What is an IEE?
It is important for parents to understand that “Independent Educational Evaluation” is a term that was created by educators, and is not one used in the “real world” by neuropsychologists and other doctors. It has no meaning outside of the insular world of special education.
Licensed clinical psychologists and clinical neuropsychologists conduct psychological and neuropsychological assessments (such assessments usually also include the evaluation of academic achievement/educational functioning).
The reason that the term “IEE” is used in special education is because the majority of licensed educational “psychologists” and school “psychologists” are educators, not psychologists. Thus, they have to be careful about calling what they do “psychological” because in some states it is illegal for anyone to use this term unless they are licensed as a bonafide psychologist.
By definition, an IEE is a 3rd-party payor evaluation whereby a school district or SELPA is the payor. Therefore, the school district/SELPA becomes the client (even though parents are rarely informed of this). What has evolved from this incestuous situation is a “revolving door” between the school district/SELPA and the educational psychometrists who earn their living mainly from doing IEE testing in alleged “private practice.”
These licensed educational “psychologists” (who are not actually psychologists but are basically school “psychologists” — that is, they are, at at most, psychometrists), are “cherry-picked” by the school district. Consequently, parents end up with “testing” that is near-identical to that which they found lacking from their school district. Thus, the useless, taxpayer-paid circle is complete.
Because they are being paid (reinforced) to make the process unsavory — while the rest of us are expected to engage in it gratis — the vicious cycle of special ed corruption will continue unabated unless concerned parents complain to their state representatives about these issues. The ever-growing and massively-overpaid maze of “special ed administrators” have forgotten who pays them and whom they are supposed to serve (not only parents and children — but all taxpayers).
Further, it is almost impossible for a parent to navigate through this corrupt maze without an attorney (one reason for this is that some of what many sped administrators are doing re IEEs is illegal). To add insult to injury, the parent/taxpayer pays out-of-pocket for an attorney, while educrats take the money for “their” attorneys out of taxpayers’ pockets.
Some special ed administrators (and even whole districts) are nice people, of course, but too few unfortunately. Ultimately, “biting the hand that feeds” by treating taxpayers as enemies will not end well for special ed. In the meantime, however, innocent children continue to suffer the consequences.
Can you perform an independent educational evaluation? Why might I need a private assessment?
My qualifications meet and far exceed those of district school “psychologists.”
The sources of confusion around an educational evaluation are myriad. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Although your school’s assessment may be sufficient in some cases, in many cases it is not. Why? It is rare to find a licensed psychologist working in the educational system and therefore, your child will most likely merely be “tested” by special educators. However, unless you ask for a neuropsychological evaluation, what you get in an “IEE” is basically “more of the same.”
Qualification (or not) for special education does not constitute a diagnosis.
A huge source of confusion is the fact that the categories of disability in special education and the criteria used to identity those categories often bear little resemblance to the criteria that doctors use (e.g. DSM-V; Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, which contains the diagnostic criteria for all accepted mental disorders, including those that may qualify for special education) to diagnose. Most licensed psychologists, pediatricians, and other doctors have little understanding of special education categories, while school personnel have little understanding of clinical diagnoses.
See also “Choosing a Provider“
I have experience working within the special education system at the state, county, and district level, and am available for consultation and advocacy work with parents, and for independent assessments. I am an expert in both the psychiatric diagnoses of childhood disorders, as well as the educational classifications of these diagnoses. However, I rarely take cases whereby the school district is my client because IEEs are just a re-hash of what the school psychometrist already did and thus provide no information on the neuropsychological underpinnings of the problem.
Can you perform an independent educational evaluation for my child?
I can, but I don’t. This kind of mindless “testing” is not professionally satisfying for me, since it does not even come close to uncovering possible information processing problems. I believe that it is wrong to “dumb myself down” by merely providing a repeat of what the school psychometrist did. However, I cannot provide a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment for the cost of drive-by testing (AKA “IEE”).
Ultimately, you get what you pay for in the private sector, but as taxpayers we do not. Instead, we get subpar results even while providing the SPED system with billions of dollars. If you want “more of the same,” go ahead and get a taxpayer-paid “IEE.” If you want to act as a responsible parent, pay for your child’s comprehensive evaluation by a doctor.