Tuesday Open Thread

What's on your mind? First day of school? Seattle Times stories? Upcoming Board meeting?

Tell us all about it.


Anonymous said…
Everett Herald article.


Public School Parent
Eric B said…
My kid is in a new 4th grade classroom, which was assigned to our school about a week ago. The teacher is yet to be hired, and as of this morning, the desks were yet to arrive. The sub could have a real interesting time tomorrow morning!
Anonymous said…
Optimistic for kid learning. Not optimistic for Seattle education politics. The Alliance is apparently already out in full force pressing the flesh so to speak of Banda. Hope he quickly realizes they are a very thin slice of pie in the voices of this district.

Carol Simmons said…
I attended a Seattle Retired Teacher's luncheon today. The Speaker was supposed to be state Senator Rosemary McAuliffe (D,1st) Washington's Senate Education Committee Chair, but she had an emergency and was unable to attend. Her campaign manager spoke in her place. He said she faces major reelection opposition by several of our state's tech industrialists....she does not support charter schools and is "targeted" by her opponent and those who do.

Superintendent Banda will be the SRTA speaker on Oct. 2 at The Canal 5300 34th Avenue N.W. Deadline for reservations for lunch and the program is Sept 24. 206-628-4214

Anonymous said…
Just accessed the Herald article referenced by Public School Parent. There is Shannon Campion again. Is she now with Stand for Children or fulltime Charter Spokesperson? I am confused.

If she is both, then I intend to get a few of my friends who have supported Stand for Children in the past to...reconsider.

Anonymous said…
On the McAuliffe news from 'Carol', I too have heard that LEV is pushing hard to get her ousted. This dismays me. It is another nail in the Coffin That Was The LEV I Once Loved. Its new political slant was already hard to stomach (charter-pusher). If it is going to become a politician-pusher-PAC, then I am hoping maybe someone out there can start a new group that is more education and solutions and less politics. Or maybe something exists that I do not know about? (I don't consider the PTA to fit that category anymore, unfortunately.)

Mary G. said…
So a charter group that is mostly funded by three well-known education experts (a founder of Microsoft, the founder of Wal-Mart and the founder of the Gap) set up "standards' for charter school laws? And we're supposed to be excited/surprised/pleased/stunned with the ,news that the Washington initiative, which was funded by the same groups, meets those standards? Thank God I just fell off the turnip truck. Otherwise I might think there was something fishy about this news.
Anonymous said…

Check out Karen Lewis of the Chicago TEacher's Union giving a speech yesterday. 18,000 showed up to support 26,000 CTU members.

2 summers ago, in the midst of the contentious negotiations with MGJ, a last minute half assed WEA SEA JSCEE demonstration pulled about 200 out for the 4800 of SEA. ummm.

Meanwhile, the WEA word about Chicago from Charlotte or anywhere - ya know, Chicago, the Duncan-Rahm world of charters and privateers??

Meanwhile, the WEA word about Chicago from Charlotte or anywhere ? Cowardice? Crickets?


Anonymous said…
SPED student seat in a general Ed class.

My kid was supposed to be on a gen ed list, have a seat, and all that jargon. It's on his IEP. Didn't happen and the school team is not responding to my emails and phone calls. Not even the principal! What should I do? I don't want to start the year with a reputation of a pushy parent but what can I do? This is a nightmare!

Sped student mom
Anonymous said…
You don't want to sound like a pushy parent????? Well prepare to be run over by the school bus then. If you're a sped parent, you WANT the reputation as the world's most gigantic pain in the ass that will file OSPI complaints and file for due process. Remember, you can also call sport IEPs... just to make them go to a lot of meetings. People with those reputations, get what they need.

You need to ask where your child's general ed class is? Tell them he will be sitting there all day. He will need special ed service, when HE needs the service. Tell them the district has funded other students with your child's funding and that you expect your IEP to be met... starting day 1, and that your child's butt will be sitting in his general ed seat. End of discussion.

You're either pushy... or a pushover. And, your child never benefits from a pushover. Honey doesn't work.

-sped Parent
Anonymous said…
Sped Parent,

Thanks for the advice but ouch! Which classroom would I take him to? I can't bear the thought of him being the only one with a desk without a name, no cubby, and a teacher who does not expect him. He does need sped services but not all day. Why should I have to fight for what is written in his IEP? This is so wrong. I was lied to, in writing no less.

Sped student mom
Jan said…
Sped student mom: that, however, is part of the "game." By making you fight with your child -- his feelings, self-esteem, etc. -- as part of the "ring," they increase the odds that you will back down and cave (this is a variation on the story of Solomon threatening to "split the baby." In all likelihood, only ONE of you cares passionately about your child's feelings and future (and, hint -- it isn't them).

Whether you plant your foot and turn grim, angry eyes on these folks in front of your child, or whether you come up with some reason to leave him home or otherwise do this at a time when he is not there, you may have to go this route, or get run over. As I see it, there are two possibilities here:

1. Either they have screwed up, but they DO care -- in which case someone, SOMEone, should be scrambling around finding a desk with a name, a cubby, a teacher, etc. -- so that your child has a place (at this point, you can douse the angry glare, but I would maintain the grimly set jaw for awhile, just in case); or

2. They really don't care (very much). In this case, they will care when you MAKE them care. Only you know what you can bring to bear (lawyers, ombudsmen, the press, local activists whom you know or who have an interest in your child, etc) -- but if they won't pay attention to a child you needs a sense of normalcy and inclusion, has an IEP that they are ignoring, there is no reason to think that they won't ignore a parent armed with nothing more than smiles and polite requests for them to do what they should (legally and decently) already have done.

Oh -- and there is a board meeting coming up -- and public testimony is televised.

Good luck.
Jan said…
One last thought -- IF there is a possibility that the problem here is not SPED discrimination, but merely "chaos" at a school that for whatever reason is scrambling (a bunch of late arrivals, a teacher or two who hasn't shown up, etc. etc.), then your child will NOT be the only one with no desk, no cubby, and no assigned teacher, and you can drop back into the herd of annoyed-but-trying-to-be-helpful parents, all of whom are trying to help the school create order from chaos for the first couple of days. A couple of years ago, a huge percentage of Garfield freshmen had no (or few) assigned classes, due to overcrowding. I would imagine any number of kids with IEPs were caught up in that situation that year.
Anonymous said…
Which classroom would I take him to? I can't bear the thought of him being the only one with a desk without a name, no cubby, and a teacher who does not expect him.

Exactly right! Your child should absolutely have a cubby, a desk with his name, and a teacher who expects him and knows what his needs are. Knows what he likes, what motivates him, and how he ticks. That is the very, very minimum bar. Not only that. He is FUNDED for all that. Anything less is theft. It's like somebody walking into your house and stealing the stuff in his room... and then saying. "This kid costs so much, doesn't really belong here in this home, so I think I'll take all this stuff for some other more worthy kid."

If your kid is in a "program" he will not be included unless you fight for it tooth and nail. He will do very little in the way of academics now, or ever. He will not participate in normal school activities like assemblies, plays, after school activities. If you doubt the assesment of academic achievement - go look at a middle school self-contained program and you will see what self-contained students attain by middle school. It will be multi-age, with a whole classroom of kids doing exactly the same very minimal thing.

Jan, are you from around here? There isn't a mistake here as you suggest there might be. This is the normal for special ed students in self-contained settings - and always has been.

-sped Parent
dan dempsey said…
Dear SPED Parent,

You wrote the following which I find grossly inaccurate:

"This is the normal for special ed students in self-contained settings - and always has been."

There are a number of places where this is NOT the case and certainly NOT normal. ... It is completely unfair for you to make blanket statements that cover every location and situation in "self-contained settings".

You lose credibility when you write such generalities and certainly offend a great many providers of service to which your blanket statement does not apply.
been there and done that said…
@Dan Dempsey,
I'm glad to hear that you don't think it is the norm. It would be nice if Seattle actually had recent statistics on how it handles Sped students. The report from the Urban Special Ed Leadership Collective from 2007 (http://www.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/special%20education/UrbanCollaborativeReportFinal.pdf) was pretty glum. And as far as I can see, without any real leadership, things have gotten worse. I went into special ed as a parent in 2009, as a nice, normal person, believing that I could get what my child needed and was required by law to receive by filling out forms, making phone calls and generally being nice, and it was a "transformative" process for me, and I don't mean transformative in a good way. I now don't believe anything I'm told, I don't think my son will get what he's supposed to get, I truly believe that any change will only occur if I am a complete "frothing at the mouth" bitch. And I'll tell you something else, I really resent what being a special ed mom has done to me as a person. Special ed parents don't get their reputations as nasty because they were born that way. Special ed parents act the way they do because this dysfunctional system teaches them that is the only effective means of getting what their kids need. It's really pathetic--but in my experience, the above exchange between two parents typifies my personal transformation.
Anonymous said…
Today was my last "first day of school." As I watched my daughter spring down the porch steps to the waiting carpool, I realized I will never have that experience again. Unless, of course, next year she allows me to sleep over at college so I can watch her dash our her dorm room.

I believe the hardest part of parenting is letting our children fledge and fly.

Anonymous said…
Raider Day yesterday at Nathan Hale High School was awesome. Lots of upper classmen to show the freshmen around, help them find their locker and help them find their classrooms. Nathan Hale seems to have a very nice community and I am happy we are joining it. I am anxious to see what my daughter thinks after her first day of high school! She is going from a class of 22 in 8th grade to a freshman class of 320!

HP fomerly FHP
CCM said…
Starting the year off with very positive thoughts! First day of high school for our child and the excitement this morning was great to see.

Happy 1st day everyone!
Unknown said…
I found this story yesterday of Mike McGill, superintendent of the Scarsdale District particularly interesting. He understands that there’s a difference between standards and standardization. I like the independence of his thinking and the way he works collaboratively with families. Dare we hope for this kind of leadership and collaboration here in SPS?

I was particularly interested to hear that he doesn't like AP. Neither do I. On a spectrum in which one pole is defined by a humanistic approach and the other a technocratic approach, AP is clearly on the technocratic side. I'd argue that IB (the International Baccalaureate) is on the humanistic side, and models more the direction we should be taking as our general approach. The IB is for me a great example of a rigorous program that assesses a broad range of skills, not the ability to take a bubble test.

BTW I have a post on my blog that you can read if this distinction between humanistic and technocratic interests you. I know my approach doesn't sit well with everyone, but I think it should be part of the conversation.
Anonymous said…

I like how IB makes your grades internationaly accepted. Our summer intern is a graduate of the IB program at Skyline. He is going to school at Cambridge University in the UK. I wish Seattle had more IB programs available and that it was more normal for kids to do that program.
Longhouse said…
"sped parent" wrote:

You don't want to sound like a pushy parent????? Well prepare to be run over by the school bus then. If you're a sped parent, you WANT the reputation as the world's most gigantic pain in the ass that will file OSPI complaints and file for due process. Remember, you can also call sport IEPs... just to make them go to a lot of meetings. People with those reputations, get what they need.

You need to ask where your child's general ed class is? Tell them he will be sitting there all day. He will need special ed service, when HE needs the service. Tell them the district has funded other students with your child's funding and that you expect your IEP to be met... starting day 1, and that your child's butt will be sitting in his general ed seat. End of discussion.

You're either pushy... or a pushover. And, your child never benefits from a pushover. Honey doesn't work.

-sped Parent

9/4/12 8:35 PM

I'm a long-time special ed. professional for the district. All I can say is "wow."

"Sport IEPs"? Every IEP for the 50-plus students I see takes me at least two hours for taking goal measurements, at least two hours to write the IEP, and at least an hour for the meeting. Every IEP meeting called means the loss of more and more time that could have gone into therapy for students... including your child.

I don't know what's happened to you and your child, but you appear intent on making other people pay for it... people who have devoted their lives to helping children with special needs who aren't the people who have wronged you.

Unfortunately, we've all had parents like you who have made our lives miserable with their anger and control issues. Some of the finest people I know who have cared the most have been harassed by people like you and have finally given up and quit.

I have personally seen misguided parents file OSPI complaints against the district and its employees when a 2-minute phone call speaking directly with that SpEd professional to clarify an issue would have solved the problem.

Instead, those professionals were required by the district to spend 80-100 hours responding to misguided -- and sometimes completely false -- complaints. Again, more time away from actually providing students with the help they needed.

I think sometimes parents think they are filing complaints against a nameless, faceless, evil bureaucracy. You're not. You're accusing human beings of wrongdoing -- sometimes without any information or knowledge of what's going on.

Ignoring the human cost, you are taking so much time and money away from students who need the help.

Next time, try speaking to the professional first as if they were a human being... because they are.

SeattleSped said…

Many of us would LOVE to talk to the professional who could fix a broken situation. Nobody returns our phone calls or answers email. These same people in positions of power will disregard the opinion of experts and see it as their duty to save dimes and deny services on an IEP. Unfortunately, our district's SpEd admin has been broken for some time, leaving parents and students in unteneble situations no recourse but to write useless emails to the Board, Exec Dir of Schools, the Superintendent and, yes, file OSPI complaints (many which prevail BTW). I would call a child without a seat, a cubby, a teacher an unteneble situation.

Parents do value the educators in the buildings. We are just tired of the vacuum and ignorance in the upper ranks.
word said…
SeattleSped has hit the nail on the head. If parents seem confrontational it comes from years of ignored emails and phone calls from the SPS and also from some principals.

I have seen some excellent administrators that are extremely responsive but they tend to be retired staff/principals that have been brought out of retirement to fill a staff void and they aren't beholding to the central office.

So unless the central administration's seeming policy of put parents off at any cost, is changed then antagonism will prevail.

Anybody had any luck with the new Ombudsman?
Christina said…
So, uh, what other school districts do SpEd parents eye as possibly better, if any? A mother I know in Shoreline has had a hair-pulling time getting an IEP for her daughter, and my child got his in a fuss-free five weeks in Seattle. This is my first year as a Seattle SpEd Parent and am still crossing my fingers, but maybe I should be fingering my cross as well.

Still waiting for MSP individual scores (not even the school had them as of September 4), although I doubt they will determine differentiated instruction where we are.
Longhouse said…

I agree with every single thing you said.

The Special Education Department has been broken and terribly dysfunctional going back so many years. We have had no one at the helm who had the training, education and character to do a competent job in more than a decade.

In fact, it's only gotten much, much worse in the last couple years. With the onslaught of OSPI complaints, lawsuits, due process hearings, etc. much of the SpEd administration has been focused on assigning blame for every conceived misstep.

As everybody knows... blame always falls on the lowest employee in the pecking order -- whether justified or not.

The response to these complaints has been that we now focus almost exclusively on covering our behinds and responding to administrative attempts to shift the blame down the food chain. We now document every step we take every moment of the working day. Do you have any idea how much time that takes?

I have seen administrators make decisions I thought were so wrong that the parents SHOULD have filed an OSPI complaint. I used to speak up about these decisions and I have had three different supervisors do everything they could to get me fired over the years as retaliation for speaking out. So far, I have beaten them all, but it gets exhausting to be constantly fighting to save yourself.

All I'm saying is: Parents -- at least please first attempt to talk to the line professional before filing any sort of complaint or even calling someone's supervisor. That's just common courtesy and integrity... at least it used to be.

SeattleSped said…
Agreed Longhouse. In my current OSPI complaint (sorry, but it had to happen), I asked for a mechanism for building staff to be able to anonymously report ethical breaches by SpEd supervisors and administrators. You shouldn't have to work in an atmosphere of fear and intimidation.
Longhouse said…

That is as great idea. I have colleagues who are terrified right now... especially after they have seen what I and others have gone through.

It's almost funny, but coincidentally one of my colleagues just emailed me to ask if it is safe for them to post to this blog. As we have been made aware many times, all district email is monitored by the administration.
Anonymous said…
Longhouse, if you're a good teacher, and do your best to collaborate with families, then I'm on your side 100%. And I truly do thank you for your service. You will have no problem with me. From what you say about your dedication - I do thank you.

But, when teachers decide kids don't need any general education (hello, this is really really common!!!!), because they don't believe in it, or their principal doesn't believe in it, or they can't figure out how to arrange staff for it, or decide not to provide services agreed to in the IEP, they just might hear from me. If they don't answer communication, or "protect" general educators from the bother of special education students and communication with sped parents, then we parents don't have a lot of options! One option is calling an IEP meeting to determine the problem, or simply to communicate. They can either do a good job when asked to, or they can go to a lot of meetings with paper work and heavy IEP process to fix a problem. Problems are likely fixable with less work. Sorry to have belittled the process by calling it "sport" (as a joke), but it is indeed the process, and it is painful! Parents have a right to OSPI,OCR complaints, and due process. They are painful, but they are necessary. The system is designed for conflict. Being a wall flower doesn't serve parents! When families ignore the painful parts of the process - they have given up their leverage. That's the only point!

Of course communication with staff is best!!! I assume everyone knows this. To let you know, I have a great relationship with my child's sped teacher. I have never filed a complaint, nor been involved with due process. I HAVE had to resort to written communication from time to time. I HAVE had to consult lawyers for problems but the problems have NEVER been with the sped teacher. I have requested extra IEP meetings - and that request has always resulted in a prompt resolution of the problem without the whole formal process. Good. Because who wants to waste time with that?

-sped Parent
Anonymous said…
Longhouse, it's important to remember that we have IEPs as part of IDEA. The reason we IDEA and IEPs is because school systems fundamentally do not want to teach children with disabilities. At all. Before there was IDEA - students stayed home. The IEP is there to protect students from a system that fundamentally doesn't want to teach them, or even consider them. And, therein lies the basic conflict in the system.

It's very easy to call parents "misguided" and blow off their complaint. The communication goes both ways. If staff notices that someone is headed down that path, they too can try to fix the problem before it goes to OSPI (or elsewhere).

Good luck with your new students! If you're a therapy provider - I hope you are providing services starting the first week of school.

-sped Parent
Kathy said…


No on 1240- Don't Be Charter Fooled- web site and facebook page is up and running!

Please consider supporting this campaign by clicking "like" on facebook, volunteering, contributing or talking to 5 friends.

Donations and volunteer sign-up can be done on web-site.


G. Margie said…
sped Parent said:

If you're a therapy provider - I hope you are providing services starting the first week of school.

Whoa. I'm a related services provider who was with you until that last threat.

Do you actually think you know our jobs as professionals better than we do? Have you ever even spoken to a service provider about her job and tried to understand what we do?

Then please explain to the hundreds of related services providers in the district how to start providing service to kids the first week of school when virtually all of us didn't get our school assignments until last Thursday.

Many of use are still finding an acceptable workspace in schools that are new to us. Then we have to find things as basic as a table or computer to fulfill job requirements. Then we have to move in or procure necessary therapy materials.

After that we have to try and find out what students at the school receive related services. Many more students than you realize move around the first couple weeks of school or don't show up until days into the school year. The system for knowing which students receives SpEd service has huge holes in it.

After that we have to phone or email colleagues to have a student's file sent to us through school mail which usually takes 4-5 business days.

Regular ed. teachers HATE it (and then hate us) for removing a child from their classroom the first week before the they have established a classroom routine. We can meet and observe students, but without the file that has the most recent updated progress information, initial sessions are spent establishing therapy starting points that are already provided in the file. This then becomes token therapy just to placate an angry parent who thinks they know more about our jobs than we do.

Teachers also HATE it (and again hate us) when we pull a kid out of class without first establishing an approved therapy time. Every school takes at least two weeks before they establish their reading and math block times -- which are sacrosanct and cannot be violated for any reason. After that, teachers establish their PCP times when kids go to PE or music. By federal law, we are not allowed to remove a student from PE for any reason.

After that happens, the school's resource room teachers get first crack at scheduling. Sometimes this takes at least two weeks. Any therapy times we may have arranged before this can -- and are -- completely co-opted by the resource room teacher.

So after 2-3 weeks that leaves us related service providers to come in and schedule.

I am appalled at how you think you know more about what we do than the professionals who are trying to help your child. Parents with a chip on their shoulder like you have made our jobs so much more difficult.

In the ends, it's the kids who really get hurt by these nonsensical policies imposed by people who have no idea what we do.

Anonymous said…
I graduated a student from SPS last June and know kids from Ballard, Roosevelt, Garfield, Ingraham, Center and NOVA who are continuing thier education all over the country.

UW, Western, Whitman, UCLA, NYU, Emerson, RISD, Cal Poly, Occidental, Linfield, Reed...the list goes on.

It's a long and bumpy road in SPS and I know that more than once I questioned our decision to stay "public."

In the end I am happy we stayed. These young men and women, all products of a large urban school district, are prepared to succeed, each in their own way.

So, hang in there, much of the success of our schools depends on parents willing to roll up their sleeves and get dirty! If private school seems like greener grass, remember all that glitters is not gold. There is ALWAYS a trade off.

Good luck for 2012/13!

Anonymous said…
Gee Margie, you're quite defensive, and "parents have such big chips"??? I do know my child's therapy has almost never started until halfway through November. Often, providers are not even assigned to the building until then. This has been a really big issue for SEAAC and sped_ptsa. I also know OSPI has issued corrective action this year on a complaint against the district for exactly this: failure to provide services until well into the year. Failure to pay for provision of service starting day 1. Failure to assign staff to buildings. I wonder if providers and/or schools are aware of this?

I am not "blaming" providers. Really. When you think about it. Why isn't the space figured out BEFORE students arrive? Why don't teachers have schedules ready to go BEFORE students arrive? Why isn't all service scheduling already figured out BEFORE students arrive? That is all totally avoidable. All the information is already known to the school. And IDEA requires that the school provide it on the agreed schedule, not whenever the school gets around to it. Students getting used to the schedules - well, that is something that is part of the student's learning. To sort of make excuses for the system, and blame evil chip bearing parents... really does not put students first.

But hey, I didn't file the complaint, nor does it particularly bother me in the grand scheme of things! And I do get it! You need to observe and kids need established routines. So great! Observe away.

By the way. You absolutely can provide therapy during PE or recess. You integrate it into the PE or recess setting. That's the way a lot of us like it anyway! LRE. Not in a pullout. If you're worried about me in particular, don't. My kid doesn't get either recess or PE.

-sped Parent
Jan said…
I am glad some SPED professionals have written in in defense of the work they do. Virtually ALL of my problems in SPED have been with the downtown crew (if you can call the absence of any contact at all, a problem) and regular classroom teachers whose idea of IEP implementation was to totally ignore it, or whine about how they couldn't implement it. It has never been with the SPED teachers/service providers in the buildings who actually worked with my kid. While not all of them had halos and wings, several did, and all were at least on board and trying. For me, at least, it has been important to not get so frustrated that I fall into the "victim" trap where I somehow feel entitled to just be mad at everybody. I stand in total awe of the work that some of my child's SPED teachers have done. They are people I can only aspire to be.
Jan said…
sped Parent -- you are right about the beginning of year delays -- but so is Margie. If she doesn't have a list of kids (and files on them), how CAN she start. This is a system problem (either at the building level or the larger district level). To blame the front line folks for things that have to be solved over their heads is like yelling at the flight guy at the counter when the flight is delayed or cancelled. They are handy, but they can't fix it.

But I also think that SPED folks need to push back on teachers if the delays are unreasonable. This needs to be a negotiated deal, with the best interests of the kids (not just the classroom teachers) in play. And it always seems to me like the SPED folks seem to have a hand of 2s and 3s. Why is that? Why is SPED so seemingly powerless in the school hierarchy?
SeattleSped said…
As the originator of the OSPI complaint regarding delays in provision of related-services (sorry, but again district admin was at fault and findings supported my claim), the district was admonished to comply with IDEA and provide services as soon as possible. This was made to protect building staff and students who a) received assignments late; b) were not provided the information and resources necessary; c) all the other things you described.

WAC 392-172A-03105
(1) At the beginning of each school year, each school district must have an IEP in effect for each student eligible for special education that it is serving through enrollment in the district.

(2) For an initial IEP, a school district must ensure that:

(a) A meeting to develop the student's IEP within thirty days of a determination that the student is eligible for special education and related services; and

(b) As soon as possible following development of the IEP, special education and related services are made available to the student in accordance with the student's IEP.

(3) Each school district must ensure that:

(a) The student's IEP is accessible to each general education teacher, special education teacher, related services provider, and any other service provider who is responsible for its implementation; and

(b) Each teacher and provider described in (a) of this subsection is informed of:

(i) His or her specific responsibilities related to implementing the student's IEP; and

(ii) The specific accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided for the student in accordance with the IEP

So we're still on the same side.
RosieReader said…
HP -- There's a third IB program in the works, at Rainier Beach. While you (and I) love IB, others folks prefer the more traditional AP approach, so it's hard to guess whether there is much additional pent-up demand for IB that's not being met. Certainly, IB participation has increased in recent years in SPS. And there are early indications that more IB students are opting to seek the full IB diploma (instead of just taking a few IB courses), following the recent legislative changes that minimize the number of additional graduation requirements beyond those that are part of the IB Diploma program. But whether that translates into a need for more IB opportunities remains to be seen in my estimation.
Marquette said…
Sped Parent says "Remember, you can also call sport IEP's...just to make them go to a lot of meetings."
Apparently, 'sport' meetings mean calling an IEP meeting just for the sport. Another words, just to waste their time and piss them off. Hmmmm...you might want to think that one through. Pretty mean-spirited! And targeting, once again, the lowly staff on the totem pole that are working their butts off to serve your student.
Annie said…
I suppose some OT/PT's might be able to provide service during PE, but what about services from an audiologist or vision specialist or speech therapist.

Do you really want the speech therapist to be teaching your child where his/her tongue needs to be for an "s" sound while the kid is getting hit in the head with a red rubber ball?

Why do you keep acting like you know the teachers' jobs better than they do?
Mary G. said…
The following (split message due to length) is an example from my notes of the difficulties in obtaining SL services for our son. I am not putting the blame on anyone, but you can see that it was a total pain and took 7 months. Due to difficulties we had at SPS in the 2009-2010 school year, we privately pay for our son to attend a private school on Mercer Island. He was noted by his psychiatrist in June of 2011 to have serious expressive language difficulties, so she recommended getting a speech language eval, which we obtained at private expense over the summer of 2011. Here are some of my notes:
Mary G. said…
(this message split in 3 parts due to length--this is second part)
28-Sep-11 phone call to Robin Olney Sp Ed Services for SPS students placed in private schools
Oct 2, 2011 phone call to Robin Olney, leave message
Oct 5, 2011 left message with Robin Olney
14-Oct-11 email to Robin Olney, cc to Becky Clifford
14-Oct-11 Robin Oleny responds, states she forwarded my message to district speech and motor coordinators
14-Oct-11 Robin Olney 2nd email, states I need evaluation for speech and motor through Mercer Island Public Schools. Once complete, Seattle will request records, determine eligibility
17-Oct-11 Email to school psychologist at Mercer Island, requesting evaluation
21-Oct-11 Email to school psychologist at Mercer Island, requesting evaluation
22-Oct-11 Phone call to Mercer Island school psych. Left Message
24-Oct-11 Mercer Island school district psych calls. States will mail me a packet.
25-Oct-11 Packet received in mail. Signed permission for evaluation and filled out forms.
26-Oct-11 Packet driven over to Mercer Island District Headquarters and hand-delivered.
Nov 11-2011 Receive notice in mail that eval meeting will occur on 11-21-2012
11/21/2011 Evaluation meeting held with School psych, Speech therapist and sp ed teacher
10-Jan-12 MI School Psych email, notes that eval due Jan 30. Evaluation feedback meeting scheduled for January 27, 2012
27-Jan-12 Evaluation feedback meeting held. Son qualifies for SL services per Mercer Island school district. The eval used is the one from the private speech language pathologist that we paid for over the summer of 2011.
31-Jan-12 Email to Robin Olney that eval is complete. What are next steps.
2-Feb-12 email to Robin Olney, cc to Becky Clifford
3-Feb-12 Robin Olney responds via email. Tells me to contact Pat Whitmore.
3-Feb-12 Left phone message for Pat Whitmore
10-Feb-12 Left phone message for Pat Whitmore's assistant
14-Feb-12 Left phone message for Pat Whitmore
Feb 22-12 Email to Pat Whitmore. CC to Becky Clifford. Losing my patience (unbeknownst to me this is mid-winter break)
Feb 23-12 Email to Pat Whitmore. CC to Becky Clifford and Susan Enfield. Tell them I have faxed a complaint to the education ombudsman.
Mary G. said…
Last part of three part message on difficulties of obtaining services:
Feb 27-12 Letter by certified mail as well as email attachment to legal department at SPS. Requesting immediate response regarding provision of SL services. Tell them that under WAC 392-172A-03105 (2)(a), Seattle Public Schools had 30 calendar days from the determination that our son was eligible for special education and related services to hold a meeting to develop his IEP and is, of this date, now out of compliance. If no action taken by Seattle Public Schools by March 5, will file citizen's complaint on March 6.
Feb 27-2012 Receive phone call from Pat Whitmore. She explains that I need to enroll our son in SPS to for the process to continue.
Feb 27-2012 Pat Whitmore sends me enrollment form via email attachment. I fill it out and return it to SPS same day via the enrollment email services at SPS.
Feb 29-2012 I do not hear from SPS enrollment services. I call & they say that my enrollment is mixed in with all the enrollments for Fall of 2012. I will have to wait several weeks for them to find it, that I should have hand-walked it in and gotten a stamped number on it. I am in tears. I call Ron McGlone at the suggestion of someone in enrollment services.
Feb-29-2012 Ron McGlone calls me back and finds the form, enrolls Skyler and Hurray! emails the enrollment confirmation to both me and Patricia Whitmore.
Mar 14-2012 I receive a packet of forms in the mail from SPS which says it has been 3 years since our son has been evaluated for special ed and that I will need to fill out forms and submit them before he can receive any services. I am hysterical. I email Patricia Whitmore. She responds by saying it was probably a mistake that was automatically generated by his enrollment and that I should discard the packet.
Mar 16-2012 Pat Whitmore calls and schedules an IEP meeting at Mercer Middle School with the SLP and me for Mar 21, 2012
21-Mar-12 IEP meeting held. First SLP services scheduled for Apr 11, 2012
11-Apr-12 First SLP services received
Jan said…
MaryG -- I am so sorry. I had a year like this once, as well -- but fortunately, it was the transition year before we started at SSD, so I had the educational services I needed -- I just couldn't figure out how to transfer into the SSD. You have taken MUCH better notes than I did, but the entire thing sounds so incredibly (and awfully) familiar.
Anonymous said…
Mary G and ofhers,

As an SLP in the Seattle School District all I can say about the experience outlined above is: 1. You were incredibly patient and the district is lucky you didn't file a citizens complaint and 2. Your experience was very unusual (at least I hope so). Enrolling a CD only student usually takes less that 45 days from receipt of "consent to assess" to initiation of IEP services, regardless of the enrollment status. I guess your problem was that you had to deal with JSCEE staff.

Anonymous said…
It's great to learn that so many of our SLPs and/or other district staff have plenty of time to blog during the school day about the high quality service they provide, and about how ignorant parents are about that service provision. And all this blogging on the first day no less.

Mary G. said…
I am going to add one more thing. Our SLP is excellent. I contacted her to find out whether we still had our same appointments on Wednesday afternoons and whether we were on today and she emailed right back and said she still didn't have her assignments and hadn't been able to set her schedule but will let me know once she does. SLP's can only do what is humanly possible.

Our difficulties were mostly due to unreturned emails and phone calls on the part of central staff, Mercer Island Public schools dragging its feet on the eval and poor timing. I don't have any more patience than anyone else, I just didn't have any choice but to slog on through. I never did get a good feel for why it always took ccing Becky Clifford or threatening legal action to get any response. Is it because they have too much work down at SPS central? Is it because my emails were going into their spam folders? Who knows, but lacking any better explanation, I do feel, based on this experience and several others, that it is sort of the modus operandi of central administration. It's very frustrating, and I speak and write English fairly well, and I have a computer in my house connected to the internet as well as a cell phone and a land line. Just think how successful I would be if I didn't have those advantages.
SeattleSped said…
I'll just reiterate that, based on a) parent reports: b) district and school records; and c) independent investigation, OSPI found that district admin did not provide the coordination, management, and support necessary for related-service providers to satisfy the requirement in the IDEA to provide IEP services as soon as possible. This was not arbitrary. In fact, these are the only incidences when they were caught red-handed. It ain't about a game of gotcha. It's about making everyone accountable, particularly the upper echelon of managers who don't answer their phones or email.

Frankly, I appreciate the related service provider who, by posting, supported the basis for my complaint. Thanks for letting us know the conditions you are placed in by your bosses, and for what you do to help our kids.
Anonymous said…
Mary G
While I'm not a SPED teacher, from 5000 feet your problems are very similar to the problems of us high school teachers - endlessly conflicting regulations + stupidly implemented laws + magic solution laws from the incompetent = public education!
Maybe someday people who concoct all this policy and all this crap will not be allowed to concoct anything they haven't paid for.
When I hear people praising Ted Kennedy to the heavens, I think of that complete piece of unfunded garbage NCLB, and I regret voting for him. At least Bush honestly lied to make us all serfs by pushing NCLB.

Best of luck with all those who

Anonymous said…
My kid's first day at school as a student receiving special education services in general education was very upsetting. The staff was not ready, was not up to speed on her accommodations. They were openly winging it as if she only needs to be managed instead of being provided with specific instruction. Welcome! We hope you leave soon! We're going to try our best to discourage you! By now!

I am at a loss as to why Mr. Banda our new Superintendent hired somebody with no professional SPED expertise to oversee SPED. We need more than somebody signing for a taxi here and a taxi there.

Jan said…
SLP said: "I guess your problem was that you had to deal with JSCEE staff."

Anonymous said…
It was my experience as a sped parent, and the experience of other sped parents we knew, that the only way SPS does their job is when you sue. Ask around. There are Seattle lawyers who specialize in disability law and will help you gain access to services. SPS isn't alone. There was a case against Issaqauh that resulted in a student being sent to private school out of state to meet his ed needs. It didn't have to go that far, did it? I'm sure there are sped teachers who are there for their kids but they're not running things. As always look at the deadwood at the top.

Mr White
Anonymous said…
Addendum: " that the only way SPS does their job is when you sue."

I'll amend my comment. In my experience this wasn't true 100 % of the time but the hell one parent talks about, from August until April, is avoidable only IF you sue. That was true 10 years ago. Mirmac1, have you looked at how often SPS settles in these cases?

Mr White
dan dempsey said…
KnowWhatYourJobIs wrote:
stupidly implemented laws + magic solution laws from the incompetent = .......

Try the following for another example of the ed business......

J.R. Wilson at Ed News offers a comparison between buying a car, and the Common Core standards. Bottom line: You have more protections when you purchase a car.

mirmac1 said…
Mr White,

I have received data on $$ spent on litigating SpEd disputes, but am doubtful I would get any info on cases settled.

I heard anecdotally that settlements bar disclosure details, like a since disgraced practice in Santa Monica:

"Including confidentiality clauses in agreements on a student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) had been roundly criticized since last May, when parents told the Santa Monica City Council they lived in fear of losing extra services for their children through an inadvertent slip of the tongue.

Entered into after there is a breakdown in negotiations for an IEP, settlement agreements are seen as one way to avoid a costly legal battle. Confidentiality clauses bar parents from speaking to a third party about services their child receives."

School board scraps special ed gag orders
Longhouse said…
Observer said...

It's great to learn that so many of our SLPs and/or other district staff have plenty of time to blog during the school day about the high quality service they provide, and about how ignorant parents are about that service provision. And all this blogging on the first day no less.

Like many related services providers, I work part time to care for my children.
Anonymous said…
Re: "It's great to learn that so many of our SLPs and/or other district staff have plenty of time to blog during the school day ..."

Smells like a comment from admin. rather than a sped parent. I know where the problem is and it's NOT the parents (although some do make me want to run and hide when I see them in the building... But I would be doing the same advocacy for my own child if the shoe was on the other foot).

Anonymous said…
Under the PRA, no settlement between a school district and another party (sp ed students or parents included) can be deemed confidential. You can ask for all settlement agreesments entered into by SPS in the last five year , including but not limited to agreements with current and former employes, associations and unions, and current or former students or their families, and you will get quite the reading material. Student specific identifing information will be redacted, but not terms of the agreement. If you want get more, ask for documents relating to any agreement by SPS to provide compensatory services or education, or to find or reimburse parents for privately obtained services, wether those be through settlement agreements, letter/email, compensatory education agreements, prior written notices or any other form. Ask for the documents to be provided electronically, saving the copy costs. You may have to wait a month for Collen the Public Records Officer to pull it together, but it will be very enlightening.

-You will be amazed.
Mary G. said…
@ Anonymous, regarding public records, I have made two public record requests. The last wait time was 10 weeks, and I was not amazed. And I didn't even make nearly the broad requests that you are suggesting. If someone does do something like that, perhaps they should share the info so that Colleen is not clogged up with multiple requests for basically the same information.

Along the same lines, I saw with the incident with the teacher in Gig Harbor that the TV station had obtained information about a teacher's previous disciplinary actions. How did they obtain this information? I want to obtain information about two teachers and prior use of inappropriate (prone) restraint. Does anyone know if this is classified as public information? I have made the broad request about use of prone restraint and other restraint usage for the district and was told that the district does not compile that information. In fact, the district does not even have a system in place for even collecting that information, as is required by the state and the DOE department of civil rights. Can anyone help me with this information?
mirmac1 said…
Thank you Amazed,

I learn something about the PRA everyday. I'll let someone else bird dog this one though. Colleen has been a very conscientious public records officer, in my book.
Eric B said…
The new classroom opened on time, with desks and a teacher and everything. I was very impressed with how prepared the teacher was, especially given only a few days notice that he would be starting up a class. Many thanks to all of the volunteers and teachers who helped get the room ready.
Ananda said…
Mary G,

The requests I described are very specific actually. The General Counsel's Office already has copies of all formal settlement agreements. The Sp Ed department has all of their agreements because they have to track and report to OSPI and have available in an audit. Other requesters before me have asked for some of what I wanted, so the records officer (Joy then) already had it easily available to her. They can't just arbitrarily say ten weeks, if they have the materials already available they have to provide withing 5 days. SPS has lost PRA cases in the past for delays an withholding by exempt material, had to pay the requestor's attorney's fees and a per day per records fine. If you know this and push back when you get the polite it will be six months response, they tend to speed up. To be fair, I know that Colleen was swamped with reuqests for very broad things that required a lot of redactions (ie every email Becky Clifford sent or recieved) and every document related to TFA (including emails) not matter the sender. Those are the broad, time consuming requests because they have to do email archieves search.

As to getting employee files, what you will get will depend on if there was an investigation of the incident that determined there was wrongdoing. If there was no investigaion, there will be no records. If the investigaion found the allegations to be unsubstabtied, the PRA requires the District to black out names and other information. If the allegations were found to be true, they have to turn the records over.

-You would be amazed
Mary G. said…
So if I made the request for allegations that would result in disciplinary actions for two individuals, I would net what I am looking for?
Anonymous said…
Mary G,

As to what you want to get information on, be more specific in your request. Ask for the personnel files for the teachers by name. Ask for any materials related to any inestigation of the use of retraint by the teachers or if you know the date and location of time the prone restraint was used ask for any documentation regarding any use of restraint, force, or psychical contact on that date at that location, no matter where it is kept. More in a moment, need to get the kid out the door!
Mary G. said…
I have already asked for all documentation of restraint used on my child by the two individuals. The only documentation of restraint were in emails to me that did not document type of restraint, length of restraint, who restrainers were, what was done to prevent restraint usage or whether restraint usage was effective. There was one email from the teacher to his supervisors where he stated he was using basket restraint and/or "using (his or his assistant's) whole body" on top of son for up to thirty minutes at a time, sometimes up to three times per day and on an every other day basis.
Anonymous said…
Mary G,

Well, that reflects badly on SPS. I would still ask for e employee's personnel files as well as the personnel files of whoever is supervising them, along with compiles or any and all complaints made against the three regarding (not just specific to your child.). If you ask for the personnel files and they don't turnover any records related to discipline, follow up to ask if this means that that there are no records or if there was not a determination that the allegations were substantiated. If they say the latter, you are still entitle to get them but with the names redacted.

Not sure how long ago your issue was, but you can always make a for al complaint against the employees aski g that SPS investigate if they didn't a the time. You can also report it to law enforcement as suspected child abuse/neglect (that is what the Gig Harvor parents did).

On another note, saw your post about the efforts to get SLP services. If I were you, would consider fling a citizen's complaint against oth Mercer Island and SPS with OSPI. Costs nothing to you and all you would have to do is cut and paste what you wrote above. Identify the complaints as failure to timely evaluate by Mercer Island and failure to provide t sly service by SPS. You will likely get some compensatory services for your child, and hopefully things will go easier for the next person in your shoes. If no one complains, they never change.

-You would be amazed
retired said…
All students are general education students first, then special ed.The schools receive general ed. funds in addition to special ed. funds for students qualified for special ed. services. The IEP is a legal contract.
Mary G. said…
@Anonymous, thanks for your very helpful advice.
RosieReader said…
Too funny. Which high school woke u to this SNAFU? http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2012/09/06/heres-the-back-of-my-sons-new-high-school-id
Anonymous said…
I am appalled at how you think you know more about what we do than the professionals...

Why do you keep acting like you know the teachers' jobs better than they do?

I have personally seen misguided parents file OSPI complaints against the district ...

It's sad to hear SPS staffers who complain about sp.ed. parent involvement. Or complain that a parent "is telling us how to do our job". It just shows what a long way we still have to go. Students with disabilities are all incredibly unique and the parental perspective is paramount to their educational success.

But really, the posts have been about:

1. Information on how to use the special ed process, albeit in a way that could be obnoxious. Parents aren't born knowing this.

2. Information on how schools are funded, and student's rights to seats in general education.

3. Information on when vaious special education services should begin and have begun (or not) in the past.

4. Status of complaints around service start dates.

5. Various parental experiences with problems accessing the system.

6. Information on SPS's inappropriate use of discipline and force against students with disabilities.

7. Information about where teachers could provide service.

I'm wondering how any of that constitutes telling staff what to do? Or represents a "threat" to anyone. If you resent parent involvement, you lessen your own effectiveness as a professional.

Another Observer
Jan said…
Pretty humorous, Rosie. I think there is a high school out there that is going to be reissuing some IDs (and hopefully a printer company that will be footing the bill).
Mary G. said…
@Rosie, thanks for the good laugh. It's especially funny that it's Dan Savage's kid.

hschinske said…
Oh, man, that's funny. We saw Dan and his partner on a tour last year (apparently his kid is the same age as my youngest; who knew?).

Helen Schinske
Maureen said…
Glowing report from my D's first day at Ingraham! But she says there are 49 kids in one of her core classes. Is that actually possible?
Anonymous said…
So what does Dan's kid's ID say? That link won't work for me.
Mary G. said…
Try this link for the ID card: http://bit.ly/Ods7Jc
Maureen said…
The Slog seems to be down right now. The back of the Seattle PUBLIC School I.D. card said:

Archbishop Thomas J. Murphy High School is a Catholic, college preparatory school that welcomes students of all faiths. True to the spirit of the Gospel, Archbishop Murphy High School nurtures the full development of the gifts that God has given to each student, fosters service as an outgrowth of faith, and values diversity. Working with parents as partners in this educational ministry, we strive for academic excellence, spiritual enrichment, and Christlike leadership for the transformation of the world.

Ironic since, as Savage points out, some Catholic schools have thrown out children of gay parents.
RosieReader said…
I just received an email update from Sharon Peaslee. Here's the first paragraph, as written: "As summer lingers the start of school is throwing most of us into fast forward. It's exhillerating[sic], exhausing[sic], and filled with the anxt[sic] of unknowns."

Needless to say, it did not make a positive impression on me.
Mary said…
@Rosie, I think the anxt of unknowns is right up there with the heartbreak of psoriasis.
mirmac1 said…
Did you actually read the contents or focus on the typos? I've read many a district email with mor egrejush typos...
Maureen said…
I said: ...she says there are 49 kids in one of her core classes

I was off a little: 39 in LA and 44 in history. 44 still seems like a lot. Though at least they are 9th graders.
hschinske said…
Maureen -- my son said one of his core classes is quite small, and that the teacher said s/he had another section that was far too large, and was trying to get them equalized. I think it's probably the same situation, and I doubt it will last long.

Helen Schinske
mirmac1 said…
You can hear Director Peaslee's objections to the (now enjoined) Creative Approach Schools MOU here starting at minute 105.
Maureen said…
D says the classes seem fine (not chaotic) and she actually only has 19 in French 1. She has never had a class that small (even co-op preschool was 20!). She likes her schedule overall. I hope the load will at least balance out for the teachers.
USantB said…
Another observer...

Nice job deliberately missing the point and slanting everything teachers here have said into reverse double speak.

Why are there so many people who think they know teachers' jobs better than teachers do... like the Seattle Times, the LEV, Bill Gates, etc. AND sometimes misguided parents?

Not sure if you work, but do you really think I should be coming down to your job to tell you how to do it?

Every parent obviously knows their own child better than anybody else. But you perhaps haven't had the education and training to determine exactly what is causing your own child difficulty in school or to determine the best way to fix the problem. How could you? You haven't had the training we have.

You wouldn't even go down to a bakery to tell the baker when the cake is done. Why do you think you can do it with every teacher or professional? When you come in with a chip on your shoulder already hating us you have a closed mind.

Misguided parents filing OSPI complaints? Yes, I believe that parents who file an OSPI complaint for "sport" are misguided at best and just plain crazy mean at worst.
Anonymous said…

I thought the complaints about LEV and co, was basically, that they weren't stakeholders. Now you're saying parents aren't stakeholders either? That's a hard sell.

Clearly you lack understanding of the nature of disabilities, and lack appreciation for what parents have to do all the time. That's why parents are PART OF THEY IEP TEAM BY LAW. They aren't there to scribble out a signature. They DO GET TO DECIDE, as part of a team, how your job is done. That is the process, like it or not. When agreement can't be reached, there is legislated procedural safeguards to resolve it, like it or not.

Why? Because "the expert teachers" do not know everything, and quite possibly know nothing at all, about the individual disability and how it uniquely works in any given student. If a kid has a traumatic brain injury, would a teacher who may work with him for a semester, know anything at all about him/her and how s/he was effected by the injury? Good thing most teachers know this very well.

If OSPI complaints, due process, mediation weren't necessary, they wouldn't have been legislated. Congress recognized this and it is part of the law as well.

In any case, nobody here has said thing 1 about how you should do your job, have they? If so, what?

USantB said…

I'm not just a special ed. teacher with decades of experience and training.

I'm also the parent of a child with very significant special needs. I have battled my child's district in years' past and won. I know what it's like to be on both sides of the process. As a parent, I believe the rights of students ALWAYS comes first.

So don't try to tell me what I do and don't know about the process. Once again, you are telling us how to do our jobs.

You are deliberately misinterpreting what is being said here by teachers. You've got to be... nobody could get it so wrong without trying.

You are advocating "monkey wrenching" the special education system and it's professionals out of some sort of misguided sense of outrage and revenge... or is it just "sport" as you have called it?

SeattleSped said…
Whoa USantB,

Don't turn the use of one word, "sport" into a negation of the efforts of parents to call BS when we see it. Often it is on behalf of building staff.

Why just this afternoon I had to 'splain WHY I wanted my child in Spanish. Seems the counselor had to get the okie-dokie from my child's SpEd case mgr to correct her schedule, who forgot whether she needed writing help or not. I asked "why do I, as the parent, have to justify my request?! Qhy so I have to 'splain that she is half-latina?!" This isn't the first time I've been told to pass it through the SpEd teacher. Why am I treated differently than any other parent?

Parents are not viewed as full partners. We are viewed as problems that need management. Well, I can get that way - but I don't want to. Hey, whatever it takes to fix systemic issues in our district. I believe both you and I are on the same side.
Anonymous said…
Ohhhhh I get it USantB. You're the really bitter, know-nothing sped parent, who also happens to be the uber smart expert general ed teacher who always gets it right! Lucky You. Because you've done it for years and years, you know everything. Sheesh! Why didn't you just say so?

(Definitely I get it! Don't call the circus of special ed "sport", because we wouldn't want any levity anywhere. Putting that in my notebook.)

Nobody told you what to do. There are other readers who actually ask for information. Maybe they don't know everything like you do.

USantB said…

Whoa! Go have a lie down.

Didn't I see you swimming around in Green Lake yesterday?

ODD said…
I give Peaslee credit for attempting to hault the passage of an unlawful MOU months ago. It is unfortuante (and weird) RosieReader continues her attempts to discredit Peaslee.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mirmac1 said…
Anonymous, please sign your post or it'll disappear...
Anonymous said…
I confess I've had few sped kids. But the above posts have worn me out.

This is all about funding. There is so much time and money to go around. I wish, Seattle Sped, you would spend as much time advocating for a state income tax as you do for your child. Most agree administrators are at fault. But every complaint an administrator gets eventually falls on the teachers: gen ed, sped, and psychs. We had the best psych in the District and she left to get a school with fewer problems. She was spending hours and hours and hours and, yes, summer hours as well, catching up. It takes time to do good workups. Administration is asking them to put everything on the fast track. Fast does not guarantee accurate results.

Regular teachers are trying to do more than ever before with more and more disadvantaged kids. How much can you really ask of a system that is underfunded?

I'm kind of old. I'm wondering just how much parents think schools can actually do for all kids. If Mercer Island with all their money and high academic scores (the highest in Washington State at one time)can't provide timely services, doesn't that tell you something? Everybody is purposely trying to do a crummy job?

Making more and more demands whether on teachers, administrators, OSPI and even through litigation achieves nothing in the long run if the funding isn't there to get it done.

I hope none of you are Republicans and I sure hope none of you voted against the income tax. And if anyone thinks charters are going to provide more services for sped kids, think again.

Good luck.

SeattleSped said…

I'm a democrat and pro-income tax. And I'm not asking for anything specific for my child - rather I want illegal/poor practices that harm many sped kids ended.

"I'm wondering just how much parents think schools can actually do for all kids." n. I'm sure you don't consider our subset of kids as expendable. There are those in our district who would have you think that there is insufficient funding for special education, using that as an excuse for not providing them an excellent education.

In fact, as the courts have ruled, counting a sped student's BEA (basic education allocation - remember SpEd students are GenEd students first!), he/she brings in a surplus of funding when compared to actual expenditures. Meanwhile general ed students have a deficit of funding and end up relying on levy proceeds.

With the district's accounting system, there is no way to tell whether our students' BEA funding follows them throughout their school day. In fact, what is going on everyday in this district is the diversion of our students' BEA funding to other purposes - e.g. at Ballard it's probably Agricultural Ed, BioTech Academy, Marketing, Business Ed, Art, Music - all those things our students are not participating in because they are in resource room or related-services.

So n., although I typically agree with you, and am in fact a VERY strong supporter of teachers, on this point we will agree to disagree. I will not lower my expectations of teachers' and administrators' efforts for our SpEd students, even if some will have no compunction to assign blame for SpEd woes elsewhere.
Anonymous said…
I appreciate your response, Seattle Sped. Sometimes hearing so many complaints about teachers wears thin. We are in the end the fall guys. And everyone agrees that the system is broken. I'm only asking that we all spend more time trying to fix the system than blaming the teachers. And within the context of the thread there was more blaming of teachers even when comments diverted attention from teachers to OSPI, principals and administration, the fact is it all lands on teachers in the end.

Glad to hear you and I are on the same team. And forgive my cynicism please. It comes with the territory these days.

Anonymous said…
I will not lower my expectations of teachers' and administrators' efforts for our SpEd students,...

We all need to have high expectations for teachers and administrators of all kids. That notion is what motivated my angst. High expectations can't be impossible expectations. When expectations become impossible for teachers to meet, we must work together to solve a much bigger problem so that expectations can be met. In my opinion, it gets back to time and funding: pay to start the process earlier; hire more people to meet the demands of the process.

Are there other ideas you can think of to help correct the situation?

SeattleSped said…

Some that come to mind:

a) next time DeBell, Banda and those that wish to deny our kids their BEA funding start whining, call BS;

b) insist that the SEA enforce those provisions that ensure SpEd educators have the time to do right by their caseloads, and represent those who are being asked to shortchange our kids' ed; and

c) require top administrators to comply with the (many) OSPI directives that direct the district to make provisions so teachers and related service providers DO have the time to 1) get information; and 2) get time and resources to be prepared at Day One to support their GenEd kids in SpEd.

Unknown said…
I have one as well: extend the school day one hour. Provide time within that day to psychs and sped teachers for planning and paperwork. The biggest complaint I hear is the massive paperwork (CYA!) now required of that population. I'm not suggesting less paperwork. Paper trails are important. An extra hour every day.

As a teacher who has finally seen teacher pay improved the last ten years, I think teacher unions could be persuaded to go along with that. Especially younger teachers who start at better pay than we did. There will be naysayers. But, it is a possibility. Charter schools often have longer hours. I think WEA could sell it.

My contribution on whatever blog I post is that teachers are doing 3x as much as they did twenty years ago everyday.

That is real change.
Anonymous said…
Sorry. Last post was n.


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