC) for help with advocating for transportation issues.3. Bring all of the above information to an IEP meeting to assist you in your advocacy.Good luck in your advocacy!

9 Steps to Parent Empowerment for Parents With Children in Special Education! – Education Service

Do you have a child with Autism that is receiving special education services? Would you like to learn how to be a better advocate for your child? This article will address 9 steps that you can take to empower yourself, to advocate for an appropriate education for your child!Step 1: Begin by asking a lot of questions when you speak to your child’s teacher. Sample of questions for your child’s teacher could be: “What curriculum are you using to teach my child to read? What do these standardized test scores mean? What type of positive behavioral supports do you use in the classroom” If your child’s teacher tells you something that you do not understand, ask her to explain it, and perhaps send you the explanation in writing.Step 2: Ask lots of questions when attending an IEP (Individual Educational Plan) meeting for your child. Sample of questions at an IEP meeting could be: “What does that word mean? What services will my child be receiving, and how many minutes will they be receiving the service? What standardized testing will you be conducting on my child, to see if she is making educational progress?” Always ask for explanations, when special education personnel start talking in terms that you do not understand, or talk about services you do not understand.Step 3: At IEP meetings give your input on how you think your child is doing in school, and on what related and special education services, you think your child needs! Parents know their child better than most school people do, so it may be easy for them to figure out what services the child needs, to benefit from their education. If you have trouble speaking up at meetings, put together a one page parent input statement, to bring to the meeting with you.Step 4: To help yourself feel more comfortable speaking up at a meeting; “role play” with other parents, what may happen at the meeting. This is a good way to get yourself prepared, to make good arguments for services that your child needs.Step 5: If you still have difficulty speaking up at meetings, bring another parent who has experience in the special education process.Step 6: If your child’s behavior interferes with their education or the education of others, insist on conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment, and have a Positive Behavioral Plan developed. You may need to fight for a qualified person to do these, but it will help your child as well as other children.Step 7: When you attend an IEP meeting, be sure and read the IEP before you leave. I realize meetings can be stressful, but it is critical that you take the time to read the IEP, and make sure that it is accurate.Step 8: Ask for any changes to the IEP, if the document does not reflect discussions held, or agreements made. If things are not written clearly it can be difficult to enforce what is written in the IEP.Step 9: You must realize that by standing up to school personnel you may anger some people! But what is more important, making someone upset or fighting for appropriate services for your child? In my opinion the child wins every time, because they need special education services in order to have a fulfilled adult life.By following these 9 steps you will be empowered to advocate for your child, and they will appreciate it!

4 Advocacy Tips to Empower You, When Special Educators Try to Use an Unapproved IEP! – Education Service

Are you the parent of a child with Autism receiving special education services from your school district? Have special educators in your district tried to change your child’s IEP services, without your approval? Are you frustrated and not sure whether it is even allowed and what to do about it? This article will give you information about why school districts cannot implement a child in special education’s IEP, without parental approval; and four advocacy tips to empower you as you overcome this roadblock!Several courts have ruled including the US Supreme Court; that school districts must seek a due process hearing if they want to implement an IEP, without a parent’s approval. For example: If your school district states that your child with Autism no longer needs special education services, and they are going to stop the services; they are required to file for a due process hearing. Unfortunately, you may have to be assertively persistent in your advocacy to make sure that school employees understand this.Advocacy Tips:1. If your school district develops an IEP at a meeting that you do not agree with; the next day send the school district a letter, explaining to them in detail why you disagree with the proposed IEP. Keep a copy for yourself, and hand deliver the letter to the school district.2. If your school does not file for a due process hearing (before implementation of the unapproved IEP), you may file for a due process hearing yourself, and ask for a “stay put” placement as well as services (from the last agreed upon IEP). You should also ask the hearing officer to change the burden of proof to the school district, since they refused to file, since most States place the burden on the party that files (only six states (CT, DE. NJ, NY, NV, and WV place the burden of proof always on the school district).3. If the school personnel do file due process so that they can implement an IEP that you do not agree with (or if you are ready to file to stop the school from implementing an unapproved IEP); make arrangements to take your child to a qualified evaluator for an independent educational evaluation (IEE). This will help you determine your child’s disabilities, or specifically what related and special education services your child needs. The evaluation report can be used at due process as your evidence that the schools proposed IEP will not provide your child an appropriate education.4. If your school district does try to implement an IEP that you do not believe will give your child an appropriate education, this may leave the school district vulnerable to be required to pay for a private placement or services. IDEA 2004 allows parents to seek private placement and services for lack of a free appropriate public education (FAPE); and then seek reimbursement. Finding a child ineligible for related and special education services has required many schools around the country, to bear the cost of the child’s private services and schooling.In the above example if educators states that your child with Autism is no longer eligible for special education services, you may be able to seek private services and/or placement, and then file due process for reimbursement of the private services cost.As a parent you need to assertively and persistently advocate for your child, so that he or she can be ready for post school learning and a productive adult life! Good luck!

Indian Education Series – Right to Education Act and Its Impact on K-12 Schools – Education Service

Education in India is treated as a service for public good and not as a commercial enterprise. In view of this object, the State Education Acts require only a non-profit entity to run a school with certain restrictions and regulations concerning its operations. Even if the schools are private un-aided schools, they are, to a certain extent, governed by the State Education Acts of the respective States where the schools are set up.For purposes of providing free and compulsory education and equal opportunity to all children of the ages of six to fourteen years, Indian Parliament has enacted the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 and Rules thereto (“RTE Act and Rules”). In terms of the RTE Act and Rules, every school, other than a school established, owned or controlled by the Central Government, appropriate government or the local authority, shall be established after obtaining a certificate of recognition from the Director of Education (“DEO”), by making an application/self declaration confirming compliance with the prescribed norms and standards and fulfillment of the following conditions:(i) the school shall be run by a society, or a public charitable trust;(ii) the school shall not be run for profit to any individual, group or association of any individuals or any other persons;(iii) the school shall conform to the values enshrined in the Constitution of India;(iv) the school buildings or other structures or the grounds shall be used only for the purposes of education and skill development;(v) the school shall be open to inspection by any officer authorized by the appropriate Government or the local authority; and(vi) the school shall furnish such reports and such information as may be required from time to time and shall comply with such instructions of the appropriate Government or the local authority, as may be issued to secure the continued fulfillment of the condition of recognition or the removal of deficiencies in working of the school.Subject to compliance with the above norms and verification by onsite inspection of the school premises, a certificate of recognition is issued by the DEO which is valid for three years from the date of issue. Any school that does not conform to the norms, standards and conditions stated above within a period of three years of commencement of the RTE Act and Rules will cease to function. Any person that establishes or runs a school without obtaining certification of recognition or continues to run a school after withdrawal of recognition would be liable to fine which may extend to Rs. 1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lac) and in case of continuing contravention, to a fine of Rs. 10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand) for each day during which such contravention continues.The RTE Act makes certain fundamental changes to the Indian education system and makes the recognition subject to fulfillment of the following conditions:(i) Education for All: Reservation: It is mandatory for every unaided school to admit in Class I or such pre-school class, as the case may be, to the extent of at least 25% of the strength of that class, children belonging to weaker section and disadvantaged group in the neighborhood and provide free and compulsory elementary education till its completion. The unaided school providing free and compulsory elementary education, as aforesaid, will be reimbursed expenditure so incurred by the school, to the extent of per-child-expenditure incurred by the State, or the actual amount charged from the child, whichever is less.(ii) Capitation Fee: While admitting a child, the trust/school is not permitted to collect any capitation fee and subject the child or his/her parents or guardian to any screening procedure. Any school or person receiving any capitation fee will be punishable with fine which may extend to ten times the capitation fee charged. Further, if any school or person subjects a child to screening procedure, it shall be punishable with fine which may extend to Rs. 25,000/- (Rupees Twenty Five Thousand) for the first contravention and Rs. 50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand) each for subsequent contraventions.(iii) Detention of Students: The school is obligated not to deny admission to any child for lack of proof of age and no child admitted will be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education. The child would not be required to pass any board examination till the completion of elementary education in a school and be subjected to physical punishment or mental harassment.(iv) Pupil-Teacher Ratio: Every school would need to maintain the pupil-teacher ratio stipulated under the RTE Act and Rules. Additionally, the RTE Act and Rules also prescribe certain norms and standards pertaining to number of teachers; school building requirements; minimum number of working days/instructional hours in an academic year; minimum number of working hours per week for the teachers; teaching learning equipment library requirements; and play material, games and sports equipment, to be complied by the school for continued recognition of the school.Failure to comply with the prescribed norms and standards can result in withdrawal of recognition granted to such school.The primary focus of the Government of India for enacting RTE Act and Rules is to make good elementary education available to each and every child irrespective of his/her socio-economic background and private un-aided schools are being made to play an active role under the public-private participation in achieving this objective.Seema Jhingan

Power of Childbirth Choices – Education and Information – Education Service

Childbirth professionals, birthing networks, birth professionals, natural childbirth advocates…are all names used to describe the growing community actively advocating for childbirth as a normal healthy part of a woman’s life cycle. Through the use of childbirth education, this community’s life goal is to empower women to make informed choices around their pregnancy and delivery options using evidence-based research as the foundation.As a member of this growing community, I am often caught between what I view as two worlds. My reality, in which I am childbirth professional certified in childbirth education, perinatal fitness, and a breastfeeding peer counselor trainer. Then there is the other real world, where my work in a community-based agency allows me to witness the politics of being pregnant and giving birth in the “inner city.”I listen to my professional daytime colleagues express opinions indicating that what we birth advocates do is ‘cute’, but distracting to the bigger picture, their picture. They ask if our services are free, as if we shouldn’t dare dream of earning a living this way. They even sometimes dismiss our credentials with statements such as, Yes, what you do is nice, but clients prefer to have someone qualified with them.”, when they talk about providing quality education.To be fair let’s examine the flip side of the coin. The same people who I treasure for their insightfulness and dedication to mothers and their families can sometimes be overwhelming with their crusade. Exaggerations are made about obstetricians and the quality of hospital births and bashing sometimes becomes part of the circle of sharing.What is childbirth education and why is it important?The definition of childbirth education can be as varied as there are education modalities. Although definitions can vary among educators and or certification institutions… it can be simply defined as follows:Childbirth Education Classes prepare a woman for the experience of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Through the use of a series of classes a woman is educated on the anatomy, physiological changes, nutrition, risks and benefits of medical interventions, pain coping strategies, cesarean risk reduction, and breastfeeding. Some educators are also taught to encourage women to recognize and use their innate abilities and intuition to birth.Did you know the Healthy People 2010 update section 16:7 directly addresses childbirth education? The Healthy People 2010, a set of health objectives designed to guide health professionals in achieving improved health results for Americans over the first decade of the new century, speaks to the importance of improving maternal, infant and child health in this quote:Section 16:7As part of comprehensive prenatal care, a formal series of prepared childbirth classes conducted by a certified childbirth educator is recommended for all women by the Expert Panel on the Content of Prenatal Care.[49] These classes can help reduce women’s pain [50] and anxiety [51] as they approach childbirth, making delivery a more pleasant experience and preparing women for what they will face as they give birth. A full series of sessions is recommended for women who have never attended. A refresher series of one or two classes is recommended for women who attended during a previous pregnancy. At a minimum, the childbirth classes should include information regarding the physiology of labor and birth, exercises and self-help techniques for labor, the role of support persons, family roles and adjustments, and preferences for care during labor and birth. The classes also should include an opportunity for the mother and her partner to have questions answered about providers, prenatal care, and other relevant issues, as well as to receive information regarding birth settings and cesarean childbirth. Attendance is recommended during the third trimester of pregnancy so that information learned will be used relatively soon after presentation. Classes should begin at the 31st or 32nd week and be completed no later than 38 weeks. The refresher class should be completed at any time between 36 and 38 weeks.This recommendation is important and should be highlighted by all advocates and prenatal care providers. It validates the need for childbirth education as a routine part of comprehensive women’s prenatal healthcare. Independent childbirth educators are an excellent choice for women who want to receive unbiased information not driven by hospital policy and procedures. For those educators whose work does come under the parameters of organizations’ policy and procedures, they must remember their main function is to work for the betterment of their client “the expectant mother”. In evaluating the quality of childbirth education classes, the curriculum should be consumer focused and the materials and information presented should be honest and forthcoming in presenting the risks vs. benefits based on evidence-based research.What is the bottom line?We live in a fast paced society, particularly here in the New York metropolitan region. As a result, many consumers are requesting shorter classes and fewer sessions. It is our responsibility as birthing advocates to give them quality services, and if this means an increase in the quantity of time we devote to instruction then that’s a responsibility we need to meet. Many online classes and weekend intensives are now replacing traditional 6 week plus classes. This new trend is essentially depriving women of the support that is traditionally found in longer face-to-face settings. Although the Healthy People 2010 statement does not specifically spell out what a full series of classes consists of, one can intelligently conclude that based on the amount of recommended information to be covered a realistic time allotment is needed for the human mind to receive, accept and digest.As childbirth professionals we need to continually refer back to the evidence-based literature around childbirth which includes research findings which can be found online (at sites such as Childbirth Connection (formerly the Maternity Center), the Coalition to
Improve Maternity Services and the World Health Organization (WHO) to name a few).
The Expert Panel on the Content of Prenatal Care has officially validated the value of childbirth education classes essentially confirming what we know anecdotally. It is now our responsibility to know what that truth is and speak it boldly to our clients. The truth about pregnancy is that childbirth education classes should be a routine part of every woman’s comprehensive prenatal care. Recognizing that every pregnancy and birth is unique, for the woman who has delivered before a refresher course would update her on her options and also allow her and her support person to ask related questions. These two scenarios are examples of knowledge as power because they create an opportunity for the mother to be educated and as a result make decisions that are best for her and her baby.This article is a product of Just Us Women Productions.

Online Education – A Step to Improving User Support Services – Education Service

Developing a world-class online education program requires more than just a good delivery system. All too frequently, newcomers to online education consider only the technical aspects of what they need to offer such courses. They neglect the human infrastructure necessary to maintain and support online programs.For example, a recent survey conducted by the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications found that nearly 40 percent of institutions that offered distance learning via technology reported they relied on faculty to provide technical support to students. This is definitely not advisable, and obviously a poor use of faculty resources.Ideally, within the online environment, a student’s time is spent learning and faculty time is spent developing instruction and teaching courses. Both groups should have convenient access to support services. However, even with the easiest-to-use interfaces, users will continue to experience both technological and human barriers – knowledge and skills, for example that require ongoing attention, especially as the functionality of online education delivery systems continues to increase at such a rapid rate.Additionally, even with online materials that address common questions, a percentage of users will bypass this avenue and opt for a human response to questions, either by phone or by e-mail. There also are instances where users have more sophisticated questions that simply cannot be answered by a standard set of FAQ’s. As a result, “real life” user support services are part and parcel of any effective online education strategy.Moreover, the flexibility and convenience of online learning, teaching and learning independent of place and time has given rise to increased expectations about user support services. Users are expecting support to be available during the times they are teaching or learning, which is now 24 hours a day and seven days a week. As such, the quality of user support services in online education is far more complex than simply answering user questions.Borrowing from the service quality literature of Schneider & Bowen’s 1995 “Winning the Service Game,” the quality of user support can be viewed within the following four general categories:Reliability: How dependable and accurate are the support services provided?Responsiveness: How convenient, available and prompt are the support services?Assurance: How knowledgeable and professional are support staff?Empathy: How well do support staff understand the needs of users?Real Education has made it a point to develop a service climate that is sensitive to users’ expectations in these four service areas. For example, these aspects of service quality have been integrated into the performance management systems used for user support staff in our organization. In addition, both students and faculty can access professional support personnel 24 hours a day.Users have Web, e-mail and telephone options to receive support. We also offer face-to-face workshops for both students and instructors. Ultimately, however, it is up to the users to let us know the quality of our support services. As such, we ask users how well we are doing. We regularly gather feedback from users to see how well the services stack up to expectations through a service quality research plan. The results of this research then fuel our ongoing service improvement.If this sounds like a lot of work and resources, you are right. So, how can an institution cost effectively provide high-quality support services to faculty and students?Quite honestly, institutions will be hard pressed to provide on-campus cost-effective alternatives to what an outsourced partner can provide. That is why we are seeing more and more of these partnerships formed. In general, maintaining a highly skilled user support infrastructure both technological and human is expensive. However, this expense can be lessened by outsourcing to an organization that can defray the costs over a larger client base.Outsourced organizations also can better “afford” to have a constant supply of full-time trained staff always available to faculty and students, whereas it may be difficult for an institution to maintain the same staffing given the peaks and valleys in demand. Work is usually on a project basis and not constant; demand levels may vary with turnover in faculty and academic terms.Making service quality a part of how user support is provided can benefit institutions, organizations, students and instructors. Whether an institution can develop the human infrastructure necessary to maintain and support online programs, or it decides to outsource this component, quality user support services should be part of an institution’s overall online education plan.

Get Sound Financial Advice With Consumer Credit Counseling Services – Education Service

Are you unable to pay your bills on time or pay the minimum payment required on your credit cards? Are you tired of receiving endless calls and letters from creditors and collection agencies? If you said yes to these questions, then you should consider getting professional financial help.For others, the idea of seeking professional financial advice may seem unnecessary as they believe that handling one’s finances is quite an easy task as long as you keep your expenditures less than your take home pay a month. However, this line of reasoning may prove to be too simplistic and not the best way to approach personal financial management. The truth of the matter is that even those who earn far more than what they are spending could end up neck-deep in debts and penalty and interest payments just because they have been careless with the way they have been handling their finances. With consumer credit counseling services, you will be able to identify and prioritize what must be done so that you will not anymore suffer the same problems.Companies that provide credit counseling services are ones that, for a fee, will help those who are suffering from multiple debts and can no longer continue managing these individually. They will provide, among others, services such as personal financial counseling, debt management services (as in the case of a non-profit debt consolidation program), and financial education services. Chances are, you might be very busy holding down your job- and family-related responsibilities that you can no longer manage your finances well. At the same time, most people become confused and frustrated dealing with numbers and figures, resulting in inability to make payments on time, penalties and compounded interest charges. These are the kinds of extra expenses that you can actually eliminate once you figure out how to control your debt payments. By getting consumer credit counseling services, you will be receiving expert financial advice regarding debt management and options that you can take to alleviate your debt-related problems.One example of an option you can take is the non-profit debt consolidation program, in which the company will collect all your individual debts, contact the companies from which you owe these, and then pay off these debts. The company will then consolidate these debts into one loan so that you can start on a clean slate and only have to do business with just that company. This option makes debt payment very simple and less complicated. However, the term “non-profit” does not entail that the service will be free, it just means that it is a special company whose services are somewhat subsidized by as consumer donations from other companies such as business organizations. In any case, debt consolidation is one effective option to take if you have fallen behind on your debts.Apart from providing such a package, companies offering consumer credit counseling services may also help increase your all-important credit rating because it will allow you to eventually pay off all your existing debts through the debt consolidation loan. By availing of such a loan, along with a sound financial management program provided by the company’s team of experts, you will also avoid having to file for bankruptcy which is a huge red flag on your credit report, forever tarnishing your reputation and ability to secure more loans in the future.