Someone asked a question in the Friday Open Thread about a Special Ed program and that led to SpedPTA president, Mary Griffin, to say this (and she calls it a rant alert and warning but really, it's a huge district-wide issue):
I am not a fan of data sharing, but I am a fan of useful data collection and accessibility within the district.
district right now is suffering greatly from the lack of usable, easily
Not having good data means that the Director of
Special Education needs to spend two weeks going through all the student
records identifying which students receive Special Education services.
Not having good data means they can't get their ducks in a row to even
fill out the forms to request $12 million dollars to fund Special
Not having good data interferes with enrollment predictions
for next year and hampers communication about the location of
Not having good data means even though they have a federal
investigation staring down their throats, SPS can not produce good data
statistics around discipline.
Particularly galling to me is that even
though I spent several weeks of my life writing a position paper on the
the disproportionate discipline that has been dished out on students
with disabilities and tried to hammer out the point that the collection
and dis-aggregation of these statistics to include students with
disabilities was one of the most important things that the district
needs to do, they aren't going to do it at all for the 2012-2013 school
year. Why? BECAUSE IT ISN'T A PRIORITY!
There is good evidence that
providing principals about the use of exclusionary discipline in their
buildings will help drive down the use of exclusionary discipline. By
not being able to provide them and the public with data, the district is
Additionally, the Special Education
department's new external consultant's plan to improve the delivery of
special education services to the district relies heavily on providing
data to principals. If the districts infrastructure can not provide the
data, I have little hope that the consultant's plan will be effective.
district needs to make the collection and disaggregration of civil
rights and special education data a top priority. It is hampering them
and more importantly, it is hampering students.
I will also say that yes, data, its collection, its safeguards, its
destruction after use (by outside contractors) AND its analysis are
This is now the second time this week I have
heard this story. The first was Transportation saying that the transfer
from one technology system to another caused them to have to do a lot
of work by hand.
That's just crazy talk in this day and age AND given how much the district has spent. (or not spent).
parents/teachers struggle with The Source/Fusion, the public with the
website and staff with using the technology is so wrong.
But, as I like to say to the Board, priorities, kids.