Friday, February 06, 2015

Friday Open Thread

It's Friday.

That means a new Open Thread for your thoughts. It also means another Friday Memo will become public.

What's happening in your school?

52 comments:

TechyMom said...

Anyone have direct experience with the middle school program at Hazel Wolf k8? How is the spectrum program structured? Will they be adding a section at 6th grade? How's the visual arts program?

Josh Hayes said...

Apparently, TFA is having recruitment issues, according to The New York Times.

The article points out that enrollment in teaching programs in general is also down, but not as much as TFA's fall. TFA folk insist it's not because of their philosophy, but rather, because the rebounding economy gives students more lucrative options.

Hmm, I say.

mirmac1 said...

Sure Josh. There's increased hiring of liberal arts bachelors degreed grads in the worlds of business and engineering.

Anonymous said...

Read this story in the Post about a Teach for America teacher and the end results for him. Really are we willing to pay for this?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/a-pupil-points-a-finger-a-teacher-is-fired-his-life-rerouted-now-can-they-be-buddies/2015/01/21/5fa7368e-8000-11e4-9f38-95a187e4c1f7_story.html

- WOW

Andy said...

To WOW: Thanks for the link.

This type of thing happens all the time to teachers.

As a male teacher, I've heard stories about false allegations for years and I personally know five male teachers at different schools who were put on unpaid leave for six months to a year so the Seattle School District could "investigate". In each cases, the reports of teachers shoving, slapping or the deliberately suggestive "touching" were all disposed of as "unfounded" and teachers returned to work.

But, all those teachers have been permanently damaged... their reputations, their dedication to their job, their lives, their happiness... gone.

Yes, abuse does happen and it's beyond horrific when it does. But the public has no idea how many innocent people have sacrificed by students and parents with an axe to grind. There is never a consequence to those making false reports.

In my 25 years I've had one deranged, vengeful parent who made an anonymous accusation against me, but I could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt they were lying (with help from the union, colleagues, lawyers, etc.)

Anonymous said...

Andy,

I wonder what comprises the term "investigation" and its relationship to due process.

I have spoken many many Teachers in SPD who have had numerous accounts and accusations that make no sense.

Apparently in the district you can write up Substitutes and I presume Teachers without consulting them or even advising them prior to the submission of the allegation. Then the district weighs that and either releases the sub, restricts the sub or does nothing.

Then we have the issues of who pays for it. Some coverage is Union but the costs and the benefits of this "investigation" does what when the process is not transparent.

I would love to see the figures of the Greenberg debacle.

I am sure that this is a class action suit or at least a civil suit that would set the idea that this bullshit is not acceptable. I have read of some cases where Teachers have done so and now with the increasing attention of cyber bullying and other crimes of that nature it may be time.

But any Teacher who has a social media account is asking for world of trouble.

- WOW

Anonymous said...

A radical new concept in school choice will come up for vote in at least a half-dozen states from Virginia to Oklahoma in the coming months, as lawmakers consider giving hundreds of thousands of parents the freedom to design a custom education for their children — at taxpayer expense.

Twenty-one states already subsidize tuition at private schools through vouchers or tax credits. The new programs promise far more flexibility, but critics fear they could also lead to waste or abuse as taxpayers underwrite do-it-yourself educations with few quality controls.

Called Education Savings Accounts, the programs work like this: The state deposits the funds it would have spent educating a given child in public schools into a bank account controlled by his parents. The parents can use those funds — the amount ranges from $5,000 to more than $30,000 a year — to pay for personal tutors, homeschooling workbooks, online classes, sports team fees and many types of therapy, including horseback riding lessons for children with disabilities. They can also spend the money on private school tuition or save some of it for college.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/state-education-savings-accounts-taxpayers-114966.html#ixzz3R0NdxcON


--Michael

Anonymous said...

BF Day Parents: there is a sad and shocking level of screamed profanity and violent behavior happening at the school, on a daily basis. It's long been at the level of abuse, and all students are subject to it.

The staff is beyond frustrated, but district support is not there. Please check with your kids-delicately-to see if they are affected.

Sadly, it is also the special ed students who are not receiving appropriate district support who are at risk. They deserve better.

InsideFremont

Walter said...

"Investigations" at SSD are a joke and have been for years. MGJ and her minions in HR have made farces of EVERY one for years.

The totally. Inexperienced internal guy they use has done some. WITHOUT EVEN INTERVIEWING EYE WITNESSES (I kid you not).

Thats why they lose when adjudicated outside the "palace".

Watching said...

Interesting to note Pettigrew and T. Santos also filed HB 2048...similar to 1860, but 1860 has 2 additional sponsors.


http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2015-16/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2048.pdf

Anonymous said...

Re: The situation at B.F. Day - The article below might help connect the dots there.

Increased use of restraints by staff leads to highly escalated, frightened special ed students leads to "screamed profanity." If you don't like it, fight for better treatment of these student so that they don't have to experience that level of stress and terror at school in the first place.

- - - -

The article begins:

Bill would strengthen law to avoid seclusion or restraint of special-ed students in schools

By Alexa Vaughn
Seattle Times staff reporter

Heidi Stuber says she knows her 9-year-old autistic son can get out of hand. On rare occasions, he’s hit and bitten people when the wrong approach is used to de-escalate a tense moment.

She believes the right approach — one specifically noted in his Individualized Education Program (IEP) — was routinely ignored in situations that began with her son making faces or unplugging computers at B.F. Day Elementary School in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. She says special-education staff instead relied far too quickly and too often on physically restraining and secluding him, options state and federal law allow only as a last resort to protect students and staff in imminent physical danger.

State law apparently isn’t clear enough about that, though, according to Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, who has introduced a bill co-sponsored by eight Democrats and three Republicans to emphasize that all known positive intervention options need to be exhausted before such measures are used. Stuber and other Washington parents with similar concerns will testify Monday, as HB 1240 gets a hearing before the House Education Committee.

Full text here: Link: http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2025545544_studentrestraintbill1xml.html

- Luna

cmj said...

Just looked at last week's memo from Ron English regarding the Sped FERPA leak. The district is filing a claim against the law firm involved to recover costs associated with analyzing what data was given out. Still no word on why the law firm had information on over 7000 students. There's a reference to a few hundred former students for whom the district didn't have addresses. I don't know if these were students who left the district in the past few months, or those who left the district prior to September 2014. If the former, that's a lot of students leaving the district in a short time.

#Crazy said...

SBAC will be used to determine advanced math placement for at least one middle school.

Anonymous said...

According to the Time's article, the BF Day student mentioned in the article is now attending a PRIVATE special ed school in Redmond with his transportation and tuition covered by SPS. The student per mom has made behavioral improvement and is showing less anxiety with this transfer. That's good news. But it's expensive and this child is no longer in an inclusion setting.

parent







Anonymous said...



"Investigations" at SSD are a joke and have been for years. MGJ and her minions in HR have made farces of EVERY one for years.

The totally. Inexperienced internal guy they use has done some. WITHOUT EVEN INTERVIEWING EYE WITNESSES (I kid you not).

Thats why they lose when adjudicated outside the "palace".


I just had coffee with a long term teacher now substitute who shared with me some of the many bizarre tales of SPD with regards to allegations that have never been substantiated with witness testimony, as when Lawyers are hired not by Unions but by Teachers themselves, they find that the district hides behind "confidentiality" of the students as they are minors.

So meanwhile they are minors when the allege an adult does something to them but an adult if they actually commit a crime themselves in the real world. Which is it?

Another is the district obfuscates language and logic to somehow find another way to ensure that they are not liable but has no problem letting the individual feel the wrath of the parent. And the child is virtually ignored at that point, regardless if they are exaggerating, lying, telling the truth or unable to explain their trauma. One minute they are the star of the show the next they are in the chorus and need to shut up now the adults are mishandling the situation on your behalf, or not.

This BF day incident is one of many. The reality is that the RCW codes allow for this but rather than working with the parent, child, teacher, they ship this child off. And an opportunity to resolve this and improve it for all involved is gone.

It takes one allegation, be it genuine or unsubstantiated and SPS will do little or nothing to resolve the matter.

There are numerous "analysts" in the HR department and their job description is just that to resolve, investigate and in turn find alternatives or solutions. Which may well be termination, arbitration or the big FU.

And some of them still are hangers on from the MJG days but they are slowly leaving with equal morons taking the helm.

But one only needs to read some of the letters they write and the level of illiteracy, incompetency and utter disregard for facts is evidence enough to destroy lives and careers.

SPS is like the SPD utterly a farce and bureaucratic labyrinth of idiots who are more into job protection than student success.

Seattle lives in a bubble of misinformation, denial and privilege.

- A Poor

Charlie Mas said...

Middle school math placement, which, let's be honest, is high school math placement, is supposed to be determined by the same method district-wide. Individual schools are not supposed to have license to set their own process or method.

Anonymous said...

If somebody(ies) put me in restraints and left me all alone, I'd scream bloody murder too. Especially if I couldn't drive, had no wallet, no money, no credit cards, no cell phone, no enfranchisement whatsoever, and, the people putting me in 'chains' --aka restraints-- weighed 3 times as much as me AND had all that enfranchisement -- power, connections, cell phone, wallets, money, car keys & a car waiting for the, team members who were right physically beside them.

-scared child

Anonymous said...

Your NUTs, my child was assaulted by a teacher and the district did everything possible to cover-up the crime. In the end the district was afraid of the teacher suing. The district did nothing and 5 months later the teacher went and removed the documents around the assault from her personnel file.

It goes both ways.

Now we have our student video every teacher every week just in case.

Look out abusers we are watching and recording you.

Eye onTeachers

Watching said...

I used to have hope that the legislature will fund education. My hope is almost gone.

The school district would be smart to start limiting their spending and challenge the state regarding unfunded mandates.

"Will the state do as the constitution says? Or will it redefine its obligations? "I expect them to try to reduce the promises they've made," Ahearne says. "I would expect them to dumb down academic standards, would expect them to play accounting games."

http://crosscut.com/2015/02/05/community-idea-lab/123704/how-do-you-solve-problem-mccleary/

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what's at stake with spring standardized testing in elementary specific to SPS? I keep hearing to expect low scores, it's a bad test, doesn't correspond with past curriculum, etc.

Is there teacher pay already directly related to scores this spring? I heard perhaps principal bonus $ too? Compared to what then, national norms?

Or with the new test, is this a benchmark year, and future teacher evaluations and principal bonuses are based on that?

I am considering opting out (among other reasons, tired of stressed out teachers trying to cobble together make up work to prep kids for the test - some are definitely handling this stress better than others at our school), but want to know how this might directly impact. For ex if I opt my kid out, and he might have received a good score, am I then hurting our teacher this year more so than making a statement about standardized testing?

how else could opting out impact my child - no scores to use for spectrum determination, middle school math placement, where else might scores be used?

Thanks,
Diane

Maje said...

@Diane - I spoke with one of our teachers about this and she said that if we want to opt out then we should. I asked about how it would impact her and she said that she wasn't worried about it.

I decided to opt out one of my kids because it was stressing her out. The other isn't bothered, so she still takes the tests.

Anonymous said...

I asked a teacher just yesterday about potential harm to her if we opt. out this year.

She said it would do her no harm, and would understand our decision to opt. out. She said there is a bonus she is eligible for, based on a rolling 2 1/2 years of student MSP scores. As it is a new test this year she is thinking it will reset.

The zero for not taking the test is included in the school results vs. against an individual teacher. That might be why some Principals would be opposed to kids opting out.

We've been told the SBAC will take 8 1/2 hours of test time. I think that is a completely unreasonable amount of time to take away from instruction - especially in this first baseline year.

I will be opting both of my eligible children out of the SBAC.

-StepJ

Anonymous said...

When will SBAC testing take place in SPS? The MSP was usually given the 2nd week after Spring Break. From the FAQs, it sounds as though testing will take place over five 1-2 hour sessions (2 Math and 3 ELA) given on 5 different days.

bleck.

Anonymous said...

If/when a child is assaulted, why go to SPS and not the cops? Police have trained investigators and the power to charge people, schools don't. And schools WILL get sued if they fire the staff and the charges can't be proven.

CCA

Anonymous said...

Well one hopes the hysteria about Garfield extends to this SPED student assaulted by Lake Washington football players..

Is this a pattern or a trend?

http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/more-sports/hs-players-charged-with-attempted-rape-of-special-ed-student/ar-AA96vyk

- Sick of It

Anonymous said...

InsideFremont, I don't know what's up at BF Day, but I am pretty sure these special ed students aren't showing up to school screaming profanities first thing in the morning. Something's probably happening at school to make them that upset.

I work in special ed myself and I know that things can go really wrong really fast if staff doesn't follow the appropriate behavior intervention plan or if an adult starts a power struggle with a student or something.

I'd be very reluctant to blame it on the special ed students, and I'd be extremely reluctant to say that the kids who overhear a frightened special ed kid screaming curse words are the ones being abused.

I do agree, though, that parents should check in with their kids and just make sure they're feeling safe at school. And if special ed comes up in conversation, try to treat it with empathy and tolerance. If it's scary to overhear "that kid," imagine how scary it is to BE "that kid."

Hope things improve soon.
- Eloise

Anonymous said...

Even kids with chicken poxs love hotdogs....I guess kids with measles dont!

Get a grip, Mr Governor.

BTW this law plays right into the hands of charter schools because its the paramount duty of the state to educate children and if public schools bar un vaccinated children from attending public schools the state must pay for alternatives.

It impossible to force anyone into getting a measles vaccination, so this could lead to a change in the state constitution which is ultimately the goal. Republicans are trying to remove the "paramount duty" clause from the state constitution.

Aluminum hat

Anonymous said...

Charlie, I thought you moved away? Some of us actually work in a school. Kids can and do take any dang math class they want. If they want to double up on math, they can do it in middle or high school. Nobody's fate is sealed by elementary school or because of one test. District guidelines are exactly that. Guidelines. They aren't rules handed down like Moses receiving a tablet.

Empl

Gads said...

"Kids can and do take any dang math class they want. If they want to double up on math, they can do it in middle or high school"

SO wrong.

Anonymous said...

@Empl

Eckstein MS 6th grade math placement this fall was based on a district-created matrix of spring 4th grade MSP and fall 5th MAP scores. In the fall, some kids had additional testing and moved between the classes offered, but it was not any kids' decision. I know several parents who tried to get kids into a higher level, and without the test gatekeeper scores, they were turned down. And there is no "doubling up" in 6th grade, doubtful at all in MS.

Eckstein Parent

Anonymous said...

EVERYONE WHO'D LIKE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT OPTING OUT OF STANDARDIZED TESTS IN SEATTLE:

Join us, the Seattle Opt Out Group, for a meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 10, at the Beacon Hill Library, 6pm. We will have a guest speaker, time for q and a and literature (including opt out letter formats). We are on facebook but can be hard to find, so here is the link:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Seattle-Opt-Out/430265387124998

All are welcome! Be informed, know your rights, OPT OUT.

AS

cmj said...

Empl said "Kids can and do take any dang math class they want. If they want to double up on math, they can do it in middle or high school."

Empl, at which schools have you seen this done? My experience has been that students (particularly in high school) aren't typically allowed take multiple math courses concurrently at school because the schools barely have enough math teachers to go around. Same with science. The schools don't exactly have an excess of math and science teachers.

I'd love to see middle and high schools allowing any interested students to skip a year of math by taking the EOC. Otherwise, most high school (not Spectrum, HCC, IB) students can't take calculus before they graduate. Selective colleges really like to see calculus on transcripts.

Anonymous said...

I'd much rather schools offer an honors middle school math class that compresses 2 years of pre-algebra into one year - say 7th/8th in one year - so students can take Algebra in 8th even if they didn't accelerate in elementary school. Skipped years means skipped content.

dreaming

Benjamin Leis said...

After two months and two days, the auction of the Federal Reserve Bank's former Seattle branch ended at 1:50 p.m. Saturday with a high bid of $16 million.
The winning bidder was not immediately revealed, but it was not Seattle Public Schools, district officials said.

Anonymous said...

I personally know two students that have doubled up in math. One is at Exkstein and gave up an elective in order to take two math classes. Another is a junior at Hale who doubled up last year to be on track for Calculus. So, while rare, not unheard of it impossible.

KP

Anonymous said...

Forgive the typos! "Not unheard of or impossible".

KP

Anonymous said...

Nobody's fate is sealed by elementary school or because of one test. District guidelines are exactly that. Guidelines. They aren't rules handed down like Moses receiving a tablet.

It really depends on the school, the principal, and the persistence of the parents. Some schools do indeed treat the guidelines as rules carved in stone, or they'll make up their own rules, just because.

seen it

Anonymous said...

I am glad the district did not get the Federal Reserve building. It would have taken lots of resources to rebuild.

Wish they would lease space in the Amgen building for a new high school. They could have state of the art facilities and ease the capacity crisis in the north end.

S parent

Anonymous said...

That we didn't get the Federal Reserve building? Wow! Dodged a huge bullet, this time. This district - our kids -actually caught a break. 'Winning' that bid would have made our entire district crash. That's not hyperbole. That's reality: the whole district is skating on ultra-thin ice. One wrong move - a white elephant building, for example, in the wrong location, with reno costs that would have inevitably spun out of control (hello surprise lead & asbestos!), in a place with no transportation access for yellow bus service or places for the kids to play - that would have been the proverbial final straw that would have broken the back of SSD.

Think of all of the staff time WASTED on this boondoggle instead of used to solve high school north or West Seattle middle school (yeah, that is a HUGE problem no one is even talking about).

Peaslee is up for reelection. Could we catch a second lucky break?




Here's Hoping

Watching said...

I need to respectfully acknowledge the amount of time Henderdon spent evaluating the downtown bld, working with the city for prek and attempting to meet capacity needs. I wouldn't be surprised if they guy developed an ulcer.

The board made the absolute right decision regarding the downtown bld. It is important to remember that the state has not updated their capital funding formula since 1985 and the costs of capital projects has risen within the past 30 years. Elementary schools cost $32M, but the state pays $5M.

Amgen site must be considered. If so, how would this look for a potential split...as Tomiko Santos suggests i.e. would downtown or Queen Anne be dividing point.

Thoughts of splitting the district will result in more dollars, analysis and time.

The more I look at things...the crazier it gets.

Anonymous said...

The STRAW was dropped many moons ago! SPS as you all know it is FINISHED.

Why can't ya all see the writing?


END DAYS

Anonymous said...

Dr. Herndon has spent his time making bad decisions and wasting everyone's time. He has been remote from his constituency, i.e. SSD families, and much too concerned about pleasing his 'betters'. He carries the water for them while ignoring what's really going on in this district.


WHY did he waste time on the downtown building with money that doesn't exist (or staff time that doesn't exist either!), when he has YET to produce a single document that ties together the big picture, the total picture of facilities and enrollment by region and grade band? Until he does that, how can he possibly justify an capital decisions or the next BTA? Does anyone think he's really right for this job? Bremerton, that's a good background for a $700 million capital program? When do you think he'll take off to greener pastures? Right about when his 'plans' are about to blow up?

We will all still be here, living with his mistakes. Can anyone say, "SCHOOL IN SHIFTS"?

Forget about later start times for high schools! It will be the exact opposite, EARLIER start times and longer days, to accommodate 8 periods. Charming. And, he won't be here! But, it will be a direct consequence of his 'leadership'.

Writing is on the wall. Break up the district, don't break up the district. What will it matter? The Who had a song about this: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss...". At least that song has the refrain, "won't get fooled again". Honestly, is anyone fooled by this? There are good people, good staff at JSCEE, but unfortunately, they aren't the ones who call the shots. They know what the worst problems are. Staff told the operations committee high school north was the worst problem (they were asked by Directors directly, so Fluo couldn't silence them. Those folks have integrity, but, they also understand what rolls downhill and who it hits).


Not optimistic

Watching said...


"WHY did he waste time on the downtown building with money that doesn't exist"

Henderdon works under Nyland.

Walking stick said...

"Now we have our student video every teacher every week just in case.

Look out abusers we are watching and recording you.

Eye onTeachers"

Uh yeah... and it's the teachers who are nuts?

Anonymous said...

Sure loved reading this in the times today:

Education: Learn for the love of it
Posted by Letters Coordinator
Why does education always have to serve some material end? [“We have a fixation on income inequality,” Opinion, Feb. 4]. This kind of materialism breeds a sick culture. The more that we attempt to tie education to the economy, the sicker our culture becomes.

The love of learning should be valued as much as the love of work. Learning in order to form a philosophy of life, a worldview and to know God’s works should be the primary motives of education.

These views, as alien as they are today, were once widely held. When learning is tied to earning as much as it has been in modern times, the learning process is corrupted. This corruption sickens the soul because it is natural to learn for the love of learning.

Life is more of a learning process than it is a earning process. Most of us value greatly what we have learned in life. Our culture should reflect that love.

Dale McCracken, Renton

Thank you Mr. McCracken. Couldn't agree more.

WSDWG

mirmac1 said...

Spotlight on Josh Garcia, Dept Supt of Tacoma SD

http://leaders.edweek.org/profile/josh-garcia-whole-child-accountability-tacoma-washington/?cmp-2.9-EML/#video

Anonymous said...

Highline School District is talking about going to split shifts if the levy doesn't pass.

HP

Concerned Parent said...

Yes, the students who come with mental disabilities or trauma (from violence done to them at home) ACTUALLY DO come to school swearing. I am a parent who drops my child off early and I get to see the Special Ed. students from the Behavior Disorder Program as they get off their special buses. One kid has his OWN BUS because he isn't safe around other children on the bus. I see them get off their special buses every day and they actually do come off the bus swearing, cursing, saying the rudest sexual remarks (where do they learn this?), kicking, spitting, biting. These children are mentally ill and are not being served well in the regular education population. Can we ask ourselves--especially parents with mentally ill children--are we really doing what is best for these children? Can we stop this vicious cycle and give these children the appropriate programs? I hear there are charter schools (as awful as they are, here is one good) that are ACTUALLY ABLE to teach children with Autism, ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and those suffering Post Traumatic Stress? Get real--I have yet to see the Special Ed class who does this well. But why expect this? When have our Special Needs students ever really had their special needs met?!?!?! It's not about inclusion or exclusion. It's all about finding the right educational approach and the regular ed class is not it. I wish this parent with the video camera would come film what's really going on in our classes. These poor SPed students (who do come swearing and cursing to school--why do parents teach them these bad words?) who are NOT LEARNING (my son tells me they are put on computers the whole day and urarely make it to his class just to the hallway outside his class in order to swear or try to hit kids unlucky to be in the hallway), these poor regular ed kids who have to watch as kids kick doors, attack them, bite, swear, these poor teachers who are easy to blame. Can't we take all the energy that's on the blog and try to help BF Day and all the schools in our city to get the district to be more innovative in creating a classroom that actually is able to help these children? And SPed parents, you should be lobbying the district to create innovative classrooms for your children instead of trying hard to make your children "normal", instead of forcing them to fit into the "normal" classroom. I read about a mom in England who saw immediately that her autistic son did not do well in regular ed, so she let him stay at home and teach himself. He got his Phd at 13 and is a celebrated physicists. Let's celebrate their diversity by creating a diverse classroom instead of trying to force those bio-diverse children to fit into the "normal child" mold. What say you? I want to hear. Let's have a dialogue about this. And I read that article in the paper. What I got from it was not that BF Day was bad but that this mother's child was poorly placed. He spit, bit, swore in regular ed. When he went to a private school designed just for autistic kids, she said he was happy. Look at the sub-text--this is not about BAD BF DAY this is about BAD REGULAR ED--GOOD PRIVATE AUTISM SCHOOL. Let's create a classroom that meets the needs very specifically of children with autism and I bet you will be taking those children whose future is now bleak and turning them into rocket scientists. Let's take those children who suffer from trauma and give them a class that spends the day helping them heal--talking, baking, gardening, healing. Don't take a kid who was beat and expect him to do well in the regular ed class. Don't take that brilliant autistic boy who could easily spend his day happily designing computer programs and put him in a regular ed class where he has to do long division. DON'T LOOK FOR BLAME FIND SOLUTIONS INSTEAD.

Revolutionize Instruction for Autistic Children said...

Yes, I agree with Concerned Parent. I have always felt the regular ed classroom does not fit all. In fact, I think the problem BF Day faces, and all schools across the nation from what I understand, are doing a bad job. I'm not referring to the children suffering from abuse at home who come angry to school. They need a more caring, nurturing place to go to heal. But the autistic children. They think differently and that should be nurtured. Think of all our great scientists and how they broke away from the norm and thought out of the box. These SPed students are only a problem because they don't fit in to the system. Ever tried to screw a screw with the wrong screw-driver? But with the right tool--how easy it is? We need to stop forcing these extraordinary children to fit into "normal" because "normal" is over-rated. Here is the article about an American child prodigy--autistic and not forced into regular ed:

"As a child, doctors told Jacob Barnett’s parents that their autistic son would probably never know how to tie his shoes.

But experts say the 14-year-old Indiana prodigy has an IQ higher than Einstein’s and is on the road to winning a Nobel Prize. He’s given TedX talks and is working toward a master’s degree in quantum physics.

The key, according to mom Kristine Barnett, was letting Jacob be himself — by helping him study the world with wide-eyed wonder instead of focusing on a list of things he couldn’t do.

Diagnosed with moderate to severe autism at the age of 2, Jacob spent years in the clutches of a special education system that didn’t understand what he needed. His teachers at school would try to dissuade Kristine from hoping to teach Jacob any more than the most basic skills.

Jacob was struggling with that sort of instruction — withdrawing deeper into himself and refusing to speak with anyone."

Evie's mom said...

My daughter is autistic. Yes, daughter. Very rare. 1 in 42 boys but only 1 in 189 girls. So my daughter is very special. I gave up on Public Ed at the end of third grade. Every time I was in the classroom, she would always be on the same spot in the corner reading. Nothing else. All her classmates around her happily doing math, writing stories, talking to each other and then my daughter. By herself on the carpet reading. She spent three years reading and nothing else. I was tired of hearing about all the things she couldn't do and how "scared" the other students were of her because she would spit at them if they came close to "her" corner. Her Sped teacher kept telling me she wanted to get her to show more "student like behavior" and then the screaming began. They tried to force her to sit in a desk, hold a pencil, be "normal". I took her out. She spent the remaining school years at home teaching herself. She's now getting her Phd in math. I agree. Public Ed is not the place for all.

Anonymous said...

Obviously not all parents of children with autism are financially able (or have the knowledge and training) to homeschool their children, and as one of those parents, I am sick of this being suggested as the solution. (Of course, wonderful that it has worked well for some parents and kids.) Public school district employees need to receive proper training to educate children with autism in the least restrictive environment (often the general education classroom).

Frustrated parent

Anonymous said...

Separate but equal? ...Really?

-Hmpf