Thursday, October 22, 2015

Seattle School Board Race Updates

District 6
Last night, the King County Labor Council voted to rescind their dual endorsement for Marty McLaren and Leslie Harris to a sole endorsement for Harris.  It appears that Jonathan Knapp played a hand in getting the dual endorsement back in May but McLaren's apparent lack of support for teachers during the strike changed minds. Letter from King County Labor Council to Marty McLaren.

As well, Teamsters Joint Council 28 recently endorsed Harris.

District #3
Jill Geary received a unanimous sole endorsement from the 11th district. Six out of seven legislative districts have given her their sole endorsement and the 7th gave her a dual endorsement.

District #1
Some of you may recall that in the last school board election, that one candidate made claims that seemed to me to be embellished.  I did some investigating and found that yes, she had embellished claims she made at forums.

This has happened again in District #1.

At the Hale High candidate forum last week, Michael Christophersen said that he was working with someone at UW on an NIH grant that would help provide professional development for teachers working with Special Education students.  He that it was for $1.5M and he was told that if he didn't get elected, the grant would go away.

I did contact UW Communications and Media and they sent me onto the College of Education. It turns out the person he was working with is Dr. Virginia Berninger.  She is well-known in her field of Educational Psychology.

Here's what she had to say in an e-mail to my query on working with Christophersen:

There appears to be a major misunderstanding. One of the aims of the funded grant (and I have no idea where $1.5 million came from because it is not accurate) is professional development of educators to translate research into educational practice. To achieve this aim, I have been working with Mark Ellison Taylor at UW Extension toward developing on line professional
development courses for continuing education credits. The goal is to offer these courses for the first time sometime during winter 2016. But these are open to any educators in the country and are not specific to the Seattle Public Schools. 

Of course, schools in Seattle could participate if they were interested by contacting Mark Ellison-Taylor but in no way is this professional development related to the school board election.
I would like to make the facts clear.

1. It is absolutely not true that the grant will not be given if Mr. Christophersen is not elected. In fact, I have made it clear to Mr. Christophersen that I as a public employee cannot get involved in any political campaign. I believe the Seattle Times has endorsed his candidacy but that has nothing to do with the NICHD grant on learning disabilities at UW.

2. As part of the research aims of the funded grant, parents whose children complete our intervention programs are informed that they can invite one or more of their child's teachers to a one-time presentation on strategies for maintaining gains during the coming school year. We also offer pro bono consultation for implementing the recommendations for maintaining gains based on post testing if the school the student attends so wishes to consult with us regarding helping that student. But again this has nothing to do with Mr. Christophersen running for election to the school board.

3. Over the years, students from the Seattle Public Schools (and many other school districts) have participated in the NIH funded research groups on which I have served as P.I. 1989 to 2008, and 2011 to present. Numerous parents in our current study have asked that we share what we are learning with the Seattle Public Schools their children attend. There is a parent group that invited me to speak and I attended and that led to an invitation to return and speak to some administrators in the school district. Recently, Wyatt Jessee, Directed of Special Education, contacted me and told me that his colleague Kerry Hansen will be contacting me in the future. I asked that she wait til December.

When she does, I will tell her about the on line professional development to be offered by Mark Ellison-Taylor's program in UW Extension. 

Please know we are willing to share with the Seattle Public Schools and any other schools what we have learned from research funded with public tax payer money.

To summarize, in no way is our grant funding tied to political elections and in no way am I a part of Mr. Christophersen's election campaign. In fact I do not live in Seattle and do not follow election issues specific to Seattle.

I do understand the frustrations and anxiety currently felt by both parents and schools as they struggle to help students succeed in an era of high expectations and I care deeply about helping both parents and educators. But I have to restrict what I do to what is appropriate for a university professor. I hope you can get this resolved with Mr. Christophersen because I do think he sincerely wants to help children. But it has to be done in appropriate ways for all concerned. 

I asked Christophersen about this issue and got no reply. It appears that he did talk with Dr. Berninger but it does not seem - from her viewpoint - that he "worked" with her.  Nor does it appear that any grant is dependent on his election.

He also claimed that he was being smeared over issues with Sped PTA, said he would provide evidence and did not.


mirmac1 said...

Jill Geary also recently received the sole endorsement of Equal Rights Washington. She is the D3 candidate who will actually do something about the opportunity gap in our city.

Anonymous said...

Any candidate who says a grant will "go away" if he/she is not elected should not be elected. That's the equivalent of taking your ball and going home, and it shouldn't even be tolerated among children. No way.

- Scary

Anonymous said...

Voice of Northeast Seattle Schools has paid for ads on Facebook pushing their choices for school board. Any comments you make on what looks like a regular post, do not show up. It is called a sponsored post. I wonder how much it cost and who paid for it. VNESS keeps pushing Marty McLaren as someone who will offer stability to the board. I ended up blocking the ad because I was tired of it being pushed in my face without being able to comment.


Ann D said...

Wowzers about that UW grant statement by the board candidate. But if the UW Coop Ext. can (separately) offer continuing development credits that would be wonderful all around.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Melissa for one staying on top of the facts, as always. And especially for sharing information about Dr. Berninger's work on Dyslexia.

On the first point, how utterly deluded does one have to be to make such a bizarre claim? What a circus the board meetings would be if MC is elected and how could any serious work get done? There are a lot of challenges downtown and if MC really advocates for SpED he should pull his candidacy as he surely is unfit for the role... As we have seen repeatedly in his so-obviously-him postings; with off putting tone and grammar uniquely his. Time to do the right thing MC.

On Dr. Berninger's work. I would think that a full thread could be devoted to her dyslexic intervention; Utilizing computer programs over a series of 18 (?) sessions for 4-9th graders that can be seen through MRI to change the very neural fiber units associated with reading and writing to be more like non-dyslexic learners. It is truly amazing. And the program shows improvements in accomplishment for both dyslexic and control students (even for HC kids).

-Thanks MW

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa, I really appreciate all the information your blog supplies.

Are you a reporter? If I supply you with information, how can I be assured you won't expose my name? If subpenaed, will you go to jail to protect my identity?

The reason I ask is I noticed you have turned against many people you have supported in the past, why should people trust you?


Anonymous said...

I never heard Dr. Berninger's name spoken at Hale. I did hear UW, is that the same thing? How did you come up with Dr. Berninger's name?

Hale Parent

mirmac1 said...

I urge those of you who agree with me that MC should not be on the school board, be sure to share on your FB networks and among your friends and family. Tell them that there is a sensible and thoughtful alternative in Scott Pinkham.

SF said...

Good lord. Seems MC is both a bully and a liar. Here's hoping he never makes it on the board.

Joan NE said...


I asked Michael to explain his comment. Not knowing how soon M.C. will be able to responde, I am going to share what I know about this.

I have talked to the candidate about Dr. Berninger and her funding for professional development a few times a period of years, and most recently yesterday or the day before.

I can fill in all the details of what I know, but for now I will share only that most recently, what I heard from Michael was that a reporter at the Times told him that he (the reporter) was told by a District staffer that the District has been working with Dr. Berninger on the possibility or goal of having her work provide free P.D. to the District. I think it was two weeks ago today. As related to me, Michael called Dr. B. that same day to confirm if she was engaged with the District. She reported to M.C. that she had not heard from the District. M.C. asked Dr. B. if she could be available to receive a phone call from head of Spec. Ed (Jesse Wyeth) that afternoon. She indicated that she would so be available. Micheal then called Jesse Wyeth, and told Jesse that Dr. B. was waiting to hear from him. As reported to me by MC, Jesse said that he would call Dr. B. immediately. In fact, Jesse did call Dr. B., but not until the later evening. As I remember, M.C. told me that Jesse indicated to Dr. B. that he wanted to engage her, and would be in touch in November.

The most recent conversation I had with Michael occurred sometime this week (I don't remember exactly when.) He shared with me that someone suggested to him that Jesse Wyeth didn't not want to start working with Dr. B. until November because he was waiting to see if M.C. would be elected. M.C. indicated to me that he thought that Jesse's intent was to follow through only if M.C. were elected. I think it was the reporter who suggested this explanation for J.W's delay, else it was M.C. himself who came up with this theory.

I am very likely getting some minor details wrong, since I am relying on my memory.

I hope M.C. will be writing in soon to add any pertinent details and correct anything I have said.

So my interpretation of M.C.'s comment "The funding will go away if I am not elected." is that he expects Jesse Wyeth will not follow through his pledge to Dr. B. unless M.C. is elected.

Now, as a result of Melissa's inquiry into M.C.'s claim, and this speculation about why Jesse W. desired to wait to engage with Dr. B., I hope that J.W. will engage Dr. B. regardless of whether M.C. is elected. I think he needs to prove this speculation wrong or he (Jesse W.) will look bad.

In closing, hopefully M.C. will be making an appearance on this blog in the very near future. He is at work. I don't know how soon he can appear.


Anonymous said...


Your question is contorted. A reporter could always release sources and ALL those people MW has turned are vulnerable to her right now. And as you have seen in blog post after blog post she hasn't divulge a single source who then objected to said irresponsible behavior.

I think you are really saying through your question: MW is not a reporter and she can't be trusted. Seems odd that you would ask that on this thread as that is something MC has implied reportedly... And is off topic. I would recommend however that you search "bloger and compelled to divulge" and you will see MW is protected and in the case of such gravity a judge can compel her to divulge... Doubt it would ever happen consider the subject matter cover.

-perhaps MC?

Joan NE said...


[Sorry for typos above...I type fast and miss errors when I proofread].

I can see that it might sound like M.C. is saying that Dr. B. intends to withdraw her offer of free PD if M.C. is not elected. I can see from Dr.B.'s response that she also interpreted M.C.'s comment this way.

I suggest a different interpretation of M.C.'s is more plausible: i.e., MC was referring to the speculation that I indicated earlier. I assume M.C. did not realize how his comment could be misinterpreted.

I see that the time frame I mentioned (November) is different from the time frame in Dr.B's comments (she gave December.) Not sure what this is about. It could be that JW proposed Nov. and then Dr. B. proposed Dec. I don't know, but this would reconcile the two accounts. M.C. can address this.

On the "Bell Times are A'Changin'" post, I challenged Melissa and voters to look at MC's ideas, not just assertions about his character and hearsay about his public behavior (10/20/15, 4:36 PM). Melissa response@10/20/15, 5:01 PM was a pledge to investigate whether M.C.'s "big ideas" - as she called them - had a valid basis.

I am pretty sure she was referring to Q and A on M.C's Ask the Candidate blog.

It appears she investigated a misinterpretation of what M.C. his comment.

IMHO, Melissa is not very successful discrediting MC's "big ideas."

Again I invite people to look at MC's Ask the Candidate blog site, and judge for themselves whether he has good ideas. Readers will find a response to a question about accusations that he has behaved badly in public (as per what Melissa has been saying). I asked MC to provide the context on his blog for the quotes and paraphrases Melissa shared about MC from the candidate forums. Based on having attended two forums, I can see that Melissa's reporting on those events is biased.

Anonymous said...

Joan why don't you chill out until MC can speak for himself.

Joan = MC?

Christina said...

Blatant sockpuppetry can backfire on a candidate.

I don't know if the multiple pseudonyms sharing syntactical, grammatical and spelling idiosyncrasies are controlled by a stealth marketer or stealth campaigner, each one claiming to be owned by a different enthusiastic supporter of the candidate. It seems transparent, unless it's a covertly malicious tactic to discredit the seemingly supported candidate, but that seems twisted to me. Case in point: A strawman sockpuppet is a false flag pseudonym created to make a particular point of view look foolish or unwholesome in order to generate negative sentiment against it. Strawman sockpuppets typically behave in an unintelligent, uninformed, or bigoted manner and advance "straw man" arguments that their puppeteers can easily refute.

The pseudonymity could be strictly for kicks, too, I guess, like a Twitter parody account, but could harm public opinion if exposed.

In a previous election, supporters of a candidate would wave signs at events, talk about the candidate at extra-curricular students' lessons or team practices, wave signs on street corners, talk at coffee shops, doctor's offices, wherever; co-write opinion pieces published by local blogs or news journals. They didn't do these anonymously or pseudonymously. I wish we saw more of that this campaign cycle. Seattle candidates could benefit from the "Sunny Ways" style of campaigning that one political party used, resulting in its first majority government in 22 years.

seattle citizen said...

ES/perhaps MC -
Mr. Christopherson, no need to create this not-so-subtle subterfuge (posting a question, then answering it using another alias) to attack MW. Just post under your real name, it's okay. Less trouble, too!
; )

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hale Parent, I did my job. I called UW and asked questions (it's in the thread). As I said, Christophersen's statements at Hale's forum struck me as bombastic and yet I thought, maybe they are true. So I checked. They are not.

Joan, if any SPS staffer said that a pledge made would not be followed thru if someone isn't elected, that would be wrong. I doubt that happened. And I asked Christophersen before I wrote this. No answer.

I, along with many others at the Hale forum, know what we heard - Christophersen said the grant would not go thru if he was not elected. He may have misspoke but he said it. He also told the crowd to check everything that everyone on the stage said. He did.

Anonymous said...

MW, I was there and I did not hear him mention Dr.Berninger's name. I might be old, but I'm not hard of hearing. Where did you get the name from?

Hale Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Hale parent, I answered your question.

Anonymous said...

No you did not. It's a simple question, where did you get the name Dr. Berninger?

Hale Parent

Anonymous said...

Hale Parent, I am confused by your tactic here. Melissa said in her original post that she call UW and was directed to the College of Education, which is where Dr. Berninger works. See:
From the post:
"I did contact UW Communications and Media and they sent me onto the College of Education. It turns out the person he was working with is Dr. Virginia Berninger. She is well-known in her field of Educational Psychology."

To a standard voter like myself, who is just reading this to become informed about the candidates, your persistent insistence on this question that has been answered makes me wonder what on earth is going on with this candidate. I am less likely to vote for him, as it seems his supporters have some odd axe to grind. You aren't doing your candidate any favors, Hale Parent.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said...

Hale Parent, it appears MW got it from the College of Education. MC's mentioned on numerous occassions and he's discussed it on his blog, so not a secret.

Anonymous said...

He is not my candidate and it's irrelevant. I was at the forum and remember hearing the UW, and not Berninger. Do you argue with everyone who ask simple questions?

Oh, what's the point!

Hale Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

Again, if you think public disclosure requests are the be all and end all to activism, go for it. I don't think that ranks high on anyone's list but now you've pointed it out. If I deleted this previously, it's because it was anonymous.

Geary has not stated anything untrue to support her candidacy. Christophersen did. It not a dollar amount - he said the grant wouldn't be there if he didn't get elected.

Anonymous said...

Hale Parent, what answer are you hoping for, other than what has been provided? MelIssa never claimed to hear Dr Berninger's name from the candidate at Hale, so she is not disagreeing with you on that point. Melissa explained that she contacted UW and was directed to College of Education. What is your question? Do you want her to say the exact name of the person she talked to who said Dr Berninger's name? Why does it matter?

I find it humorous that you think others are being argumentative here.


Anonymous said...

Ok, now you're saying he didn't use her name, but you did research and found out that he in fact has some sort of relationship with the UW and or Berninger?
To be clear he did not mention Dr. Berninger's name, do you agree? You are saying he should not be elected, because he said, "He had the grant"? That's not what I heard.
You also claim he said, "unless he gets elected the grant would go away". That's not what I heard.

What is "his blog" where he makes these claims?

Hale Parent

Lynn said...

Hale Parent,

I knew that Mr. Christophersen was a fan of Dr. Beringer's and I did not attend the forum at Hale. He has posted about her work and his hope that the district will work with her several times in the past.

Lynn said...

Oh, now I see. You're hoping to draw people to his blog. Got it.

Anonymous said...

You brought up the blog, not me.

Hale Parent

Anonymous said...

Un - no Hale parent, you referred to "his blog where he makes these claims" and then Lynn mentioned it - just look at the thread above.
Sheesh, what is it about any post that mentions MC that brings out these posters? Hale parent is the one that has been doggedly demanding to know where Melissa came up with the name Berninger since MC supposedly never used it. Melissa never claimed he did, she said quite clearly in the post that she was directed to Dr Berninger by UW Media and communications. If this is not the person whom MC claims to be working with on a grant at UW, then why don't you please enlighten us as the the correct person.
All these MC defenders (or pseudonyms for MC himself) sure aren't doing him any favors!

bemused onlooker

Anonymous said...

No, mirmac1 did, when I said you, I meant you as in "all of you".

Blogger mirmac1 said...

Hale Parent, it appears MW got it from the College of Education. MC's mentioned on numerous occassions and he's discussed it on his blog, so not a secret.

10/22/15, 3:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, now you're saying he didn't use her name, but you did research and found out that he in fact has some sort of relationship with the UW and or Berninger?
To be clear he did not mention Dr. Berninger's name, do you agree? You are saying he should not be elected, because he said, "He had the grant"? That's not what I heard.
You also claim he said, "unless he gets elected the grant would go away". That's not what I heard.

What is "his blog" where he makes these claims?

Hale Parent

10/22/15, 3:21 PM

And never mind, I think I found the blog on google and there are no outrages claims being made there and just to be clear, are you claiming thegoodfight is christopherson, yes?

Hale Parent

Ed said...

What about the race in the 6th?

Anonymous said...

Re: the 6th District - has that ever happened before? that a major player rescinded their endorsement of a candidate? (not to mention a sitting candidate). Interesting.

Not touching the other stuff with a 10 foot pole ;o), though I do have my bag of popcorn handy....


Anonymous said...

From what I've read here and the blog post at It seems christophersen is telling the truth. Maybe he was a bit dramatic is his closing at Hale, but it's certainly not a lie. People this is an election, you should expect some embellishment.

We know MW supports Pinkham (read this blog), but we don't know why. I think she is using Pinkham as a toy. We know MW is still angry over the blog and she has made that publicly known(on this blog). This means she has a motive.

She has aligned herself with the SPED PSTA president McCormic, who is also know as Micmac1 (see earlier blog post). McCormick seems to have an even stronger vendetta against chrsitophersen over christophersen's investigations into SPED spending and quid pro quo. (got that from christophersen campaign blog) This means McCormick has a motive.

What I find delusional is this, after the obvious smear campaign by Westbrook she would think Christophersen has some sort of responsibility to respond to her questions. Really Westbrook, can you not see how ridiculous this whole thing is.

I can't even figure out the point of your blogging about Seattle public schools? Do you have a real job?

And we thought this was going to be boring election.


Elsa said...

All I can say reader47 is; its about time some body shook things up a bit rather than giving incumbents an expectation of a free ride for life. Its called accountability.

Ed said...

It seems the old Tom Weeks remark about labor (promise them anything but forget them as soon as elected), might be finally wearing thin in Seattle.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I don't recall a major org rescinding its endorsement before; it's possible.

Melissa Westbrook said...

No candidate has to respond to any questions but it's the fair thing to ask them the questions before you print something. That is what I did.

Anonymous said...

Disregarding the ironic, pot/kettle commentary about Melissa, I will engage.
Can you explain how you came to the conclusion that Mr Christopherson was telling the truth? Is "embellishment" you allude to the statement that the grant would disappear if he was not elected? Anything a candidate says could be checked for veracity, and this statement was shown to be untrue.

You said "It seems christophersen is telling the truth. Maybe he was a bit dramatic is his closing at Hale, but it's certainly not a lie." What is the "it" that is not a lie?

(Why am I still engaging?!)


mirmac1 said...

I attended the NH forum and heard him allude to a grant going away if he isn't elected. Too bad my SD card was full after taping his intro.

The intro was something entirely. As response I believe to the "Strangler's" endorsement of his opponent. As much as Christophersen would like to claim this was a joke (or maybe smear campaign?), here it is:

Anonymous said...

Ed, I totally agree with you. I have no idea what anyone will do once elected, so I need to look at what they have actually done in trying to change SPS for the better. I can't stand listening to vague political babble, who has the solutions we implement now, that's what's critical! I've watched various candidates morph their positions and statements based off the composition of the audience. When asked a simple question many are unable to utter a limpid response. As Elvis said, a little less conversation a little more action!

Here are my picks,

1. Christopherson (He has some dam good ideas)
2. Burke (I can't figure out the FEDex thing)
3. Geary (They are both reformers, I like the hair)
6. Harris ( You have got to have a protagonist)

Batting 100

Eric B said...

I heard the comment at the Hale forum as more of a "I got this grant, and I'm going to encourage you to read between the lines as to what 'this grant depends on the outcome of the election' means." I thought it was obvious grandstanding.

Amused, you do know that Christopherson came off as somewhat to completely unhinged in the Hale forum, right? My 7th grader who attended with me still refers to him as the rage monkey, simply because that was how he identified himself in the opening statements. She had never heard of him before that event.

Anonymous said...

Mircac1, do you honestly believe that wasn't a joke. Did you read the stranger? Oh right, you're the SPED ptsa president?

Enough said.

seattle citizen said...

"amused" (Mr. Christophersen),
Many of us are annoyed that he (you..."kate"..."Ed"..."Batting 100"...) put up a blog using the exact same address, minus the plural "s", as this nearly ten-year-old, respected blog.
A cheap trick, as old as the internet: hope someone mistypes an address and arrives at your website...

Anonymous said...

OMG @ amused! Where to begin....

"It seems christophersen is telling the truth". Um, NO he lied. That's not embellishment, that is lying.

"We know MW supports Pinkham (read this blog), but we don't know why. I think she is using Pinkham as a toy." Melissa has quite open in saying she does not think either candidate has the experience or expertise to be a school board member but that Pinkham is the lesser of two evils (not calling anyone evil in case you take it the wrong way MC, it is just a turn of phrase).

"We know MW is still angry over the blog and she has made that publicly known(on this blog)." Interesting that you would show how MC gave his blog EXACTLY THE SAME name (minus the 's') and copied everything about Melissa's longstanding, well regarded blog in effort to, I guess, piggyback off the reputation/credibility she has built up over years of blogging and activism. If I were you I would not draw attention to that as it does not reflect well on the character of the candidate/

"What I find delusional is this.........". Speaking of delusions, I suspect most readers here find YOU delusional in your attacks on Melissa and defence of MC.

"I can't even figure out the point of your blogging about Seattle public schools? Do you have a real job?" I can't figure out why you are posting on her blog about SPS. Do YOU have a job? I, and countless others, appreciate Melissa's activism, the information she provides, and the forum she hosts here immensely! It is invaluable in highlighting all sorts of issues in this district that many parents would not even know about. We all understand the point of her blogging and appreciate it greatly. She has been doing this for many years and I trust her. It must be practically like a full time job so good on her for doing us all this service without financial compensation.

Phew. I should know better than to feed the trolls but can't help myself.

This would be entertaining if there wasn't really any chance MC could actually get elected. I mean, if we think have a dysfunctional district/board now can you imagine....... I just wish the Seattle TImes would take a closer look.

Bemused onlooker

seattle citizen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The sooner this election is over, and Mr. Christophersen and his many, many, MANY online personalities stop their rude and aggressive online behavior, the better.

I am backing Scott Pinkham, for two reasons:

1) a friend whose judgment is excellent has worked with him for many years and rates him highly

2) Even if 1) wasn't the case, having observed Mr. Christophersen in person, I would vote for "anyone but" because he came across as disruptive and unaware of his take-over of the meeting for his own agenda. This struck me as not the sort of behavior that is conducive to being a good School Board Director, where "works well with others" is a key qualification.


Anonymous said...

And, twice? That hurts, Seattle Citizen! ;)

Kate, who really is a person living in Seattle named Kate

seattle citizen said...

Oh, sorry, Kate! Meant Elsa. Or Enough Said. Or maybe Hale Parent....
It posted twice like it does if I post from my phone and don't close the blog right from the post I'm commenting on.....deleted repeat.

Joan NE said...

Hi Melissa,

Unfortunately, there is no way to prove whether MC is using pseudonyms, or ever has. I realize it could seem like he is the person posting under psuedonyms. I also realize that someone trying to discredit him could actually be writing these obnoxious posts (and all the obnoxious posts that have been attributed to MC in the past). I wouldn't put it past certain person or persons to do this. I don't know how Michael could ever prove that he is not the person posting. I don't think that he could persuade any of the readers of this blog that it is not him.

I do think that MC's claim (i.e., that SPS will not engage Dr. B. unless he is elected) is a prediction that has a high probability of fulfillment. I have been hearing for at least a couple years about MC's efforts to get SPS to engage Dr. B. It was one or two years ago that a meeting was arranged (I recall at MC's behest) at which Senior Staff was to meet with Dr. B. and discuss her grant funded service. I recall MC complaining that only low level staffers showed up. This was disrespectful treatment of Dr. B.

I could understand staff not wanting Dr. B. to come in if she is independently funded. Right now we have Seneca coming in to do unannounced random spot checks on SPED service in the schools. This is in service of the Corrective Action Plan. I am dubious that these spot checks will be meaningful since Seneca is being paid by SPS. Seneca could always alert the principal of a bldg before they show up.

Dr. B. on the other hand, won't be on the District's paycheck. Given where she is in her career and her future plans (as relayed to me by MC), I doubt that she would be going in hoping to develop a relationship that would lead to future contracts from SPS. It is this profile that makes her especially worrisome to Central Staff. She would be going in trying to figure out how she can use her grant-funded time and talents to best help kids with SLD which is currently neglected as is partially documented on MCs blog. Even if she is eventually engaged by SPS, I make a bet that SPS will actually make it very hard for her to do her work.

I think this community is losing out if they chose Pinkham (a seemingly reluctant candidate who doesn't have much to say except that he wants better communication) over Christophersen.

Anyway, whether Michael is elected or not, I am sure that he will continue to be a factor in SPS. He is very good at public disclosure, and public disclosure is a very good way for private citizens (and even directors) to get information

Remember that even if MC were elected, staff is so reticent about sharing information with directors that Director Peters has to use Public Disclosure to get information sometimes. It is actually even possible that Michael is more effective as a private citizen, since if he is a director, the staff will swamp him with mostly meaningless reports and memos and presentations that he will have to read and listen to.

BTW Melissa (@2:42), I didn't attribute the "suggestion" so a staffer, I attributed it to "someone." That someone could have been MC or a reporter or someone else. I don't know. I don't remember. That is why I said "someone." It wasn't meant to be a reference to a secret informer or to staff. I agree with you that it is VERY unlikely to have been a staffer (unless it were a staffer who wants Dr. B. to come in). As far as I know the suggestion did NOT come from a staffer.

Regards SSSCB,
Joan Sias

Joan NE said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

For what it is worth, my child has been a part of Dr Beringer's studies on dyslexia. Dr. Beringer and her colleagues were very helpful to our family, my child, and her teachers. It is likely that if anyone called UW and asked about faculty members working with K-12 kids, they would be referred to the College of Ed and Dr. Berninger for she is well known for her work in this area and has been profiled in the Seattle Times. It is not a great mystery. The way Dr. Berninger describes her work has been my experience as a Seattle Public Schools parent. - NP

Anonymous said...

I believe the NIH should be informed of MC's comments. The NIH takes a very dim view of any appearance of political favoritism connected in any way with their funding decisions. I would suggest you look up the grant here:
This can be done using the PI's name and the state. It would then be prudent to inform the program officer managing the grant of the comments. The PI should also ask him to cease and desist.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Readers - once again, words have meaning.

I said:
"He that it was for $1.5M and he was told that if he didn't get elected, the grant would go away."

My notes reflect that was what was said and I know several people, if not more, that will back that up.

Joan says:
"I do think that MC's claim (i.e., that SPS will not engage Dr. B. unless he is elected) is a prediction that has a high probability of fulfillment."

Maybe Christophersen made this claim to you but that is not what he said at Hale. He was talking about the grant NOT being given if he isn't elected. It was nothing about hiring anyone nor was the grant for SPS.

I said NOTHING about Christophersen's writings here or elsewhere.

I have no idea what any relationship or contact is between SPS and Dr. Berninger. That is not the issue. Her e-mail clearly states what the grant is about and references nothing about contact with SPS. That is all a red herring to this discussion.

As I said with Dale Estey, don't shoot the messenger. I was curious about statements made at public forums for both candidates, followed up and these are the answers I found which do not back up the statements. At least Dale Estey can claim embellishment; I don't believe Christophersen can.

Pinkham is a hard to read, I'll grant you that and I endorse him reluctantly. But I wholeheartedly endorse him over Christophersen.

mirmac1 said...

Hi Joan,

We go back a long ways. And we can support Dr B while disagreeing on Christophersen's suitability for, well, much. Contrary to anyone's perceived "smear campaign ", there ain't no one who's done more to damage MC than himself.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac 1-357,

You sure that is the Joan you know. That blogger has only been active since a month ago. Just sayin'. I have no doubt MC is unhinged and posting repeatedly to his support on a blog where there is none. good gosh here is to hoping we have heard the last of MC.

_Troll Alert

Joan NE said...

HI mirmac1. I don't know what to say, but I am happy for the greeting and reconnecting on the phone tonight. It's been a long time since I've commented on this blog or talked to you. So at least you know that Joan NE posts are not "blatant sockpuppetry." It so happens that MC invited me to be a contributor to his Sped blog. I agreed hence the 2015 profile that links to his blog. He asked me to submit an article on how to write strong Annual Goals. (I learned working as an advocate that not only the goals, but the progress monitoring has to be very carefully written or the IEP is inconsequential.)

Hi Melissa.

My post must be really confusing. I wrote my post presuming that MC's controversial comment was a reference to a proposal from Dr. B. I had seen in the summer that I thought had to do with Dr. B. coming in to provide direct service or PD. I gave Dr. B's letter a cursory look and didn't notice that she was talking about free online PD. Maybe MC's comment was actually talking about this proposal, whereas Dr. B. thought he was talking about the free online PD. I really don't know at this moment.

Sorry for sowing confusion.

Joan Sias

Joan NE said...

"that blogger has been active only since a month ago."

As I said, the 2015 Joan NE profile was created by me when I tried to sign up to be a contributor to MC's sped blog, for purpose of writing an article how how to craft annual goals. I have not had time to write the article yet.

The 2009 profile is also mine. As I said earlier, I started using Joan NE a number of years ago. The description of me on the 2009 profile was valid at the time I wrote it. mirmac1 and I collaborated extensively on anti-ed reform stuff.

What has Micheal done for the community I was asked today. Well, he created his blog to share information with the sped community. He is trying to start a group to facilitate parents with kids with SLDs to meet and support each other. He tried to facilitate Dr. B. coming in to so PS on SLD. He has learned al ot through public disclosure that I think will be helpful to the community as it is parsed and publicized. His public disclosure work has already had certain profound impact downtown (he inadvertently discovered facts that lead to Z. Williams being fired.) There may be disagreement whether that is positive or not, but the facts showed that she was violating certain laws. Maybe staffers are little more careful now about following law. That's a good thing in my opinion.

Joan Sias

Feeling Concerned said...

Candidates need to be vetted, and I don't believe our system provides sufficient opportunity to do so.

If you have information about a candidate, and have concerns, we have a responsibility to bring information into public light.

I've noted that Scott Pinkham has received multiple respectable endorsements.

Thank you, Melissa.

uxolo said...

All School Board candidates and Directors should know that there is research on dyslexia that made big news in 2003 published in the book “Overcoming Dyslexia" by Yale’s Dr. Sally Shaywitz. Her work was received as a ‘discovery.’ There are procedures using the right curriculum materials that lead to successful readers when accurate diagnosis and instruction follow. Of course, the Supt., Ed Directors, and every leader in the Stanford Center should be well aware of this work. No excuses.

Linh-Co said...

The National Reading Panel also came out with statements of reading recommendations for phonics in the early grades. Yet SSD choose to ignore those by following Reader's and Writer's Workshop. There is no component of phonics in Reader's. Staff is aware but doesn't seem to care.

mirmac1 said...

"Maybe staffers are little more careful now about following law. That's a good thing in my opinion." Joan, no, it will be business as usual. Zee was naive and honest when she turned over her personal emails. NOBODY downtown does that. I know because I've asked for those emails and texts.

Anonymous said...

LInh-co, I'm not sure whom you mean by "staff" but the reality is that awareness of dyslexia is almost nonexistent in Seattle schools. Parents, teachers and even reading specialists may not have even the most basic understanding of dyslexia. Dyslexia is a weakness in the sound processing system and/or word retrieval process of the brain. They are not trained in it and just don't know. They don't know how common it is (almost 1 in 5 kids according to Shaywitz) what its symptoms are or how much treatment helps. They don't know that difficulty learning to read is almost always dyslexia. They just don't know. They think it is more common among boys. They think they only have a dyslexic kid in their class only once in a great while. They think it has to do with visual perception. They think that if a kid is a grade level there's nothing to worry about. (Gifted kids should be above grade level along with their gifted peers. With remediation they will be.)

Michael is resentful that no one seems to care, and yet he doesn't seem to have the most basic idea of how one might raise awareness in a way that helps people understand why they should care.

Reader's and Writer's Workshop reflects our complete ignorance of what dyslexia is and how common it is. The absolutely worst thing you can do for a dyslexic kid is tell her to go read silently. Phonics instruction is a step better, but it's not enough. Dyslexic kids don't have a complete understanding of where the sounds of English start and end. They may have trouble distinguishing between similar sounds like "m" and "b" or "j" and "sh". This shows up in their spelling, but teachers and parents don't know why. To build phonics on top of this incomplete understanding of the sounds of the language makes for a very shaky understanding of how to build and decode words from letters. Better than Workshop to be sure, but not enough to get to the route of the weakness.

To really address the problem, phonemic awareness must be taught to all kids either by whole class instruction in kindergarten and first grade or by identifying kids with low phonemic awareness and making sure they are getting instruction outside of class. Most dyslexics will benefit from one-on-one instruction from a speech therapist or dyslexia specialist. Parents should be made aware of this, especially now when schools do not have the funds to provide it themselves. We need non-profits dedicated to getting tutoring for dyslexic kids whose families cannot pay for private therapy/tutoring. Parents who do have the means should know how much private specialists will help their kids.

I would love to see someone on the school board who is well versed in dyslexia and has the communication skills to educate the people around her. Unfortunately, MC does not have these skills at this time, and I suspect his presence on the board would do more harm than good for the cause of dyslexia awareness. (MC, I do not think you are a bad person. I do think you have a lot of soul searching to do and you might consider studying communication and team building skills.)

Teach Everyone

Anonymous said...

About dyslexia ... is it a catch all in many cases for some not wishing to investigate further? Are there various types grouped under one label?

Three of my four sons => dyslexic (born 1975 to 1981)
We found "vision therapy" very useful - had to find it ourselves as elementary schools knew little back then.

Hope things are better today and progressing.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

Are there resources (locally or online) available for families who believe their student may have dyslexia, but whose teachers believe the child is fine? Is private testing the only alternative?

Is "dyslexia" the correct word for a range of reading disorders (not just flipping letters and words)?


mirmac1 said...

I'll tell you one thing. Dyslexia is high on the SpEd PTSA radar (in spite of MC). We will engage with SPS, starting from the position that these children must be identified and served from an early age. I'm personally committed because of the experience of another SpEd PTSA volunteer. We've already informed the district that we wish for SPS to put in place universal screening for SLDs in K-3, and will work towards that end. I have no doubt we will have a positive impact. MC is a non-entity as far as I'm concerned.

Linh-Co said...

@ XMom

Overcoming Dyslexia is a good resource for starter. There are helpful teaching strategies in the book. I used some of these strategy lessons with my own daughter when she was in 3rd grade. The kid qualified for APP but could not spell to save her life. She is not dyslexic but did very poorly on the DIBELS assessment. We knew there were some issues and consulted her 2nd grade teacher. We were told is was "developmental" even though her 1st grade brother could spell better than her. We transferred her to North Beach Elementary where they used to give all incoming K and 1st graders the DIBELS test.

We requested the reading test for her and it did show inconsistencies. She scored extremely high on some sections and bombed other sections. North Beach at the time also taught Linguistic Remedy which was effective for reading disabilities. The teachers were all trained in the method. They no longer do this due to pressure of using Reader's and Writer's.

Anonymous said...

XMom, dyslexic kids do sometimes flip letters (as do non-dyslexic kids) and they do sometimes switch sounds around in words which can occasionally be a flip, but the root of the problem is in how the brain processes sounds. I think that ALL parents whose kids don't pick up reading naturally should read Shaywitz's book _Overcoming Dyslexia_ This is an essential starting point because of all the misinformation that is on the web. Then, armed with a basic understanding, there are some decent online resources such as, the International Dyslexia Association website and LD-Online. I do recommend that anyone with the means to do so get a private evaluation and private speech therapy or tutoring with a dyslexia specialist. SPS schools simply do no have the resources to give these kids what they need. And don't wait if your kids is having unexpected trouble reading. The earlier a kid has intervention, the better the outcome because of plasticity of the young brain. It's never too late, but earlier is much better. Change is called for in schools, but it's not going to happen quickly enough to help today's vulnerable readers.

Dan, the understudying in the research world of dyslexia has come so far. These days, we would not call something that can be cured with vision therapy "dyslexia". Certainly kids who have vision problems will struggle with reading, but this has nothing to do with dyslexia. So it is no longer a catch-all phrase as it once was. Vision therapists who market their services to kids with a dyslexia diagnosis should be avoided. And I would recommend that parents not start with vision therapy because the vast majority of struggling readers struggle because of a weakness with sound processing. Vision therapy (which I understand is very expensive and time consuming) will not improve phonological awareness. I am glad it helped your kids though!

Dyslexic kids work hard while reading so it is tiring, and this can make it seem like the problem is with their eyes. Reading in a "normal" reader is automatic and pleasureful. Not enjoying reading is one of the symptoms of dyslexia. Others are mispronouncing words when young (think "pasketti"), talking on the late end of the curve, mixing up or dropping out small grammar words while reading aloud(he, she, it etc…), guessing at words rather than sounding out, a tough time reading names and other unfamiliar words, trouble learning math facts (while higher order math concepts are no problem) and trouble learning sequences such as days of the week and months of the year. By third and fourth grade dyslexia can become apparent because spelling is very difficult.

Teach Everyone

Linh-Co said...

Linguistics Remedy was extremely helpful. It improved her reading and spelling greatly.

Anonymous said...

Linh-co, my previous comment cross posted with yours, I didn't mean to repeat advise. I do love Shaywitz's book. Out of curiosity, why do you say your child isn't dyslexic? Everything you describe fits with a twice exceptional kid, especially the disparities in test results. In my experience, while hard on parents, the term dyslexic helps kids so much with their self concept.

Almost all kids who score poorly on DIBELS (especially gifted ones!) do so because of dyslexia. There just aren't many more explanations for it and she would be in a small minority if dyslexia were not the root cause.

mirmac1 said...

Teach Everyone, SpEd PTSA would love to have your input on the SpEd PTSA, particularly for our website and resources. Please email if you want to help us reach the thousands in our district.

Greenwoody said...

Someone way up above mentioned VNESS taking out Facebook ads for their slate. The most interesting thing about those ads is they're pushing Elizabeth Wong as a write-in candidate in the 1st District race. Wong is a former Gates Foundation program officer, which means she needs to be kept as far away from SPS as possible.

Ed said...

How 'bout that 6th district school board race, huh?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Teach Everyone and Linh-Co, your posts are very useful to me. Linh-Co, is "Linguistics Remedy" a book? I'm not seeing it when I google (is it Linguistic Remedies, the website?) or look at SPL.

My kid is in High School and has managed to do well to date, but the increased work load (and ironically, finally having to read out loud in class after all of these years) is emphasizing issues that I first noticed in 1st grade. Teachers seemed to think I was just unfairly comparing my kid 2 to my kid 1 and said I should chill out. Now I wish I had pushed back harder, but I didn't want to be one of those crazy parents. At this point, we're looking for strategies to help with the college reading load.


Anonymous said...

Teach Everyone,

Thanks for your response.

"Vision therapy (which I understand is very expensive and time consuming) will not improve phonological awareness." --- YUP, amen to that.

I agree. We also worked on ":phonological awareness:" ... hearing and speaking awareness is huge.

My third son's eyes were definitely not working properly. Reading was a problem and tennis no way. Several years after high school graduation, he eventually went back to school after years in the US forest service (Hot Shotting & Smoke Jumping) and completed a Master's and now teaches 2nd grade in Massachusetts.

Interestingly in MA teachers need to pass many tests. He passed them all on his first try. He said the reading test had a lot about phonemes, which had never been covered in the Evergreen State College two-year full-time Masters in Teaching program. He was pleased he had spent an afternoon in Seattle with former SPS 2nd grade teacher Robert Femiano, who taught him "what you need to know about teaching reading in grade 2". Robert very big on phonemes and phonics and not big on Reader's or Writer's workshop.

-- Dan Dempsey

Anonymous said...

XMom wrote:
"My kid is in High School and has managed to do well to date, but the increased work load (and ironically, finally having to read out loud in class after all of these years) is emphasizing issues that I first noticed in 1st grade. "

About reading out loud in high school....

In Lund, NV where each teacher taught a huge number of classes with very little preparation time the following happened. A teacher who was not an English major, by a long shot, was teaching 9&10th grade literature during period 1. The students spent a lot of class time reading out loud. On the MAP testing the gains made by those students were huge during the course that year. Testing was done 3 times per year for all 9, 10, 11th graders.

-- Dan Dempsey

Joan NE said...

HI Melissa,

This conversation on dyslexia is very constructive. I wonder if you could have a dyslexia conversation at least once a month for parents and experts.

I am very pleased the Special Ed PTSA shows some desire to serving the parents of the students with specific learning disabilities or suspected SLDs. This is absolutely a population that is neglected by central administration, and even (in my experience) are often treated with contempt by SPS, starting from the gen ed teachers all the way up to central administration. Parents of students with SLDs need a forum where they can meet and exchange information and offer support to each other. The IEP negotiation process is very much dependent on parent knowledge in multiple areas (disability, law, curriculum, accommodations, technology, district negotiating tactics, etc.). Parents can more quickly become effective advocates for their kids if they have other parents to get advice from. This is especially important for parents that can't afford a consultant/advocate.

I have heard more than one teacher declare that SPS does not have the resources to help the kids with SLDs because there are so many of them. I don't buy the argument that the district is too poor to serve all the kids with IEPS, and must underserve SLD kids (and other kids with non-pervasive disabilities, such as physical and medical disabilities) in order to adequately serve the high needs kids.

Yes, there are many many more students with SLDs than with pervasive learning disorders. Nevertheless, their needs are much less costly to address per student. First of all, these students rarely need more than a couple hundred minutes of SDI per week (often much less than 200 minutes/week is needed). 1:1 SDI is usually delivered by a low-wage IA (Sped tchrs' time costs $45/hour at present as I understand). The costs for serving these kids can be reduced if SPS would provide effective SDI and enforce the implementation of the accommodations in general ed. The specialized curriculum needed to be purchased is a trivial part of the SPED budget (it is very hard to get District to buy curriculum to meet needs of a specific SLD student). The number of kids with IEPs for SLD would of course be reduced, perhaps significantly, if effective early screening and intervention - such as North Beach used to have - were in place. Finally, if the SDI and accommodations are effective, these students can often exit their IEPs and be successful academically.

Joan NE said...

Additional ways to reduce cost of serving kids with SLD: use robust direct instruction phonics and math curriculum in gen ed starting atleast grade 1. The number of kids ultimately diagnosed with dyslexia would likely be lower, and the opportunity gap in math at every grade level will likely be lower.

Anonymous said...

(I thought I had posted- sorry if this is a repeat!)
XMom, please consider starting with an evaluation. That way you can get expert advice about where to begin with a high school student. Here is a link to Wabida's referral page:

Linguistic Remedy is a dyslexia intervention program. . (It is intriguing to know that a Seattle School used this in the past. I would love to know more about that.) I think more common these days is Wired for Reading. There is also Lindamood-Bell's Lips. Usually parents seek out one of these tutors after being evaluated and referred by a psychologist.

I know what you mean about not wanting to be the crazy parent. But for those who are taking a teacher's advice, find out how much they know about dyslexia. Ask them how many kids they think they have each year that are dyslexic. If the answer isn't at least "several", they have no idea what it is and what to look for. For now I think it is up to parents to figure it out. Parents will know more about how their kid acquired language in the early years, and they will be more aware of intelligence residing alongside the disability. (A teacher is likely to think this parent is overestimating their kid's potential.) They will also have a better idea if reading is enjoyable or not. So parents, please read, share and inform each other!

Teach Everyone

Anonymous said...

Joan NE's comments reminds me of this =>

Some years ago, a district changed instruction in its elementary schools. At some later time the percent of students classified as special education began rising. Upon careful examination and diagnosis of each student, the experts arrived at a new term.

"Instructionally Disabled Student" a student who appears to have a specific learning disability, but whose poor performance has been created by poor instructional practice.

It might be that the SPS is creating a need for more specialized service due to the effect of poor instructional programs on some students.

Certainly California's two decade plus love affair with "Whole Language" falls in this category. Yet amazingly the current NY City Schools Chancellor, Carmen Farina, is bringing back "Whole Language".

Are Reader's and Writer's Workshop doing OK?
Everyday Math was not.
Heath & Box are rolling out the new elementary math hodgepodge this year.

Guess we shall see how this goes.

-- Dan Dempsey

Linh-Co said...

@Teach Everyone

I guess I don't know if my daughter had dyslexia. I never had her evaluated. If she did, it was mild on the spectrum.

The reason we had it at North Beach was because of Principal Nikki Hayes. She also brought in Saxon Math. She was a firm believer in direct instruction. In its heyday, North Beach rocked all the scores in reading, writing, and math. Now their score is slightly better than average. Laura Rogan, the Linguistic Remedy expert, was brought in for a few days to train all staff. This was paid by the North Beach PTA and was a push from the principal.

I went to a training a few years ago for Linguistic Remedy at either Beacon Hill Elementary or Kimball. It was a training over a course of several Saturdays. There were about 25 of us and I believed the school that hosted the training had about 10 of their teachers there.

Linh-Co said...

For XMom - You're right it's called Lingusitic Remedies. Here's more info on Laura Rogan.

Laura Rogan Founder and Instructor of Wired For Reading

Laura Rogan, a skilled reading therapist, adult educator, counselor, and consumer-translator of reading research, possesses a unique combination of experience in school, academic, and clinical settings. She is recognized as a creative, and innovative educator, with a special ability to craft, and implement appropriate, engaging, and effective evidence-based learning strategies.

Prior to founding Wired For Reading, Laura Rogan, taught the Linguistic Remedies ℠ program to teachers for 12 years. She has been working with children with learning differences and their parents for twenty years. Ms. Rogan herself has dyslexia. She teaches Wired For Reading teacher courses, conducts in service workshops, served on the board of the Puget Sound branch of the International Dyslexia Association and still maintains her private practice of seventeen years. Wired For Reading is an evidenced-based, linguistics program for reading, spelling, and vocabulary. Wired For Reading simplifies English spelling patterns without compromising them, and empowers students to fluidly break down words when reading and spelling. Students learn to connect speech to sounds, sounds to letters, and letters to meaning.

Anonymous said...

Linh-Co, what year was that? So interesting. Laura Rogan is the creator of Wired for Reading, by the way.. It is sad to hear about such an effective parent initiative fading. All schools need a push like this.

Dan, R and W workshop are the exact opposite of what 20% of kids need.

Joan, what method will these IA's use? Will there be ongoing professional development for new IA's who are serving dyslexic kids? Will gifted dyslexic kids who score at grade level on reading receive this help? Will it explicitly teach phonemic awareness?

Teach Everyone

Melissa Westbrook said...

So I will get to a Sped thread but this thread was about School Board races and has gone way off track.

Linh-Co said...

Sorry Melissa. :)

Anonymous said...

Yeah. So it's back to "pervasive" bashing. Who does that? Those mean pervasives - eating up all the sped budget! BTW. "Joan", 1-1 from any instructional assistant is going to be expensive and not available outside of an intensive services program. No student gets all the service that they need. And what you're asking for might seem good, but truly it is not in the state's budget.

What you're asking for is actually not cheap at all. 200 minutes a week of 1-1 SDI, at $25/hr (about the average IA cost with benefits) is still around $80/week * 40 weeks = $3,200 per year. You'll still need services of a sped teacher. That will cost another $4,700/sld student if you count on a staffing ratio of 18:1 (current staffing ratio). So, receiving 200 minutes of 1-1 SDI and having a SPED staffing ratio of 18:1 is a total SPED cost of $7,900. WAY, WAY more than average, and WAY, WAY more than the special ed cost excess provided the district for an average disability by the state of Washington and Federal government. You are right. Indeed, high incidence disabilities can not be allowed to cost more than average or there would be no way to cover it. So any "plan" which eats up nearly double the state's excess special ed budget - must be reserved for the highest need (and most expensive) students. And that would not be SLD students.

If you want 1-1 IA service for 200 minutes a week. You'll need to offset that with a vastly increased caseload for the SPED teacher. (and we'll need a whole other CBA for that) Perhaps doable if the sped teacher's caseload was around 85 students. In that case, you'd reduce the cost of your hypothetical 200 minutes of 1-1 student to around $4,200 - which is about the level of the state's average sped student's cost. That still would be too much though, precisely because SLDs are so pervasive! (and the "pervasives" are not pervasive at all) Contrary to popular opinion, students with autism have very small numbers in the district. You can not save money - by squeezing blood out of so few "pervasive" turnips, even if they are relatively pricey turnips.

Could an SLD student in elementary get an hour of 1-1 from an IA? 1 hour a week at $25 is still $1,000. And even that is a lot of money. Basically, no high incidence program or resource room could offer even 1 hour of 1-1 per week.

Low wage SPED IA

mirmac1 said...

Old friend Joan. I ask that you not listen to others' attempt to categorize kids into "pervasives" and non-pervasives. It is incredibly insulting. That line of reasoning is contemptible and deserving of rebuke. Furthermore, I find the reference to "low wage IAs" insulting. Frankly, they are the workhorses and the best bang for yer buck in this district.

If you wish to obtain a complete understanding of these issues, I'm happy to engage. You know how to reach me. Otherwise I'm really sorry that your re-engagement into students' appropriate education has been on this front. Let me know if you would really like to have a positive impact.

Melissa Westbrook said...

We'll be ending comments for this thread now.