OSPI Report on Special Ed in Seattle

Each year the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction prepares a report on Special Education in every district. The report was released on November 1 and the Seattle Times wrote a vague sort of editorial about it, although they did not write a news story about it nor did they provide a link to the report.

Here are some facts about the report from the OSPI:

The OSPI web site, for those who are new to it, is a veritable labyrinth of links. None of it is intuitive. It's a freakin' miracle if you can ever find anything you're looking for.
Program Review

The Special Education Program Review Team (formerly called “monitoring”) collaborates with school districts to ensure improved educational results and functional outcomes for all children with disabilities. Washington’s program review system includes a review of both quantitative data and qualitative information provided by districts to ensure that districts are implementing the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004.

The program review process includes:
Data Collection and Analysis (Quantitative Data): Special education district performance data across the 20 federally-mandated indicators
Technical assistance (Across all 20 performance indicators) Resources for improving the performance across the 20 indicators of the state performance plan
Data and information collected through the program review process impacts:

There's some explanation on the Annual Determinations page:

Annual Determinations

IDEA 2004 requires states to issue annual determinations to all districts regarding their implementation of part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

IDEA Section 616(a), CFR 300.600 & 300.602, and WAC 392-172A-07010(7)

The four levels of determination are:
  1. Meets Requirements
  2. Needs Assistance
  3. Needs Intervention
  4. Needs Substantial Intervention
Washington uses the federally required criteria for calculating district determinations:
  1. Audit results
  2. Timely correction of non-compliance
  3. Timely and accurate data
  4. Performance on the compliance indicators (indicators 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13)
    Note: Indicator 4b will be added for 2011-12. Determinations to be issued November 2012.
Districts are notified of their determination level on November 1st of each year through iGrants form package 442. This notification also includes official non-compliance identified in the district which must be corrected as soon as possible, but no later than one year from notification. (Note: The verification (confirmation) of corrections by the local Educational Service District (ESD) and the validation (approval) of corrections by OSPI must also occur within this one year timeline.) More information about the process for annual determinations is found below:
  • Special Education Accountability Q&A – revised August 2010 – This question and answer document addresses the primary federal and Washington state requirements for accountability under IDEA, including district determinations, correction of non-compliance, the program review process, and significant disproportionality.
  • Rubric (PDF) used for making district determinations in Washington State (PDF)
  • Enforcement actions (PDF)
  • Special Education Accountability (PDF) – overview presentation (presented by OSPI at the August 2012 OSPI/WASA Special Education Conference).
I looked and looked for the Form 442 Packet annual report on Seattle, but couldn't find it. The closest I could come was this report. For your reference, the code for Seattle Public Schools is 17001. It doesn't reveal much and clearly is not the full report that the Seattle Times was writing about.



Longhouse said…
Can't find the report... is it top secret?
mirmac1 said…
Yes, it's top secret. Only available to major media outlets.

Parents are the last to know.
Charlie Mas said…
I don't know how the Times got the report. They didn't get it from the OSPI web site.

And how did the Times EDITORIAL BOARD get it when the Times news department did not?
Unknown said…
I have send the editorial board those very questions. It's very, very peculiar.

Unknown said…
It would be so disconcerting to find out that this editorial was timed on the day before election day for purely political reasons. I hope that is not true.
mirmac1 said…
I say SpEd parents are being "played" to gain leverage on CBA ratio language. I refuse to be part of that charade. SpEd parents know that editorial is bologna.

Hire a SpEd Ex. Dir - the last few have been mediocre at best and harmful at worst. Obviously the position (which is toothless) has not been key to the change required.

More power to principals - those principals who choose to disregard, or be ignorant about, our students civil rights under federal law are the PROBLEM. The recalcitrants are backed by their clubby Ex Dirs of Schools and district legal (who will lie to OSPI without blinking).
seattle citizen said…
Maybe I'm overly suspicious, but tonight the Times posted yet another editorial that could be construed to be a push for charters, or at least "reform" writ large.

I mean, why tonight?

South King County schools map a course to the top

Here's a link to the actual Road Map Consortium race-to-the-top application.

Maybe it's nothing. Maybe they HAD to do this editorial tonight. But...
mirmac1 said…
Here is Ballard principal Wynkoop 'splaining away that sensationalist report on Special Ed in the Times:

"Recently, there was an article in the Seattle Times that talked about Ballard High School and made it sound like we are misappropriating special education funding. I want to assure you that every dollar spent has been spent to best serve special education students. The only issue that existed was that three years ago, a handful of teachers who were teaching both Special Education and General Education students were fully funded by either Special Education or General Education to simplify the accounting. My first year as principal I felt that I should more accurately represent what these teachers were doing and I distributed the SAME amount of funding so that each of these teachers were now funded partially by Special Education and partially by General Education. It was as simple as that, but you would not know it from the newspaper."
mirmac1 said…
Wynkoop finishes with:

"Despite what the media might make you think, there are exciting things going on at Ballard High School...."

Here's my response to Wynkoop:

"Some people in this district are seriously deluded. It's not what "the media might make you think" Keven - it's the LAW, it's the State Auditor. You are like a number of principals in our district who are ignorant of IDEA, yet are in charge of the education of our students. EVERY teacher in this district has special education students in their class. Does that mean their salaries should come out of the Special Education pie as well? Guess what, special education students come to your school with their full share of basic education money (BEA), along with additional funding to pay (only) the "excess cost" for specially-designed instruction and related services. So they are entitled to general education teacher in the regular classroom. What are you doing with their BEA money if not providing for their basic education at Ballard? If you are not misappropriating their special ed funding, then you are misappropriating their BEA funding. You should be ashamed."
mirmac1 said…
"Dear Mr. Wynkoop,

Where do people get the idea that your school misappropriates special education funding? Not only from the recent financial audit exposing it and the newspaper who picked it up, but from YOUR special education staff! (And, nearly every other special education teacher in the district too.)

On Ballard High School tours, your staff told parents point blank that they misappropriate funds, and they expected the parents to like it. They called it "new inclusion" on that tour. It's the program where they use a "dual certified" special education teacher to teach multiple classrooms full of general education students along with students with disabilities. The reality is, this what ALL general education teachers are supposed to do! That's not "special education" in any way. That's plain old general education, in a classroom with no extra support except a piece of paper designating a certification. Paper doesn't educate students, and it doesn't provide service. It does, however, move the responsibility of educating many students without disabilities onto the special education teacher.

Your special education staff went on to say that students with disabilities need no extra support. They aren't babies any more. Parents of students with disabilities need to just back off and let their little dears grow up. Evidently, we parents are the problem again.

How patronizing! Don't you know? This is something we have all heard for years and years. People always tell us that parents are the cause our child's disability. And they also say: "Just let us (the school people) do whatever we want. We know best. Of course we can teach your kids without any extra support or staffing." The reality is, the IEP process is one where parents are equal partners. Every parent of a student with a disability has experienced failures at some level from their school staff. "Just let us do what we want," assures us of nothing. If schools knew best, we wouldn't have needed IDEA in the first place. IDEA is necessary because schools don't wish to educate students with disabilities.

On that Ballard High School tour, your staff went on to say: "Yes it's true. You will find that our advanced students in Bio-tech Academy enjoy reduced class ratios. We know that seems unfair. But hey, that's life! Get used to it." Well of course! Of course you can provide some students with reduced class ratios - if you use "dual certified" special ed teachers to teach a good chunk of general education students, eg. those without disabilities. With left over resources, you can afford reduced classes for some kids.

mirmac1 said…

A few more unintended (we hope) consequences that don't even appear in the audit. How are the teachers provided with prep periods? Everybody knows that teachers need to prepare for class. Those who work part time as general education teachers, also need a prep periods for those classes in addition to a prep period for their special education students. Do they get those extra prep period for the extra work? Or, do the special education students have to just eat it again, as teachers have to prep during what would have been special education time?

Students with disabilities are entitled to FULL general education, with special education ADDITIONAL, not "instead of" general education. Special education teachers are responsible for students all day long in ratios agreed to by contract. Special education students are entitled to service all day long - not squeezed to a reduced time, whenever the teacher is available after he/she is done with her extra responsibilities. Our students are disabled full time. They deserve teachers who are available full time.

In short, your staff on Ballard HS tours described "new inclusion" which really meant vastly reduced extra support for many students with disabilities. That's not "new inclusion", that's misappropriation.

PS. I support "dual certified" teachers! General educators should be dual certified because they are all required to teach students with disabilities. The reverse is not true. Special education teachers do not have an obligation, and should not be expected, to teach students who do not have disabilities. Students with disabilities are GENERAL EDUCATION STUDENTS FIRST. The opposite is not true."
mirmac1 said…
The last two posts w/ response to Wynkoop were by another PO'd sped parent...

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