Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Open Thread

 Update:  I have attempted to get rid of the annoying CAPTCHA feature.  I'm hoping it works but that we don't see a lot of spam because of it.  I know if I found it annoying so did my readers.  Let me know how it goes.

Update on SBAC from SPS Communications:  our assessment folks have communicated to principals that they may use the form or accept any signed refusal. 

End of update 
 
I will have a follow-up to the SBAC opt-out form.  I sought clarity from the district, got it partially and am now awaiting a response.

The House budget will come out today but the hearing has been moved to Monday.

Healthy Student Survey results - I haven't had time to read it in-depth yet.  

The Charter Commission is having a special phone-in meeting today.  It's an interesting thing - they will go into Executive Session to discuss a "legal matter" with no final action taken.  Then, they will go back to having a public meeting if there are any "action items" from the Executive Session.  I will venture to guess this is about First Place and whether they have done what the Commission wanted them to in order to remain open as a charter school.  My guess is no.  I believe if the Commission is to close the school, they would have to take a vote in an open meeting.

Interesting map of the opt-outs in Ohio for the PARCC testing.

Have you played the latest parlor game? keeping count of how many editorials/op-eds the Seattle Times prints about how important it is to get the NCLB waiver back, how its loss is hurting kids and, oh, by the way, it's "just closing a loophole" according to Rep Chad Magendanz at Facebook and the authors of the latest op-ed, Senator Mark Mullet and Senator Jamie Pedersen, say the changes would be "modest" and make it sound like simple wordsmithing.

The Senators say that $1M in Seattle funds has been spent on private tutors in an "uneven way"  (fewer than 500 kids received private tutoring out of an eligible 20K).  Well, who's fault is that?  I'd guess the district didn't bend over backwards to tell parents.  But, as Superintendent Nyland DID say at the last Board meeting, it was a good thing for those parents who did get tutoring for their children.

(They also said the districts would have to "scramble" to spend the rest of the money not used for children who changed schools and/or received private tutoring.  I have great confidence Seattle School district will figure out how to spend extra dollars.)

Sadly, not one word in this opt-ed about McCleary.  Priorities,kids. 

Friday funny for your tweens and teens: a cover of 'Uptown Funk' by Voldemort.

Also for the kids, Science! How to unleash Lucifer's Squid

90 comments:

Joe Wolf said...

Great "Here and Now" interview with the NYT's Frank Bruni on his new book "Where You Go is Not Who You'll Be: An Antdote to the College Admissions Mania"

http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/03/25/college-frank-bruni

mirmac1 said...

reposting on this thread for Mary:

"Senator Litzow, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, is hold all house education bills, including the seclusion and restraint bill, hostage, unless the house education committee passes SB 5748 out of committee, which requires evaluations of principals, and teachers of subjects in grades with mandated assessments, to include student test scores as one measure of effectiveness. Before you leave for work this morning, please call Litzow 's office at 360-786-7641 and ask him to pass the seclusion and restraint bill, HB 1240, out of committee."

I say he has to release all worthy House bills that directly benefit students. Senator Litzow's email is:

steve.litzow@leg.wa.gov

WallyMom said...

We got an email from our school that the board will vote on a proposed start of the 2015-2016 year for September 9th,

Really is it so hard to approve a school calendar 2 years in advance?

Hopefully camps will add a week in Sept. But not counting on it...

Melissa Westbrook said...

WallyMom, send me that e-mail because the district website says:

"A draft calendar has been proposed for the 2015-16 school year and is going before the Seattle Public Schools School Board Executive Committee on April 2, 2015. It will be introduced to the board at the April 22 school board meeting and the board will take action on it May 6.

Draft important dates under consideration by the school board:

Sept. 9: Start of school
Dec. 21-Jan 4: Winter break
Feb. 15-19: Mid-winter break
April 11-15: Spring break
June 23: Last day of school

Again, these are still draft dates until the school board votes."

They vote on May 6th. That said, I noticed when I was doing some research, that many schools in other parts of the country have their dates for next school year firmly in place.

I never get why it takes this district so long.

ConcernedSPSParent said...

Has anyone heard anything about the administrative leave Ron English was told to take?

Anonymous said...

It's stupid.
Why don't they propose a draft calendar in Dec and vote on it in January (or even earlier)?
Why wait til april- may.
It seems reasonable to expect to know the schedule for the year in January.
Why does it even need to be renegotiated every year anyway?
Why not negotiable it for 2-3 years at a time?
Why does every little thing have to be managed so poorly in this district?

Stupid SPS

Anonymous said...

Here is a letter I sent to my representatives:

I am a teacher, and a new resident of Edmonds and the 21st district. I am writing in opposition to SB 5748.

Because it is impossible to control for outside variables, the use of test scores in evaluating teachers is invalid. It is as much pseudoscience as craniology and phrenology were in the 19th century. Not surprisingly, the American Statistical Association has written that most value-added measurement (VAM) studies “find that teachers account for about 1% to 14% of the variability in test scores, and that the majority of opportunities for quality improvement are found in the system-level conditions. Ranking teachers by their VAM scores can have unintended consequences that reduce quality.”1

The most common argument in favor of SB 5748 is that it will enable the State of Washington to recover about $40 million in funds that it lost when the federal government revoked our NCLB waiver. However, this argument is inaccurate. The $40 million wasn’t lost; rather, districts lost flexibility in how it would spend these funds. While it would certainly be better to retain such flexibility, $40 million is a relatively small amount of money in comparison to the total state budget for education (inadequate as it is). Loss of flexibility in spending these funds is a small price to pay for ensuring that we don’t open the door to a deeply irrational method of evaluating teachers.

A common counterargument is that SB 5748 would require OSPI and the TPEP steering committee to validate that the new state assessments were accurate measures of student growth. In addition, each district could bargain how much weight to give test scores in determining teacher evaluations. The problem with such arguments is that while the SBAC assessment could theoretically become valid measures of student growth, they can never be valid measures of teacher performance. Furthermore, the experience of other states indicates that if we open the door to mandating that test scores be used in teacher evaluations, it’s only a matter of time before, step by step, a larger and larger percentage of the evaluation is based on those scores. In New York, Governor Cuomo has recently proposed that 50% of teacher evaluations be based on state assessments.

In short, it doesn’t make sense to adopt an invalid measure of teacher performance for the sake of a small, short-term gain in spending flexibility. In effect, SB 5748 would legitimize the irrational, which would undermine the efforts of countless teachers to teach their students to base decisions on reason and evidence. A bill that would subvert the purposes of public education is not one that a responsible public servant can adopt in good conscience.

Sincerely,

David Edelman
Claus Nobel Educator of Distinction
Ingraham High School
History, Philosophy, and Theory of Knowledge

1. “ASA Statement on Using Value-Added Models for Educational Assessment,” American Statistical Association, accessed March 26, 2015, https://www.amstat.org/policy/pdfs/ASA_VAM_Statement.pdf.

Anonymous said...

The principal at BF Day, Stan Jaskot, is attempting to terminate both special ed teachers--effective next week--and contract with a private, outside agency to replace them. The staff is united against the decision, and met with Superintendent Nyland to try to stop a plan that will put our most vulnerable children at risk. There is deep uncertainty about what will happen. Parents, PLEASE contact Principal Jaskot and ask him not to take this drastic step: scjaskot@seattleschools.org, 206.252.6015

FREMONT PARENT

Lynn said...

Speaking of Ron English, Senior Legal Assistant Julie Barbello was placed on administrative leave March 11th.

I wonder if we'll ever learn what this is all about.

Anonymous said...

Fremont Parent

Isn't BF Day the place that counts repeated calls to the police and illegal restraints of "our most vulnerable children" as its daily normal special education practice? Somebody ought to be putting that principal on leave too. Anyway a meet with Supt Nyland is likely to have gotten a lot of blank stares and shrugs when it comes to special education.

Reader99

Anonymous said...

Surely the English and Barbello actions were taken in response to the release of thousands of confidential records of special education students to 3rd parties.

Reader99

juicygoofy said...

From Whitman MS regarding future Wilson Pacific assignments. It struck me as odd to see this posted on the school's website, yet nowhere (that I can find) on SPS website.

Assignment update from the district - Incoming students who will be assigned to the new Wilson Pacific Middle School (or whatever the name may be in the future) and start their middle school experience at Whitman now have the option to follow one of two paths. 1) They can stay at Whitman for the duration of their middle school experience or 2) they can attend Whitman for the year(s) before Wilson Pacific opens and then attend Wilson Pacific when the building is complete. Students and parents can choose the option they feel will best serve their student's needs.

Anonymous said...

@ juicy goofy: verrrrryyyy interesting because the district has told capitol hill that when Meany opens the kids in that draw area will be yanked from Washington and placed there to finish their 6-8 experience.

sounds like the usual district hackneyed comprehensive policy approach, no?

'already ticked'

Day Teacher said...
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day alum said...
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Anonymous said...

This is a brilliant analysis of the "reform" movement as experienced by an honest insider. "Jorge Cabrera was employed by the “education reform” organization Excel Bridgeport from 2012-2015–the organization on the front lines" in Bridgeport CT - until he saw started seeing through them.

http://blog.ctnews.com/education/2015/03/27/ex-employee-on-excel-bridgeport-and-the-reform-movement/

Some things sound very familiar to what's going on in Seattle - including the push for mayoral control.

---Cameo

VotedNO1B said...

SPS and the City of Seattle recently had an update regarding the Family and Education Levy.

It is important to note that the city was sitting on $60M for early learing and there was a lot of hustle and bustle to get the Gates grant approved- which links the city to SPS.

Pleae note: With the city sitting on $60M--they didn't need Gate's grant to put prek into Bailey Gatzert.

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Anonymous said...

Thank you, Day Teacher. We have a child at BF Day, and are having a great experience. Happy kid in the morning (looks forward to school), happy kid in the afternoon, and she's learning during the day. I don't know who you are, but you're likely one of the great teachers we've had there. Thank you.

- BFDay Dad

mirmac1 said...

"Biodiversity"? That's an odd way to describe a child. Diversity sounds better.

Day teacher, is there any validity to a previous poster's statement regarding Jaskot? Are there effective behavioral intervention services at the school, or are the police it?

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Anonymous said...



Another Disneyland-Measels in the making?


Kids who go to APP@Lincoln have siblings in schools half of Seattle: Broadview-Thompson K8 to John Hay to Laurelhurst to Olympic View...

Pinehurst/AS1/Licton Springs program has sadly had a sick child in the building that is Lincoln, the epidemiology is uniquely problematic because of the widespread real-time connections to all other buildings.



APP@Lincoln

Alert!!

The program in the south wing has reported a confirmed case of infectious disease: Pertussis (whooping cough).

Although entirely preventable by a series of vaccines, the infectious agent is now in the building.

If you have questions, please contact the public health nurse of King County, Eileen Benoliel.

(I wonder if all non or under vaccinated students for this disease will now be forcibly disallowed for the building for the 21 day appearance of symptoms period? That would be sad, especially for our medically fragile students who might not be able to be vaccinated :(

I hope the sick child gets well soon and suffers no after-affects and I hope no others get ill, certainly none of the very medically fragile adults in the building or any pregnant teachers, but with that south wings program's very low vaccine rate, I worry another child may end up ill too before this is contained.

Be well




reposting

Melissa Westbrook said...

Day Teacher, I don't know who you are speaking to when you say "this blog" but I have always been supportive of Day ever since I toured it during the time I was on the Closure and Consolidation ctm. It's a good school with a great spirit.

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Maureen said...

Pertussis has been going through all of the north end HSs. The public health nurse who called our house (yes my fully vaccinated kid got it) said that they are finding that the vaccine is only 65-70% effective. We all depend on herd immunity. I will say I think the problem is compounded in HS because kids often are afraid to get behind and teachers often offer extra credit for good attendance. I think we need a system that encourages sick kids to Skype in to class.

Mary G said...
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Mary G said...
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Anonymous said...

I am really worried about the medically fragile kids also housed at Lincoln with licton springs, which has a staggeringly low vaccination rate.

-sleeper

Josh Hayes said...

You think WE have it bad, with our legislature? It could be worse, friends: we could live in Michigan.

Finding myself allied, even a teeny bit, with loonies like these people (because they too oppose Common Core), gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Watching said...

Pertaining to SB 5748--wise words and food for thought from State Rep. Chris Reykdal:

"Additionally, Reykdal wondered, if "the other side will do anything to get a bill, even if they bargain it to such a small percentage that it has no impact, then what is this about? ... Is this about getting a toe in the door for the federal government and the state government can mandate essential elements of bargaining? In that case, it is such a slippery slope."

Anonymous said...

It may seem that the gen ed students are unaffected by the treatment of special eduction students in the building, but my experience is different.

My child was in one of the most popular schools in the district, with all kinds of extra experiences, awards, and attention. One teacher deliberately humiliating a special needs student in front of the class was so destructive to my onlooking student, that she remembers it, 10 years later, as the worst year in school. She felt complicit as a witness in the classroom. She felt helpless that she could not to protect that child. She is furious with the teacher for not behaving better. It is still hard to think about.

Don't assume that the mistreatment of one population in the building won't hurt the rest of the kids.

-alum

Anonymous said...

Do special education students, in all the various programs at BF Day, get to go to the weeklong science expeditions on the Olympic peninsula? Do they get to participate in the science with the Audobon society, spend the night at the Museum of Flight, and multicultural dinners?

Also Curious

Day teacher said...
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Dat teacher said...
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Day Teacher said...
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Floor Pie said...
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Day Teacher said...
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Day Teacher said...
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Day Teacher said...
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Watching said...

Mary,

Thank you for sharing your shocking and horrible story. I had no idea this type of thing was happening.

I'm curious: At the time, was there a full time elementary school counselor employed at BF Day?

I'm often mystified that the district finds it very important to place data coaches in schools, but casts aside the importance of elementary school counselors.

Anonymous said...

DayTeacher, I too believe you're well intentioned and am sorry you think I'm being sarcastic. Nothing i have posted is sarcastic. I'm actually just trying to give you information. I too actually do witness a lot of restraint in SPS. It is not rare, and it is not limited to protecting people from harm. As I mentioned, mostly it's for compliance.

EBD is a pernicious problem. The thing that gets kids excluded, behavior, is also the worst commonality to cluster together. That is the main confounding problem. The reality is that keeping students out of EBD classrooms as much as possible, is key to their success. But, that is the thing schools wish to avoid.

Unfortunately, there is no accountability for anything in SPS. So, you'll have to do your best to instigate improvement without it.

C21

Day Teacher said...
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Floor Pie said...
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Maureen said...

Floor Pie, I'm so glad you are commenting.

DT said...
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concerned onlooker said...

Melissa, as an uninvolved person I'd like to ask you to consider removing blog posts referring to the specific child for his protection.

Anonymous said...

It is true that some students choose and prefer self containment. Or choose it for part of the day. It is also true, that the district implements a self contained system that is unaccountable and lacking in benefits for students. But you are right DT, students with disabilities have untapped potential that is crushed by standards based learning. It's great if you can modify your environment, instruction, and curriculum to give a little breathing room for that.

C21

Anonymous said...

Two great articles that have come across my newsfeed recently.
-katydid

Why America’s obsession with STEM education is dangerous

For Pearson, Common Core is private profit

Parent said...

My child has Aspergers, not at Day, and he chooses not to be in a regular ed class. His teachers are doing everything to get him to go, but he is happier in a smaller setting. It's easy to blame the teachers and there is way too much witch-hunting on this thread. The teachers at my school also use restraints. I feel it really is a last resort. I understand what a challenging job they have teaching my son and I appreciate how hard they are working. And I don't lie to myself, I also have held/restrained my son when he acts out. But, it's very Alliance to just blame the teachers and fire them. Outsourcing, there you go. Let's just Charter School it. Big business surely will do a better job here. This is obviously a sticky topic. Day teacher, you should have gone to bed after your first comment, which was effective. You lost me on the others. You should not have waffled. Yes, children having melt-downs will need to be restrained. Yes, we parents do it, too. I'm the only parent being honest here. Yes, my child refuses to go to his regular ed class, no, dt is not ignorant about this, it's true. Stop the witch-hunt, these poor teachers are teaching their hearts out to teach our children and we have known from day one who hard that is.

BF Day Parent said...

My child goes to Day and is very happy there. Are all these problems really coming from just ten children? Aren't there over 300 students at Day? We as a family love OPI, the salmon, the art she has done, the music and chess programs. I feel like all it takes are these ten vocal parents to make my daughter's school look like a place it is very much not. If she weren't already going there, I probably would move out of the neighborhood so she could go somewhere else. Lucky I didn't know about this blog. She loves her teachers, loves her school, loves the students who go there. I don't know how many parents read this blog, but don't let it bias you. Read Great School reviews instead, you will get a clearer picture of what a great school Day is. Maybe the program that supports these children should be moved to a better school?

Anonymous said...
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Blogger said...

Parent,
Thank you for your comments.

IA? said...
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IA? said...

My two kids also go to Day and are very happy there. I'm impressed with how much they've learned and the high standards of learning. I have been in the building a few times. I haven't seen teachers restraining students. I have heard yelling coming from the basement and some very bad words. I think if parents didn't use these bad words in front of their children, the children wouldn't use them, too. Bad parenting.

What is an IA?

Anonymous said...

Sm3, EBD ... how does a "newbie" find out what these terms refer to? Is Sm3 the same as EBD? What is Access?

Newbie

dan dempsey said...

So little thinking at Education Think Tanks.

Does this explain why there is such nonsense in regard to education in the state legislature.

The Death of a Think Tank

Sean said...

I loved Home Ec. I think all kids could use a little home ec, industrial arts, music appreciation. I made a hurdy gurdy out of wood in music appreciation, made a metal trowel in industrial arts class, and a stuffed animal in home ec.

Maybe these dysregulated children do need home ec. Maybe all of our children do.

How sad it must be to be a student these days and never get to experience the joy of planting a bean seed or planning a meal from garden to plate.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Concerned Onlooker and others, I am baffled as to how and why this got so in the weeds (by both the teacher and parents).

What do I do now? Eliminate all the posts? Some of them? I think there was some good and frank discussion in them.

Sean, yes, we did have more freedom and fun back in the "old days" and still, our country put a man on the moon. Hmm.

Day Teacher said...
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Anonymous said...

Day Teacher

I've had several families from Day describe the practices around restraints in the current school year, that is, falling back on restraints to fill the gaps in safe and evidence-based instructional practices. And I think the issues are pretty far gone now, with due process and citizen complaint filings. I wish this were all fiction as you would like it to be. What I read here is that BF Day is a school where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. So much for being a welcoming and inclusive school

Another reader

Day Teacher said...
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Anonymous said...

Did anyone attend the BTA IV meetings last week?

- North-end Mom

Anonymous said...
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Day Teacher said...

How do you delete your own posts?

Anonymous said...
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Josh Hayes said...

I really hope this doesn't get lost at the tail end of a fading thread, but I ran across this astonishingly "on fleek" blog post from a teacher who really gets it, and articulates it, so beautifully. This, THIS, is how teachers feel about the endless ravages of testing and other "reforms".

It's a lengthy article, but well worth the read.

Day Teacher signing off said...
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Mary G said...

Day Teacher,

I have learned a lot from this thread.

I have learned that there is an email which talks about calling 911 and sending children to the hospital. I have learned there is paperwork from several schools requesting help with dysfunction. I plan on getting copies of those documents.

I have learned that people still deny that restraint and seclusion happens. I have learned that if people don't see it, they don't think it is happening. I have learned that they continue to blame parents about complaining when their children are maltreated.

I have learned that there are many compassionate people, who are both teachers and parents who are concerned about this issue and don't know what to do.

I have learned that instead of working on the problem which is the lack of system-wide supports, some people want to blame particular teachers, particular principals, particular schools or particular parents.

The district is under the watch of both the state and the feds. Please, everyone, stop blaming each other. What we are experiencing is 10+ years of neglect of special education in Seattle, and in particular its SM 3 or EBD or self-contained programs.

Day Teacher can't fix it, nor can I. It's going to take a lot of work over a lengthy amount of time with a lot of people.


In the meantime, I would like to reiterate the position taken by the SpEd PTSA on HB 1240 which limites the use of restraint and seclusion to emergencies and eliminates the use of aversive intervention plans (plans to use restraint and seclusion in non-emergency situations), and ask Senator Litzow to pass the bill out of committee. steve.litzow@leg.wa.gov or 360-786-7641.

Thanks!

P.S. Watching - no, there were no counselors in the building. We need counselors and nurses in the buildings!

Anonymous said...

Email about "dysfunction". Gee. That sure doesn't sound very speddie. There's mail frequently about the need for more support from various programs, mostly SM4 programs. Maybe that is what the email is about, schools requesting extra resources. Nothing new, nothing extraordinary.

C21

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mary, for using your experience to help us down the right track. I called & emailed.

-tutor

Anonymous said...

A problem with there being a need to advocate collectively for system-wide changes in SM3 staffing PD and leadership --and yes to relieve the pain and suffering of the students and families in SM3 at BF DAY-- is that there is no advocacy voice or route for special needs families and teachers. Remember SEAAC? That was the venue for addressing systemic issues with District leadership. SEAAC has been dismantled. In the place of SEAAC, we have quiet time.

How are families and teachers supposed to band together to advocate collectively when the District has dismantled the normal advocacy pathways. Go to the School Board meeting for your 2 mins? Right (not).

Concerned

Anonymous said...

On another previously discussed topic - the math pathway in middle school - the CC guidelines suggest compacting curriculum, rather than skipping it, as a means of accelerating in middle school. Issaquah school district, for example, offers a compacted 7/8 class followed by a compacted 8/Algebra 1 class. 7th/8th/Algebra 1 get compacted and covered over the course of 2 years. This would be much better for advanced math students than the way SPS handles acceleration. It would allow students to self select for acceleration in middle school even if their elementary school did not offer advanced math

-parent

Anonymous said...
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Another Day Teacher said...

My dog bumped me and the above posted w/o my name. The above post is from...Another Day Teacher

Anonymous said...

SEAAC had devolved into a parent gripefest and took up the time of staff mainly forced to attend by their managers who themselves did not attend. A room whose only commonality was anger was not productive. It could have been helpful. It no longer was.

Old Timer

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Melissa.

And, I love the new Captcha scheme. More game-like and almost fun. Helps us all tell who the robots are...

- Civil Discourse

Watching said...

Mary,

Thanks for your response. I have been a strong advocate for keeping counselors in our schools. Your experience at BFD highlights an important fact. Sadly, our district feels it is more important to support data.

FWIW, I called Litzow's office and have asked others to do the same.

I looked up HB 1240 and was shocked and horrified that Represenatives Klippert and Cleveland put forth the following amendment:

" On page 2, line 23, after "interventions," insert "use of
evidence-based aversion therapy when positive behavior interventions
have failed,"
EFFECT: Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to
add to the list of eligibility criteria for special education
programs established by rule: the use of evidence-based aversion
therapy when positive behavior interventions have failed."

Fortunately this amendment failed, but still disturbing that someone would put forth such an amendment.

Thank you for calling these issues to our attention. I will be happy to help raise awareness and advocate on behalf of these children.

mirmac1 said...

Old Timer, since there's only one of you left I'll just say good riddance to the rest, and ask why do you fail to acknowledge the good work done by the task force (analysis and work product now removed off the district website) that is being carried out by other, more secure individuals in district administration. By that I mean Nyland, Gotsch and Aramaki. At its most productive, SEAAC was not attended by the poor long suffering staff, rather by top managers in T&L

Or do you think that whining about angry parents in eternal bitchfests negate the valid points they've raised and that old timers must now, finally correct under threat of losing $M in federal funds?