RTI & MTSS Comments 2.17

By Emerson Dickman

RTI and MTSS comments 1-22-17

RTI, MTSS, and the like are so logical in theory that they are impossible to meaningfully debate.  Implementation and scaling of even the most logical and inarguable concept is sometimes incredibly difficult because of the assumptions upon which the concept is based.  In this case it appears to be the depth and breadth of teacher knowledge, the availability of time and staff to move a child from tier to tier, the willingness to monitor and adjust intervention, and the dedication to use these concepts for the purpose intended rather than to lower classification counts and delay services to children in need.  In the hands of the right person, I will always be a devoted supporter of RTI.  However, these simple inarguable concepts are too often in the hands of those without the necessary depth of knowledge or with agendas inconsistent with the conceptual goals of the theory.

Many popular novels and movies have at their base an innovation that was meant for good that was usurped by an unscrupulous villain to enslave humankind.  RTI or other MTSS programs won’t work if they are used to accomplish tasks for which they were not intended.  “Implementation fidelity” is the key.  Is it possible to scale such fidelity?  The problem is not the seed, but the soil in which the seed is planted.

Comments regarding RTI to Spedpro 2-10-17

Any tool in the wrong hands fails in its purpose.  Any more than a hammer is intended to drive in a screw, RtI is not intended to reduce the size of the special education population.  Even if everyone did better because RtI was properly implemented by informed educators, without hidden political and economic agendas, the cut point would float to identify those in need of special education.  Any decrease in referrals would be temporary.  It is not the cobbler's last but the cobbler that makes a bad shoe.