Sunday, August 22, 2010

Talk on Gifted Education and Black Youth

Here is info on a talk mentioned by LEV (I'm correcting this because they are not sponsoring it):

This Tuesday, the 24th at Highline Community College and LEV calls it:

Public Presentation on Gifted Education

but Highline calls it

Black Youth and Gifted/Accelerated Education

The speaker is Dr. Mary Ruth Coleman of the University of North Carolina and the moderator is Dr. Stephanie Wood-Garnett of UW.

Here's a link with info at the Washington State Commission on African-American Affairs.

There's a free dinner at 6 p.m. and an extended Q&A but seating is limited. They want you to register for this talk.

Dr. Coleman gave a presentation to OSPI's Highly Capable Technical Working Group which is working on recommendations about gifted education in Washington state. There's some interesting reading at this link.

What I find odd is that LEV makes it sound like this is about general gifted education and the Highline link makes it sound like it's more about outreach to minority families and gifted education. LEV also says it's about "how a child is selected to enroll in a gifted program" which is puzzling because that varies from district to district, state to state.

It's probably an interesting talk but I wouldn't go looking for specifics on how SPS serves highly capable students.

37 comments:

Megan Mc said...

hmmm, I left a comment at the LEV blog announcing the new speakers series a couple of days ago and they have not posted it on the blog yet. I see the other threads have new comments by Charlie, Melissa and Seattle Citizen. I wonder if the individual contributors moderate their own threads.

All i did was say I was excited for the speakers series and look forward to seeing a diverse offering of perspectives:
Diane Rativich
Susan Ohanian
Diana Senechal
Jerry Mintz

seattle citizen said...

Megan, I wish they could put some of the speakers on your list TOGETHER with some of the speakers on theirs...THAT would be a panel discussion. The three (plus the ex-NBA mayor of Sacramento) they have listed are going to spend two hours congratulating each other and advertising their product(s)

dan dempsey said...

Ah yes a vendor trade show from LEV with only approved vendors allowed.

gavroche said...

from LEV's site:

Announcing the Voices from the Education Revolution Speakers Series

(...)
First up: Former NBA star and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 7pm at Mount Zion Baptist Church. RSVP today!


Oh dear. Not Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, who has been accused of molesting (and apparently paid off) minors; whose fiancee, DC Schools Chancellor Michelle "Machete" Rhee, defends him, then turns around and fires hundreds of DC teachers, accusing some of them of molesting minors? (She had to retract most of her claim.)
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/26/AR2010012601351.html)

Johnson, whose association with nonprofits Americorps/St. HOPE is under investigation for misuse of federal funding?

http://www.sacbee.com/2009/11/21/2339288/gop-report-accuser-says-mayor.html?pageNum=2&mi_pluck_action=page_nav#Comments_Container

What part of the "revolution" is this? The part when the Jacobins take over and start guillotining everyone else?

Uh, no thanks.

seattle citizen said...

The LEV speaker Kevin Johnson is the fiancee of Michelle Rhee?!

omg. So we've got all the reform players coming to town. Sounds like they should have some company from alternative voices. Where and when is this event again? Are there sidewalks in front?

Melissa Westbrook said...

What's interesting is the police chief from Sacramento who came to interview was really high on working with schools and seems to have a good working relationship with the Mayor.

Seattle-Ed2010 said...

THIS JUST IN! --

Corporatists, charter franchise heads & the "teacher quality" Inquisition are coming to town!
(PLUS, Special Guest Michelle Rhee's fiance!)


Courtesy of LEV (League of Education Voters--FUNDED BY THE GATES FOUNDATION) an onslaught of ed reform profiteers are coming to "speak" as part of LEV's imaginary "revolution."

"Voices from the Education Revolution Speakers Series"

featuring:

Richard Barth, CEO – KIPP Foundation (and the BROAD FOUNDATION; FUNDED BY THE GATES FOUNDATION)
Timothy Daly, President – The New Teacher Project (FUNDED BY THE GATES FOUNDATION)
Steve Barr, Founder & Emeritus Chair – Green Dot Public Schools (FUNDED BY THE GATES FOUNDATION)
Moderated by Don Shalvey (Ed Director of the GATES FOUNDATION, former CEO and founder of ASPIRE CHARTER SCHOOLS, Board member of GREEN DOT -- ALL FUNDED BY THE GATES FOUNDATION)

Also coming to town, Kevin Johnson, Sacramento mayor and fiance of Michelle Rhee, Broad Foundation board member & chancellor of Washington DC School District (FUNDED BY THE GATES FOUNDATION).

http://www.educationvoters.org/revolution/speakers

And coming soon -- a new motto for SPS:

Seattle Public Schools -- bought from you by THE BILL & MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION!

(in partnership with the Broad Foundation -- because all these billionaires can't be wrong!)

Sorry. Couldn't resist.
--s.p.

Sahila said...

OH, and did you know the DOE, which recently gave $40Million to Teach for America, is now saturated with Gates and Broad people?
http://www.broadresidency.org/news/newsletters/1q2010/index.html#3

http://www.schoolsmatter.info/2010/07/what-shelton-waiver-tells-us-about.html

http://gateskeepers.civiblog.org/blog/_archives/2010/1/8/4423333.html

Sahila said...

How many teachers know that Bill Gates paid for the AFT conference held in Seattle recently, thus buying himself a guest speaking slot?

The same Bill Gates who wants them all to be paid depending on their class' test scores, the same Bill Gates who wants charter schools here, there and everywhere, the same Bill Gates who wants to open teaching to untrained, unemployed recent college grads (less than 50% of whom last the distance)etc, etc....

$127,000 from the Gates Foundation to the AFT for 'conference support':
http://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/did-bill-gates-buy-the-podium-at-the-american-federation-of-teachers-convention-in-seattle/...something stinks in the land of the teachers' union... who will call the leadership on it??????

Trish Dziko said...

Well, since nobody else is commenting on the actual topic of "Talk on Gifted Education and Black Youth", I guess I'll have a swing at it.

When you look at state test scores for Black youth, there are more represented in the "meets and exceeds" expectations than are represented in gifted or AP classrooms.

Since in Seattle, you have to be recommended by your teacher, it's very clear to me why this is the case in Seattle. Now I know that as a parent you can ask for your kid to be tested, but if you don't know that, then you won't.

There are some districts that test students automatically if for instance they are new to the district or they're matriculating to middle or high school so they can be placed correctly.

Federal Way took a huge step in basically assigning students who met or exceeded the state test (I think it's only in Math, but it could be in all subjects) to AP classes and forcing them to opt-out instead of opting in.

There is also the obvious social stigma of being the only or one of a very few students in those classes and having to be the representative of your whole race or being treated differently by the teacher because they have their own issues with race and class. I was one of those kids so I know how it feels which is exactly why I didn't let my son be one of those kids when he tested in the 98 percentile on the test--which by the way we had to ask for.

Finally, I think there's more to this issue and it has deep roots in racism that are hard to shake in a generation or two.

agibean said...

Thank you Trish. As the parent of a biracial gifted child who spent the last two years in APP as the only black child in her classroom and heard more than her share of racially charged comments, I will be attending the talk tomorrow.

BTW, our daughter was NEVER recommended by a teacher, we had to go to them. We know of several families like ours whose black/biracial children qualified for APP but chose not to send them into that particular hotbox.

When the proposed APP split came up a couple of years ago, we heard a lot of "Look at the audit, look at the audit", by way of "proving" that two populations (haves/have nots, gifted/non-gifted, black/primariy caucasian) should not be mised. But no one said, "Look at the audit" in reference to the continued issues of racism in the program itself.

From what I have heard of other like parents in other parts of the country, the gifted/black issues in Seattle are not unique, except that maybe "Seattle Nice" tries make it invisible.

Maureen said...

Trish and agibean: do we have any information on what percentage of tested kids were recommended by teachers vs. parents? My kids weren't recommmended by teachers. I got a letter from SPS recommending we test my older kid based on his WASL scores and then decided to test my younger because I thought she was as bright or brighter than her brother even though her teacher sort of laughed when I asked her to fill out the form. (we're white by the way)

I have heard that some schools discourage testing because they don't want to lose their brightest kids. At my kid's school there doesn't seem to be any thought put into it at all. It only gets advertised if the parent who writes the newsletter knows about it and remembers to mention it.

I also wonder how Rainier Scholars works. Our school had a couple of them for a few years in a row but none recently. I don't know if something has changed about how they are nominated?

Trish Dziko said...

Agibean, I won't be at the talk tomorrow, but look forward to hearing reports. I just hope it's open, honest and valuable with serious actions that will actually get carried out.

Maureen, I'm not sure what data is available concerning the number of kids that are recommended to be tested. I just think all kids should get tested and not rely on the teacher or knowledgible parents to make that determination.

On Vashon--where we are now--all new kids entering the district and all kids matriculating into middle school and high school get tested.

Trish Dziko said...

Oh and Rainier Scholars caps at 60 new students per year. While I am extremely grateful they are here, I often get mad that they have to be.

seattle citizen said...

Trish, could you explain what you mean here:

"When you look at state test scores for Black youth, there are more represented in the "meets and exceeds" expectations than are represented in gifted or AP classrooms.

Since in Seattle, you have to be recommended by your teacher, it's very clear to me why this is the case in Seattle."

Trish Dziko said...

@Seattle Citizen: I mean that when teachers decide who should be tested and most of those teachers can't relate to the background of the students or just don't have a clue regardless, then you end up with low enrollment of Black students. I'm sure that's probably true for Latino students, but I'm more familiar with the Black experience.

I don't think anyone believes that one or two Black kids per AP or Spectrum or APP class is a reflection of the abilities of Black students. At least I hope not.

Sahila said...

Is there a reason, I wonder, why this is being held in Highline, instead of within Seattle city limits???

seattle citizen said...

Trish, you say "since in Seattle..." Are you suggesting this problem is more pronounced in Seattle than other places? That is what I was wondering about.

You write that "most of those teachers can't relate to the background of the students or just don't have a clue regardless"

I find that very disrespectful of all the teachers who go out of their way to learn about the unique backgrounds of each of their students (and really, how much CAN teachers know about the "backgrounds" of their students? Are they supposed to make assumptions based on whether the student claims F/RL? If the student marks "European" on the form when entering SPS is a teacher supposed to make assumptions about that, or are they to assign an assignment asking the students what their background is? Maybe they are supposed to have deep and meaningful understanding of Hinduism, Inuit culture in history and currently, the adolescent experiences of transgendered youth?

I don't mean to be facetious, but what, exactly, do you mean when you say teachers don't have clue or can't relate to these "backgrounds"? Are you saying most teachers didn't have some similar experiences as their students?

Please tell me what background(s) teachers should have about each of their students, and how they should acquire that knowledge about each of their students. America is a huge smorgasborg of people, all mixing it up....What is MY background? I'm a product of many cultures, which ones should the teacher know about?

Melissa Westbrook said...

"Since in Seattle, you have to be recommended by your teacher, it's very clear to me why this is the case in Seattle. Now I know that as a parent you can ask for your kid to be tested, but if you don't know that, then you won't."

Trish, you kind of contradict yourself here.

You DO NOT have to be recommended by your teacher to be tested. Let's make that clear.

You don't have to "ask" for your child to be tested but you do have to apply.

I would agree that many parents don't know this AND that schools don't tell them. I do know that the Advanced Learning office has gone out of its way to let parents know about the program (and yes, now parents whose children test high in the WASL get a letter).

However, we have a problem that probably has grown since the inception of the WASL. And that is schools that do not have either Spectrum or Advanced Learning and do NOT want to lose their top learners. (They have good reasons for that but at the end of the day, it should be a parent's choice, not a school choice.) So, we have schools that do not publicize the program or announce the test.

What might be helpful is if the PTAs pitched in and let parents know about testing right from the beginning. (Of course, this begs the question of schools who do not have a PTA.)

I also agree there may be teachers who don't reach out to parents.

But please don't say teacher recommendation is the only way to get into advanced learning.

wseadawg said...

Well, I won't play Seattle nice.

Trish: Your comments are ill-informed and offensive. You demean both the problem and yourself by insinuating racism, front and center, to the exclusion of many factors leading to the problem.

But if that's it, and racist teachers are the problem, then lets simply find and fire all the racist teachers and everything will be hunky-dory in advanced learning then, right?

I didn't realize the solution was so simple.

Trish Dziko said...

@Wseadawg: If there's anything this blog is not is "Seattle Nice", so I appreciate your consistency.

I'm not sure where you got that I said teachers are racist. What I said was "Finally, I think there's more to this issue and it has deep roots in racism that are hard to shake in a generation or two.".

There is a fine point here that you clearly missed. You can have racist, sexist and classist tendencies and not be to the core any of those things. That is what I think is happening here because for the most part (and I'm generalizing here) we are shaped by society and our society was built on racism, sexism and classism so it's hard to shake.

For example, a decade or so ago when folks were worried about girls not being heard in the classroom, there were many studies that demonstrated that even the most feminist of female teachers called on the boys more. Those were sexist behaviors that were clearly unconcious to the teachers involved.

If you look at the disciplinary records in schools (not just Seattle) you will see that Black boys are disproportiately sent to the office or suspended for the same things White boys get a slap on the wrist for. Racist tendecies--sometimes unconcious, sometimes not.

People in this country (in general) are conditioned to react to folks based on their perceived socio economic background and obviously their skin color. Teachers are no different.


Come with me to a department store and you (if you're white) can steal away because I'm the one who will be followed. My mother-in-law experienced that little lesson when we went shopping in Portland.

Tell my son people don't have racist tendencies each time he's asked if he's going to be an NBA player when he grows up. Is that all they think a Black child can aspire to?

I've said this many times. In Seattle we have the illusion of inclusion. That's where "Seattle Nice" comes in an it's killing our kids.

Trish Dziko said...

@Melissa: Thanks for clarifying that teachers don't have to recommend students to be tested.

One thing I wish were true is your kids wouldn't have to change schools if they tested into one of the advanced programs.

seattle citizen said...

Trish, please list the potential elements that comprise the "background" of a student.

Or did you mean that "most teachers" can't relate or don't have a clue about the background of Black children?

If so, please list the potential elements that comprise the "background" of those students who have been identified as "Black" by the checkmarks on the registration forms.

ALL the potential elements that coulod comprise the "background" of a child: generational countries of origin; generational wealth and/or poverty; generational belief in, and use of, education (and to what degree for each member of the preceding generations);
Capital accumulation;
Current "circumstances"

It sounds to me like you want teachers to be social workers and climb into the heads of the students to help them. Many do, many get trained in various cultural traits, etc, but this training is to broaden teaching, not to train the teacher to presume to know about the "background" of each and every incredibly unique student.

Some would argue (not me; I think such training is generous and an attempt by educators to offer multiple access points to the curriculum) but some would argue that teachers should just teach. Should teachers spend half the class period modifying instruction and taking time out to address EACH individual child's "background"? Or should children from various and sundry backgrounds be expected to come to class prepared to learn the materials and lessons put before them?

I suggest it's a mix: Teachers DO want to address specific needs, "background" or otherwise, and to do this helps show ALL students that the teacher is trying to address a broad audience, and not just spouting information from THEIR background. But this is generalized, it's using a variety of cultural aspects to design curriculum. Where it is is individualized, that is where it becomes social work. Nothing wrong with that, of course, and many teachers do it: address the hunder they see, address attitudes and different ways of knowing....usually through one-on-one interaction with the student, not in daily instruction but in personal interaction.

Should a teacher do this with every student? Sure, if you pay teachers to go to school to learn EVERY potential aspect of "background," if you pay teachers for twelve hour days to do home visits, tutoring, counseling etc.

But otherswise, it's necessarily scattershot, as a teacher CAN'T know the "backgrounds" of EACH student, and can merely fold in some generalities into instruction. Some would argue that this itself is disrespectful and perpetuates racist patterns....should a teacher presume to know the background of a child because a box was checked?

Why ARE those boxes checked, incidentally? Doesn't that perpetuate a sort of segregation? "I'm...'Black'?"..."You're....'European'?"...."That boy over there is...'Native American'?"

Aren't we all incredible complex humans with very intricate backgrounds? Why are we still having to call ourselves this race or that race?

Trish Dziko said...

@Seattle Citizen: What I've learned from your posts on this blog is that any negative comment about teachers translates into disrespect for teachers, so I'm not going to argue with you on that point because well, it's pointless.

I specifically mentioned Seattle because this blog only covers Seattle. Clearly there is a state wide issue when OSPI has to put together a task force.

When I said "or just don't have a clue regardless" I literally mean regardless of race, class, etc. and more to the fact they are clueless in terms of how to do their jobs.

For example, my son had an experienced (over 10 years) teacher in first grade who had no clue where her students performed in any subject. Three months into school my son came home crying because he was sick of writing the number 1-100 on a piece of paper for homework. She didn't know my son tested at 3rd grade math until we told her. Nevermind the test was taken on her watch and the data was available to her. We talked to her about and asked to have him take math in the 2nd grade classroom since she couldn't (or wouldn't) accomodate him in her class. Her response "what will he do when he gets to 2nd grade if he does all the material this year?" That my friend is clueless. That's a teacher who has no business in the classroom.

In terms of teachers understanding backgrounds... please read my post in response to wseadawg.

I want you to know I am sharing my experience here on many levels: direct experience, through my children, through my students at TAF and through conversations with parents. Please respect that because it is my experience not assumptions.

Trish Dziko said...

@Seattle Citizen: I have learned from reading your posts that anything that is remotely negative towards teachers translates into "disrespectful" so there's no point arguing with you on this because well, it's pointless.

I specifically mentioned Seattle because this blog only covers Seattle. Clearly there's a problem around the state since OSPI has put together a task force.

You can slice and dice "background" however you want and you can have this circular argument with anyone else on this blog who wants to engage in it with you. I don't care to.

I'm sharing from my personal experience, the experience of my children, the experience of many of the TAF students and the stories of many Black parents who are very frustrated right now. If that doesn't work for you, well...

seattle citizen said...

Trish, what do you mean by "Black"?

And how would you suggest a teacher tease out your background, or the background of your children?

Or you can bail out on the conversation because you don't care to answer. I find that to be the easy way out, and an avoidance of the discussion, but it's up to you.

I ask again, what do you mean by "Black"? What might we mean by "Yellow"? By "Red"? By "White"?

Can you describe the "many Black parents"? Please give us their many and varied backgrounds, so teachers can relate. Or are they just "Black"?

Melissa Westbrook said...

Well, all schools are supposed to have something to support their advanced learners. For each school that called an ALO (advanced learning opportunity). That all schools don't have them and/or don't tell parents about them, well, that's on the district to follow-thru and make sure they exist.

Spectrum is in every enrollment area and we now have two APP sites for both elementary and middle school. This is not so different from other districts.

seattle citizen said...

Trish, I think your comment about teachers not knowing, or being able to "relate" to students was meant to say that teachers didn't know, or relate to, the backgrounds of Black students. My comments are directed at my understanding that this is what you meant, and that is why I ask what you mean.

Are teachers supposed to presume to know something about a child because of the color of their skin?

Trish Dziko said...

Seattle Citizen, I am not taking your bait Or you can bail out on the conversation because you don't care to answer. I find that to be the easy way out, and an avoidance of the discussion, but it's up to you.

Read what I posted in response to Wseadawg.

agibean said...

Since you're either being deliberately obtuse or just want to call out Trish for the sake of arguing with her Seattle Citizen, I'll take a stab at your repeated "background" questions and your asking about "what is Black"? (and I'll add why that matters).

By defination, teachers are generally well educated and at least in my exeperience in any school I've seen, white, and certainly not low-income. You take a teacher like this and place them in a school with ANY population that differs from their own situation, and they're not going to "get" the kids with different backgrounds without working at it.

They don't need special training, extra time during school or need to become socil workers. They simply need to pay attention to their students and their interactions with them to get a sense of where they come from.

I saw my daughter's K teacher do this-she knew that three of the kids had tested in early and were already reading, had two-parent homes and came to school well-prepared. She knew that one child spoke not a word of English, and that a good 5 others came from non-English speaking homes. She knew one boys was being abused at home. She knew that one had an anger management problem. And she worked with ALL of them according to their needs.

She knew about all of this by just being engaged with them all as she taught them. If teachers all operated this way, there would be more who "get it" and more kids would do better in school-at least that is what I saw happen in this classroom.

And your snarky questions about "Black" and checked boxes-as Trish said, go shopping with her or another black person sometime. Or get on the bus with a transfer about to expire. Or any number of other things that many people seen as black can point you at. "Black" is what people see-and react to with perceptions ingrained into society, as Trish mentioned above, reactions that can take more than a generation to erase.

There are "black" kids in schools who are biracial, African-American, African immigrant and more. But society will see them as...Black, and very often, that's a negative. And part of the result is higher incidences of black kids being disciplined, black boys being over-represented in ADD diagnosis, of people assuming, like Trish said, that black boys should play sports, and I'll add, are more adept in sports than in acadedmics. And so on.

The converse of this is seeing Asians as the "model minority", and it should come as a surprise to see that Asian kids are often assumed to be good students, and that they're over represented in acheivement programs. That's not because they AREN'T adept, it's because teachers and administrators are socially conditioned to SEE them as adept, and socially conditioned to see black kids who act out because of boredom as ADD or as troublemakers, rather than misplaced potential acheivers.

And it all ties into background, what it means and why ALL teachers should pay attention to it.

Trish Dziko said...

Thank you agibean. Very well said.

spedvocate said...

Gifted? ADD? Let's talk about mental retardation. Black students are 3X more likely to be represented in the Mental Retardation category of special education than others. And, are hugely over-represented in "Emotionally and Behaviorally Disordered" categories as well. These EBD programs are really just segregated jail training.

If the goal is to get black students into gifted programs, the first move should be to get them out of programs for mentally retarded and/or EBD. We're all about inclusivity aren't we?

Trish Dziko said...

Spedvocate: Good point. My partner was a social working who had clients in the middle school EBD classrooms and she was so frustrated by the fact that they were over 90% Black boys. That's one of the signals for us to go ahead and start TAF because these boys were bright, but needed better channeling.

Our youngest daughter is a SPED student and we actually pulled her out and just kept her fulltime in her Montessori classroom (where the teacher was fabulous with her needs) because the SPED services were terrible and inconsistent. The District psychologist actually recommended (in front of the Director of SPED at the time) she be moved to the EBD class because they were frustrated that she didn't want to be pulled out of class. Nevermind that they pulled her out without notice and spent the whole time making her read sight words and had no clue how to communicate with her. And there were always the excuses as to why they couldn't work through her education plan. She would have been in SPED forever and making no progress if we kept her in. Uggh!

Now take a family that doesn't have resources or knowledge of the system and their kid will be in whatever level of SPED for the duration of their K-12 experience. Frustrating!

spedvocate said...

EBD programs are not designed for the benefit of the students in them. How would it ever be good to cluster students with maladaptive emotional and behavior together? Clearly, it can't be good for those students. The programs are designed for the benefit of everyone else.. all those people who wish the students to be "somewhere else", and for the teachers who wish to dump students elsewhere.

Trish, your student is entitled to receive special education services in the least restrictive environment. And that means, her special education services should not have required her to go into a segregated location. Not a special "pullout room", not a segregated like abled (not mention, like race'd) location. In those segregated environments, your student is "restricted" 1) from her peer-group, 2) from general education, and 3) from relevant curriculum (most likely). You should not have to make the choice between getting special education services and access to general education. You are entitled to both. If the team decides that pullout is best, the pullout needs to be when and where it is appropriate for the student... not whenever it is convenient for the staff. I only mention it in case you don't know this. And, the district does have the option to compel you into special education with due process. It sounds like they didn't choose to exercise this option, but you should also be aware that you might not always be able to simply "opt out".

Black students are the most likely to be in these highly segregated settings.

seattle citizen said...

Agibean, your examples of what teachers can uncover, with just a little in-school detective work, are illuminating. They are SOME of the background.

I took Trish's comment about just not getting it, and not knowing (about background) to be related to Black children to be pointedly generalized "most" teachers. I simply ask her what SHOULD we know about background - as each child has many different factors, no matter the color of their skin - because her attack (yes, yes, I know she didn't really "attack," but "most teachers"?

The little checkbox part of my argument is serious. Why DO we check those boxes? What do they MEAN, and what purposes do they meet?

Teachers can know SOME background, but there's so much more. I'm merely asking what aspects of background, and speficially, what aspects of Black background, are important for teachers to know? Are there generalities, or does it vary on a case-by-case basis? Should teachers read books about Black background and then presume to know? Should they learn a bit from the words and actions of their students and then presume to know?

Part of my angst comes from knowing what damage the use of checkbox categories are in destroying public education: By using HSPE or MAP scores to group students into somewhat arbitary categories, these groups then are the basis for broad claims such as "the whole school is failing and must be restructured." It allows assumptions made on racial profiling, basically, to impact the entire system. THAT'S why I'm so interested to know why we check the boxes, why they matter, and what we should know about those so identified.

SPEDSeattleMom said...

Spedvocate: I hear what you say -- but boy, is reality different. The SPED folks at my son's school "required" that he be moved from one level of service to another (I think because that way he qualifies them for more money), and the "new" level means he has to spend an hour a day in a SPED "study skills" classroom. When we said gee, all we really thought he needed were accommodations like extra testing time, extra time to complete assignments that required a lot of reading/writing, oral retakes on exams, etc. -- but we really could have used that extra class period to take real courses, we were told that we had the right, if we wanted, to "refuse all services," and they would provide a form for us to sign -- and then they would wash their hands of the whole thing. It was beyond offputting. We "complied." For the most part, he uses it as an extra study hall --the IEP "goals" that his SPED teacher "works on" with him there are beyond a joke. But putting up with what I clearly think is an "illegal deal" is worth it for the extra time to complete assignments, etc.

I am with Trish, though. I would NEVER have put my child in public school SPED classes until we started high school, and then I only did it at his express request and because I thought, with AP classes, etc., we could minimize the damage done by the segregating nature of SPED classes.
ALL the kids in his SPED study skills class are boys. At least one (whom I have met) is white. I don't know about the others.

spedvocate said...

SpedSeattleMom, You are right. The level bump means only 1 thing, your school gets extra money. But, you never have to agree to any of that. You can alway file OSPI/OCR complaints (if you believe the process is outside of an IEP decision), file for mediation, or file for due process. Your program is not supposed to be a "pre-designed program", in fact, that is illegal. A little pushback, often goes a long way. If you ever are offered: sign this form OR take our plan, please, please, please... file a complaint, or bring it to the attention of the special education PTSA.

As to "extra time", you can get that with a 504 plan. If that's all you need, you don't really even need an IEP.