Update: where's this story at Crosscut? My link still works but somehow - after just one day - the story has disappeared from Crosscut's main page. There are many older stories still there. Hmmm.
End of update.
Over at Crosscut, the director of the (mostly)charter think tank that is the Center on Reinventing Public Education, Robin Lake, weighs in on customer service at SPS.
She doesn't directly reference the program she is writing about (why, I don't know) but she's talking about Advanced Learning.
Her funniest line?
These are minor inconveniences, though, compared to the
flippant way the system responds — or doesn’t — to students’ special
needs. No matter how evident it is that your child’s situation merits
individual consideration, your inquiries are met by maddening emails
that repeat the policy and assert that there are no exceptions.
"Your child's situation merits individual consideration.." My answer to that was:
"You can tell that to Special Ed parents who have experienced far worse." (She does acknowledge this later in her piece.)
Due to her work in charters, she makes these statements:
When charter schools come to town, SPS faces even more attrition.
These kind of frustrations underscore why people sometimes turn to
charter schools or pay to attend private schools at great cost.
What she fails to state - and that she knows very well from her own work - is that charters do NOT serve students with special needs in any great numbers. They don't want to and make every effort not to. Parents with children with special needs - be they ELL, Special Ed or Advanced Learning - do NOT turn to charters to fill that need.
Second funniest line?
There are many school districts around the country that have figured out
how to be more flexible and responsive, hiring parent advocates and
secret shoppers and embracing choice and innovation.
Hiring parent advocates? She must be new to our district.
And "secret shoppers"? Never heard of one district doing this and she must think the district is rolling in dough to be able to do this (but she could ask the Alliance about funding this effort).
Lastly, our district - and I know this from talking to parents around the country - DOES embrace as much choice as they can and are far more down the innovation road than most districts. It may not always feel that way because of the Byzantine nature of our district so I understand her unhappiness.
I did suggest that she read this blog to keep up with advocacy within our district.