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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

OSPI Claims SPS May Lose Federal Special Ed Funding

Oh for Pete's sake.  No good news here.

 From the Seattle Times:

The school district submitted a proposal to state officials by the June 30 deadline, but they have rejected it, saying it falls far short of what is required.

The school district submitted a proposal to state officials by the June 30 deadline, but they have rejected it, saying it falls far short of what is required.The school district submitted a proposal to state officials by the June 30 deadline, but they have rejected it, saying it falls far short of what is required.

Gill’s office also had asked the district to identify the root causes of the problems, but Gill didn’t see that either.

So the proposal is inadequate and the district can't identify the real issues for the lack of compliance.
For years the state has been urging Washington’s largest school district to address dozens of problems in its special-ed programs. The state says, for example, that too many of the learning plans that all special-education students must have are out of date and too many services outlined in up-to-date plans aren’t provided. Other problems include inconsistencies in services from school to school and taking too much time to resolve parent complaints.
One of the biggest concerns is lack of consistency. Very often, Gill said, the district will fix a problem in one school or group of schools, only to have it crop up in others.
Until officials provide an acceptable plan, Gill said, he won’t approve even the federal support that the district is supposed to get this school year — even before the 18 months are up.

You can read the rest but it's depressing and maybe it's the poster child department for all that is wrong in the district.

Someone in leadership needs to step up.  Now.
The longer it takes to complete an acceptable plan, he added, the less time the district will have to put it into place. Since the deadline was set in April, four months have passed, which means the district now has just 14 months to finish the plan and put it in place.
The deadline won’t move, Gill said, just because planning is taking longer than it should.
From reader Cecilia McCormick, a Sped parent and long-time public education activist:

This article was fed to the Times by OSPI insiders and friends (on LEV). Shaw had the letter Gill provided McWilliams (practically before she did). Shaw made a token attempt at contacting parents like myself, but apparently I had insufficiently vitriol (Moi?!)

The final Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan has to conform to the standard action matrix. The initial submittal did, but was not specific enough (down to the student file and fix) to check all the boxes to demonstrate Doug Gill's crew did their (belated) job.

Meanwhile parents and district sped leadership are actively engaging. I believe they see the value in maintaining bonafide engagement. Else they risk my head exploding. The Times reporter made no effort to verify the engagement piece with parents. Because the point of the article is to place the district in a bad light. Again. I don't play that.

The Superintendent Special Eduction Advisory Council will be providing feedback on the CCAP by early next week. The end result will be a document that serves as both a Strategic Vision and a detail corrective action for OSPI. I am hopeful.


By the way the "risk" of losing $10M in federal funding is as absurd as the entire government shutting down...tomorrow. Quit gameplaying here. Either communicate effectively or get a new job. Our kids aren't pinatas ready for the next bureaucratic/administrative blow.

The new Executive Director is, so far, someone I feel deals with us honestly and directly. Since this is what I've found with Superintendent Banda, the signs are very encouraging.

Times, include that in your update.

Too illustrate the progress made, the Special Education PTSA and superintendent's Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council request a Board Work Session for Wed 9/11/13 to review the current plans for sped under a new vision. I hope this is placed on the board calendar asap.


Cecilia makes good points about the reporting.  Nothing from parents or the Sped PTSA?  

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

During my years as a teacher in the district, special education law was violated without penalties. The abuse of law was acknowledged, they were told to fix it, and there were no consequences when nothing changed (or the mistakes were repeated). It was sickening.

Thanks (I'm sure) in large part to Mirmac, there are finally going be financial losses for non-compliance. Best news for SPS students I've heard in years.

--enough already

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mirmac 1, thanks for those updates. I'm going to add them to the story for context in case readers don't go to the comments.

mirmac1 said...

For those of you who have lots of free time, and have not seen the OSPI WISM review, here is a link:

OSPI WISM Review and Determination

SPS must, and will, respond to each individual finding.

Anonymous said...

What is hard to understand here is OSPI's sudden activism around SPS and Special Education. Through multiple information sources OSPI is well aware of the crises for students with diabilities in SPS and has been for years. I don't get the timing for this. And having OSPI take over SPS SPED (isn't that a possible outcome) would create even more dysfunction. Really, families have had to go it alone for years and I don't know how this OSPI activism is going to change that.

Curious

Unknown said...

Curious,

This OSPI activism over chronic issues seems to be sparked by new federal pressure to enforce federal law. We all know it is high time. And now we know that if they don't do it, they will lose money and Cecilia's head will explode. I will arm myself with plastic bags for the next few months as protection, but I doubt I will need it.

The new draft of the Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan will be offered to representatives of the Special Ed community this Friday for comments. I suspect there will be more meat on the bones as far as goals, objectives and timelines. There must be evidence of an over-arching systematic plan to address recurring abuses of the past which were outlined in the original report. Systems must be in place for the next 12 months with quarterly reports in place and then there will be a followup 3 months later. It is disappointing to parents that these plans that should have been in place before school started may not be in place by September.

But I have hope. Zee McWilliams, the Executive Director of Special Education was hired for her compliance experience in Compton, CA. I have no reason to expect that she can not produce a plan that Doug McGill will find acceptable.

FYI, I was interviewed by Q13 for a report on this subject. I do not know when it will air, or what will be edited out of what I said.

Anonymous said...

Mary,

I think you're being modest. You and Mirmac have their feet to the fire.

We all thank you for it.

--enough already

Unknown said...

So, I am sad to report that Q13 basically chopped down a 10 minute interview to report not on the fact that I have faith that Zakiyyah McWilliams is experienced with compliance issues and that she has reached out to families and that we are happy about that, but rather parental disappointment and frustration, which of course is also true. Lesson learned for me. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Mirmac, you are incomprehensible. Give it a rest.

observer

Melissa Westbrook said...

Kids, it's a blog, not a chat room. Let's keep it that way.

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