Tuesday Open Thread

A wealthy person trying to buy a basketball team?  Well, that would be Steve Ballmer buying the LA Clippers but according to a very well-done story from the Seattle Times, he cut his teeth doing it at Lakeside.

I note that some of the comments call out Bellevue School District for this kind of thing as well as Rainier Beach High School.  The activities at RBHS have been covered in the Times previously but I don't really know what the story is in Bellevue.

But when parents want sports to become the focus at a school (and the school allows it), it benefits no one.  There is no "you're helping low-income/minority students" when they are allowed to play as they are not passing classes.

From the John Rogers Elementary school community:
"John Rogers will have 4 kindergarten classes this year!  With that many kindergarteners (85) the school is scrambling to move classrooms, offices and closets around.  Staff have asked if anyone is available to help ..."
So this community finds itself scrambling for space and are now down to closet space.  The district says, "these kids are coming; find the room."  That seems like a very heavy lift at a very late stage.

And where will all these preschool rooms come from that the City wants?  It's a fantasy.

Please keep the students, teachers and staff of the school district in Ferguson, Missouri in your thoughts.  Three out of four schools continue to be closed today.  I'm sure it must be a confusing, difficult time for all involved and helping students make sense of what is happening is a big job.

I'm at the Charter Commission meeting this morning.

What's on your mind?


Anonymous said…
Melissa, can there be an update on the situation in the special education department, including the leadership situation?

Wright's letter a couple fo weeks ago mentioned hiring a project manager to do ...?

Anonymous said…
One week down! Feds are at OSPI today reviewing the SPS SPED situation.

Follow theMoney
Anonymous said…
Someone asked me what is going with OSPI and the feds. OSPI is claiming they are following IDEA non-compliance enforcement rules per :

WAC 392-172A-07012(4). Subsection (4) of this rule provides that, notwithstanding the other subsections of the rule, “any time that the OSPI determines that a district needs substantial intervention in implementing the requirements of Part B of the act or that there is a substantial failure to comply with any condition of a school district’s eligibility under Part B of the act, OSPI will withhold, in whole or in part, any further payments to the district under Part B of the act, in addition to any other actions taken under subsections (2) or (3) of this section.”

OSPI words here:

Here, SPS has agreed that 15% of its federal IDEA Part B allocation will be redirected for the purpose of ensuring the implementation of the C-CAP. This amounts to nearly $1.7 million. We believe this redirection constitutes a withholding, in part, of Part B funds under WAC 392-172A-07012(4) in a manner that allows SPS to successfully refine its special education infrastructure without undermining the district’s provision of FAPE to eligible students.

end of OSPT words.

I and the FEDS disagree with how OSPI is interpreting the law.

SPS is using funds to hire additional central administration staff which under no definition is "withholding".

The FEDs are also looking into accounting issues as well as external SPED contracts and spending.

I can not see how SPS actions provides FAPE to SPED students. These funds are being redirected into the pockets of individuals not providing direct services to students. How can SPS SPED lose $1.7 million and improve services.
For the last two years SPS SPED has been crying poor and not providing FAPE, now they think they can do it with $1.7 million less.

There are serious questions around the $907,000 paid to NWSOIL for 2013-14 school year. $687,000 paid to Overlake. FEDs will be auditing around $5,000,000 in IDEA spending that went to outside services.

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
An interesting followup, of sorts, to the involvement of the Center for Game Science at UW in SPS:

TransparencyPlease said…
The city's preschool program wants identifiable data. There is an intention to track these students through high school.

Will the city provide funding for 13 years of research? Will the city, UW and other research organization consider variables outside of the classroom?

By 2018, the city wants to hire 48administrators. This figure does not account for others needed to carry out the program.

The city will tout "Universal" preschool. Or, preschool for "all". In essence, the program is expected to serve 2000 students. Families making $150K will be subsidized.
Eric B said…
My high schooler has to read and write a short essay on _Blink_ by Malcolm Gladwell. I'm reading it too, and there's some really interesting stuff about preconceptions and testing. One of the studies cited showed that minority students asked to identify their race before a test (I think GRE?) did significantly worse on the test than another group that did not identify race. The author thought it was a confluence of the test-taker internalizing race-based assumptions about performance.

That got me wondering about the MAP and other tests. While MAP wouldn't ask for race (they already know that!), teachers' attitudes about the test going in might make a big difference. Would students of cheerleaders for the test have substantially different results than students of people opposed to the test?
Anonymous said…
FYI. I found out today that John Rogers is adding a fourth kindergarten class this year.

The building is built for 2 kindergartens. Three kindergartens has been fairly typical for quite a while now, but FOUR?! Wow.

No new elementary seats up this way until 2017...

- North-end Mom
Transparency Please said…
It is worth noting that the city wants preschool classrooms in International Schools. While this is a great idea, I'm not seeing that space is available.

It appears the city will be moving forward with their Preschool for "All", but they don't have a plan that will find for these preschool children.
Hmmmm said…
Lower class sizes will be on the ballot in November. I received a phone survey on this issue, but the manager didn't know funders of this survey. Makes me go hmmm....
Eric, I had seen similar studies when students were identified before a test. Interesting. And, if parents tell their kids the test is "bad" or doesn't matter, does it color the outcomes?

I support lower class sizes but we already tried that and passed it and guess what? Didn't get it. I don't see the point of an unfunded mandate.
Anonymous said…
I don't see the point of an unfunded mandate for lower class sizes either. But if it is on the ballot, and people don't vote yes because the yes vote could be pointless, won't other groups try to use those numbers to say that voters don't care about class size? Is this a symbolic vote?

Voter, certainly I'll vote for it. But I expect nothing to come from it.
Anonymous said…
It's Ballmer. Not Ballmar. Doesn't do much for credibility.

And he just stepped down from the MSFT board today.

Anonymous said…
Follow the Money, any way parents can alert Feds ? Who do we contact? OSPI has done nothing while SPS hands over IDEA funds to general education at BHS and at lots of high schools. Then they specify who must be paid for CCAP... even if they are doing nothing at all? How can FEDS be alerted?

And right. At the time of the 2014 sped audit, 6 kids got services via outside contracts. Now we have millions leaving for run of the mill disabilities. Unlike other districts SPS has the volume of students to do nearly all this stuff in house. Schools refusing to serve students, are now just shipping em to CHILD... at $45k a pop. Then there's daily transportation via cab to the Eastside... another 10 or 15k.

All just wasting Fed money. No. It's not the kids fault. At. All.

Sped Reader
Microserf, slip of the finger. I think we all know who I was talking about.

What's a "run of the mill" disability? I would ask that you find other ways to phrase these types of issues because we are talking about children here.
Anonymous said…
I'm trying to persuade the Feds to meet with SPED parents in Seattle.

I informed them no one is watching the watchers and with the documented issues with Gill trying to hand over $450K to his friends the Feds are now looking at OSPI as a problem not a solution.

The real at risk stake holders are the kids and no one is truly looking out for their FAPE. SPS is looking out for the best interest of the institution and it's employees same goes for OSPI.

The law clearly states SPS must document the justification for outside placement. Which they are having a hard time doing. They can't seem to find required documents with proper authorizations per the law.

The board members are very dim witted when it comes to IDEA. Really they couldn't care-less if judged by their actions.

What is now clear there are systemic violations of FAPE in SPED and Legal has been playing games for years crafting documents to give a vale of compliance. This is why every SPS SPED lawyer has run for the hills. Mr E can't afford to let another person peek under the hood of lawyer client privilege. Remember how they hid the urban league theft. That crime is nothing compared to what is about to be uncovered.

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
Melissa, no insult is intended by "run of the mill". I something simply mean "high incidence" which is a common term. Autism is approaching high incidence, with probably more than 500 students. Yet the district refuses to provide services. Then students are referred out of district at astronomical rates. These outside providers really offer nothing special. Except will. Yes. I've been there. Plain laziness and lack of will is the reason the district is forced into these placements.

Sped Reader
RosieReader said…
Re the Lakeside story: our high school has a pretty lack luster football team. But that didn't stop the Lakeside coaches from coming to film a couple of games in advance of their game against us. I hope the quality was good enough for the fancy screens in that multi million dollar athletic center.
Unknown said…
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Seattlefollower said…
West Woodland has also had to add another kindergarten, which brings the total up to 5. Is not one thinking ahead? This school was built for 2 kindergartens. One portable was added last year and another one may be on it's way....
Anonymous said…
There are legitimate reasons for using outside services and paying for it with federal dollars.

SPS's problem is they are not following the rules on requirements. This is nothing new for SPS. The Feds want to see the books and supporting documents which SPS doesn't have or hasn't created after the fact yet..

Follow themoney
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Ah you see people have been looking at the wrong documents, IEPs they don't really care about.

They care about the business of education and carefully protect it.

When one of the members gets publicly sloppy it's bad for business.

SPS will be made an example out of because they are sloppy and now the entire industry feels threatened.

Do you think the sourced businesses are charities?

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
Nobody is blaming students, for the district's failure to serve them. But simply throwing kids in private school, to get them out of the districts hair does not guarantee a FAPE. If you don't believe readers here, reread the 2007 sped audit, it commended the district for serving students locally. What has changed to cause the skyrocketing rates of private placement? Complete and total neglect. Nobody driving the boat. Savvy parents can get out of crappy placements locally, district can continue poorly serving everyone else. Hardly fair.

Sped Reader
Anonymous said…
IDEA is very specific when and how federal funds are to be used.

The first priority is for the district to provide the needed services. Exceptions are allowed, but the proper accounting and documentation must be done.

If the district needs to send students to outside placement while they build up district services it seems reasonable.

What is not reasonable is for SPS to continue to use outside placement for multiple years for the same identified disability to the SUM of $6.2 million dollars.

I'm not speaking of Overlake's $4.6 million which by all rights should be a medicare issue.

Like most I don't see what happening at Overlake as educational or even related to education. Do children deserve help? Yes their is no question that they do. I think the question is why are these expensive services being paid for with educational dollars.

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…

With the new crop of 85 kindergartners, John Rogers has grown by more than 100 kids since the NSAP was implemented (2010).

We got a double portable last year and two singles this year - in addition to our 1950s vintage single portable, so 5 portables so far.

I've heard a rumor that they can't add more portables, because, with the portables added this summer, they are at the capacity of the school's electrical grid. Maybe they plan to add solar panels???

This is so incredibly frustrating, because John Rogers has been bumped off of at least the last two BEX levies. If only the school had been rebuilt (bigger) two levies ago!

- North-end Mom
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Really do you want to start personnel attacks?

Try and comprehend what is being addressed before you project your issues on others.

I don't care about state laws or the WA constitution it's irrelevant. If SPS wants to spend non federal funds it can, but it can't use federal IDEA part B funds without following the rules.

SPS has commingled IDEA part B funding with others sources and CAN NOT ACCOUNT FOR THE FEDERAL DOLLARS. Get it? That's what they are going to be found guilty of..GET IT?

As for overlake I know exactly what I'm talking about and unfortunately for SPS administrators chose to improperly use IDEA part B funding for services provided by overlake. Now do you get it?

Do you want to argue over NWSOIL or is overlake your only button? Interesting you're so sensitive about overlake, care to tell us why?

Follow themoney
Unknown said…
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Anonymous said…
Transparency Please -

PLEASE provide a url to your source docs! Even better - a page or section number so we don't have to read all 13? 130? 1300 pages -

I actually believe your data, however, that is because I know how Burgess & Co. operate - the average voter who wants little kids to have access to Pre-K probably isn't comfortable with also paying hordes of 6 figure a year paper pushers.

Please Transparency -

Anonymous said…
These schools that are being pushed way beyond capacity with extra portables shoved in there may not have sufficient space in lunch rooms, recess space, and bathrooms.
Anonymous said…
Wow. Melissa is so smart. She noticed there was a really damaging Times report against that terrible rich guy, Steve Ballmar who has done nothing for the Seattle area. Now what did that bad man really do this time? He funded minorities going to private schools. How dare he? Minorities in private school????? That's not allowed, is it? Private schools are supposed to be like the APP program and are legally required to only consider test scores that white people excel in, right? Other talents that other people have, those are to be discounted.

And the real problem? One student at Lakeside - didn't want to finish up the extremely rigorous senior year required at Lakeside. The nerve of him! He wants to play in the NBA! Instead of doing the work to stay at Lakeside, he chose to give up his Lakeside scholarship and go to Garfield - where he led his team to the state championship, and had no problem with the relatively easier academic requirements. That is a stinking crime! Let's put that kid and Ballmar in jail! Let's strip Lakeside of the state title! (Oh wait, it was Garfield that won the title. Let's return it anyway.)

Awesome article!


#NoThanksBallmer said…
Lovely story and thanks for sharing, Rosie Reader.

Ballmer is one of the guys that loves to fund our corporate backed school board candidates. These are the people that want to run our education system.
Transparency Please said…

The quest for DATA begins on page 119. Quite enlightening:


Will get attachment for administrative salaries.
Transparency Please said…

The City of Seattle is proposing Preschool for All (?). This proposal is of major importance to Tim Burgess and Ed. Murray. This initiative will be on the November ballot.

The level of administrative support increases each year. See page 4 of Attachment D. The city expects to employee 42 individuals by 2018. Administrative support increases to 67 individuals by 2024.

Administrative salaries are listed in Attachment E- page 24.


Preschool for All(?) is of major importance to the city. To date, the campaign is funded at $150, which is odd.

It should be noted that there is a for-profit entity that is redoing Head Start.

Should we expect to see some friends of Holly Miller, Tim Burgess or Ed Murray in these highly paid administrative positions?
Anonymous said…
How odd that the self-declared 'owners' of SPED activism on this blog don't welcome a different opinion. Followthemoney's passion and concern are every bit as valid as the other voices on the blog. Just having other SPED voices is a real relief. We've hear plenty about Ballard's use of funds. Haven't heard diddley about the lack of services for high incidence disabilities.

I don't comment because I don't have the thick skin to take being shouted down by other bloggers. But my SPED concerns aren't the same as the ones I read hear. I know that's ok. I know followthemoney has his/her own perspective and that's fine too. Everything is broken in SPED and all criticisms are welcome and valued.

SPED Struggling
AA, first of all, I know that Lakeside has bent over backwards (LONG before Ballmer ever came) to FIND and GIVE scholarships to low-income minority kids. This is well-known.

I'm not calling out Lakeside; I'm calling out Ballmer. If you read the article, even his wife got herself elected to the head of the Lakeside Board and made athletics a new priority.

Ballmer didn't do this to help kids; he wanted his kid to be on a winning team. And it wasn't just one kid who didn't do well in school.

So let's see, Ballmer saves poor minority kids and Melinda Gates is "the savior of Seattle." I'll get a call into the Pope as soon as get the time.

As far as Sped dialog, all opinions are fine but pitting parents against each other over services rarely works.
Anonymous said…
SPED Struggling,

I think it is curious that in the midst of all that is occurring concerning sped in SPS, the little people (staff, families) hear not word one from JSCEE. I agree with Follow the Money that a focus on high(er) incidence disabilities is long overdue in terms of the steady disenfranchisement of these students and families, but I would remind FTM that the negligency is hitting everybody.

Struggling SPED Too
Anonymous said…
I'm fully aware of all the SPED issues and if everyone would just be patient things will being to quickly improve across SPED.

To be fair there are some students who's golden tickets are running out. I think every one should realize it was just a matter of time before this would happen. You can blame me if you need.

Let the feds do what they do, it's going to be different this time, because anyone with special education interest across the nation is watching.

Hello JSCE staff and SPS teachers did you hear that? YOU ARE BEING WATCHED VERY CLOSELY. Two months ago you didn't believe me...do you now?

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Now now sped "realist," if you do not know the role (prominence) of the poorly informed teachers in the district's failure to deliver a FAPE, you are completely deluded! The s** infrastructure for special needs aside, if there were a will out there in the buildings, there'd be a way. That's clear from the 2007 SPED Audit and the current one. I don't let teachers off the hook. Not at all. But I agree that follow the money may be overstating the brand new day that is to begin shortly. I think misery is here to stay for a while.

SPED Parent
Anonymous said…
Hey sped realist, that is a bullying post. I don't know who you are naming, but you evidently think it is a coup to do that. I hope Melissa deletes it. Whoever follow is, shedding light on the malfunctioning of FAPE where high incidence disabilities is concerned is not a bad thing. Doing it in a way that throws other students with other disabilities under the bus is not something I heard follow the money doing.

Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
I thought there was a rule on this blog about naming real names of people posting.

I also agree that the needle on SPED has barely moved in a decade. Maybe the awareness of autism in general is better. Help for high incidence needs is crap as always IMHO. Help for low incidence needs aside from also is also crap. Actual services for autism zre largely crap too, so I guess we're all in the same boat.

Think teachers aren't part of the problem? They certainly are. General education teachers pitch these kids to SPED. SPED cries "overworked". Administration does nothing. SPS lawyers do everything-to deny families the help they legally deserve and need. OSPI does nothing. If the Feds are here and Followthemoney helped get them here, then good.

Still, no excuse for SPED parents to turn against each other. Outing people by name not OK. Frequent commenters not allowing additional viewpoints not OK. Low incidence and high incidence special needs parents kicking back and forth on the blog, not OK.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Hey Sped Struggling,
You have long heard about BHS, and funding issues. And you think that's just boring stuff? Because you want a focus on "high incidence" services? Are you serious? When high schools use special ed funding to fund general ed classes, what kitty do you think they are using? Their resource money! Evidently your kid, and Follow's kid, are not in high school. What you think their special education service for higher incidence students looks like? It looks like a plain old American Government, World History, or Algebra class. With 35 kids. Gotta save the small class sizes for AP and honors students. You say you "haven't heard diddly about sped services ". That's because there ain't diddly! That's because the money gone! Not to other kids with some other disability, but into the general pot. When your kid is in high school, his/her special education service will just be a plain old big ass class, with the plain old regular book, with the plain old teacher and her 150 daily students. How's that? Have you heard about service yet? It's always about the money!

Where's the Money
Anonymous said…
So teacher's are not part of the problem? I beg to differ and so do the courts. If teachers would simply follow the law then there would be less issues in SPED. If the district administration prevents teachers from following the law then teachers should file complaints or how about a strike?

Oh wait teachers only strike when the union says to. What is the union's position on this...the union thinks SPED will negatively effect teachers ratings and the union is working against SPED, watch and see.

People might disagree on where the problem it, but I think most of us can agree teacher's are the solution. Until ALL teachers follow the law things wont change.
How many times have you heard SPED administrators say they have tried to get Gen ed teachers to follow the law? 1, 3 , 10 times. It's not happening and wont until a few teacher are walked out of buildings. Go look at OSPIs disciplinary actions against teacher and you wont find a single teacher losing their license for NOT following IDEA...not one! yet we know thousands of teachers in WA are NOT following then law.

Should we use stick or carrot? From where I sit I would vote for a stick.

I make no threats against anyone, but if you are a teacher and you don't follow the law you should be sued. Like I said before don't believe me? Just watch!

If your getting preferential treatment enjoy it. If your a parent looking for services there is hope, but not if you hitch your wagon to the same old tired SPED horses that have been droning on for years.

Follow themoney

Anonymous said…
The reason teachers can't provide FAPE is because they have two days of PD per year which always focuses on things which have nothing to do with the actual education of students with disabilities. After 10 years of that, what do you expect? I still blame administration.

There are a lot of anonymous SPED blowhards on this blog who remind me most of FOX news. All hot air and stupid rumors. The Feds are coming! Doomsday Approacheth! Drink my Koolaid or I'll make sniping remarks! Fall down on your knees because I'm Chicken Little and the sky is falling! You should believe me because I'm an anonymous trolling commenter. WAIT I FORGOT TO PUT THIS IN CAPS!

Not ChickenLittle
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said...

"P.S. I am curious about 2 things: What types of services does Overlake supply? And has anyone ever successfully gotten SPS to pay for Hamlin Robinson when SPS has utterly failed to reach a kid through multiple grades?"

Yes, but you are going to have a fight on your hands. If you are talking HM I'm assuming there's a SLD diagnosis?

There is currently a lawsuit against SPS over failing to provided FAPE to students with dyslexia and other SLDs. So far SPS has failed to produce ANY evidence of programs or services for dyslexia. They have no data proving whatever they consider services for dyslexia are effective.

If SPS is placing dyslexic students at HR that would set a precedence you can use as leverage, but you are going to have to file a due process or have a lawyer give them a phone call.

I don't think the HR placement was a result of a due process hearing, because I have copies of the last 9 years and do not see one.

I will guess it was an IEP team placement and if IDEA part B funds where used I can find out the justification for NPA placement.

Follow themoney
A couple of things:

- I deleted the post that named someone who was using a moniker. Please allow people to post under the name they choose whether you believe you know who they are or not.

- I'm not sure about what the number was in a late comment here that listed dates for service but I think it was a student ID number. Do NOT post those numbers.

We can all feel the anger and frustration here over Sped services. It is fine to fight for your child and yes, to feel very upset that the district seemingly is not serving him/her.
Anonymous said…
No those are invoice numbers, nothing FERPA there. Why do you keep deleting the financial information?

Even though they were wrong about my name I must be hitting close to home for the personal intimidation tactic.

For the record that stuff doesn't work on me.

Follow themoney

Anonymous said…
"I will guess it was an IEP team placement and if IDEA part B funds where used I can find out the justification for NPA placement."

Follow the Money, if only ALL IEP teams would be so honest and strong. My problem is the hundreds upon hundreds of families who have no such IEP team and whose kids are falling through the cracks. That is where I acknowledge your rage. That is where the District's behavior and the behavior of OSPI in condoning it for so long constitute a break in the public trust.

Reader 5
Anonymous said…
(Of course, IEP teams should be demanding the training and support to help students proactively and where SLDs are concerned as well as lower incidence disabilities like autism, there is really no excuse)

Reader 5
Transparency Please said…

FOIA documents reveal that SPS has been working with the city and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to push the city's program. The question remains: Are we asking to fund preschool or Pre-k-3 research?


"Bigger and tougher tests lay in the future. Once PreK-3rd systems are in place, will scores on standardized third grade and fourth grade math and reading tests improve? Will PreK-3rd’s promise of stronger educational starts create more on-time high school graduates, college students and successful adults?"

Follow the Money, you are posting items that are not clearly marked as to what they are. Unless it is clear to ME what they are, I will delete them in case you have not redacted personal information.

My blog, my rules.
Anonymous said…
Charters and the FBI:


From Pittsburgh to Baton Rouge, from Hartford to Cincinnatti to Albuquerque, FBI agents have been busting into schools, carting off documents, and making arrests leading to high-profile indictments. (more)

Anonymous said…
the same old tired SPED horses

Not sure who you're hating on FTM. ??? All the people at SEAAC and who lead sped_ptsa have secured decent services for their own kids, and have advocated for better things for others. Better placement options have been received as a resulted from advocacy for as many people who have advocated. Better access to field trips and extracurricular activities has been achieved. Discriminatory board policy has been postponed. Some amount of elevation of issues has occurred. Are you really going to bash everyone who did anything before you? Nobody does it alone, and walks on the backs of those before him/her. The irony is, you're becoming quite the droning sped dead horse yourself.

Village Person
Anonymous said…
"All the people at SEAAC and who lead sped_ptsa have secured decent services for their own kids"

Yes I know that and have seen the preferential treatment mentioned in district emails and listen to district staff describe it.

I have also seen in action the same people shut down SLD parents at both SEAAC and SPED PTSA group meetings and forums.

Please please show me any document that SEAAC or SPED PTSA has produce trying to improve the education of SLD students. I will wait.

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
SPED-PTSA did have one meeting on dyslexia last year so that was something. But agree in less harsh tones that there has been almost no interest in education or advocacy for SLDs.

SPED Struggling
Anonymous said…
Too bad FTM wont accept anybody's version of advocacy accept his own. You could put 10 documents in front of him did showed that the ptsa and see at advocated for his child but he wouldn't care because it doesn't fit his narrative.I have yet to see him do anything constructive for anyone.

Not Chickenlittle
mirmac1 said…
M, I defy you to produce an email of me getting preferential treatment for my child. Right, there are none. I'm sure you'll find me in many emails calling you and your small clique out for being obnoxious and toxic. And my many emails to board and SPS about IDEA violations and unacceptable attitudes towards classes of students.

I'm sorry to the few who are still reading this hot mess but you know what to expect by now once FTM and pseudonymous friend get going. What is despicable is his threats to "out" families who have severely disabled children in residential facilities or private placements. Does anyone wonder why few come to his assistance. He ill-serves SLD students, and all SpEd students and parents in general.
Anonymous said…
FTM! Wait no more! Everyone feels frustrated about the district's inability to respond to the community of special education families. Here are 3 things advocacy organizations have done for SLD's. Is it everything you would have done, if you had done anything at all? Maybe not. But it also is something.

1) SEAAC's Financial Accountability paper documents district financing issues. Overwhelmingly, double dipping (teachers teaching general ed at the same time as resource room - but billing special ed) impacts students with dyslexia - since they are the ones losing services. Got that? Dyslexic kids are getting their money used for something else - SEAAC complains. The district does not raid self-contained programs and funding, because it wants those kids to stay in their holes. And as you have noticed - they gladly ship them off to out of district placements as well. Usually, it's more like this... district does absolutely nothing until they are sued, then they agree to an out of district placement for 1 kid - leaving everyone else in the same crappy setting, but removing their complaint. Evidently, this is more cost effective than delivering actual services.

2) SEAAC's complaints about late arriving classroom materials, and efforts to make Read 180 available in September instead of... oh January... Overwhelmingly failure to have materials (any of them) impacts students with dyslexia, since they are mostly, the students in Read180 programs. When the district failed to produce materials for Read 180, a widely "available" secondary class at middle and high schools, SEAAC complained about it. This year, those materials were available in September.

3) SEAAC's citizenship initiative - contains many recommendations that include students with dyslexia. Students with SLDs are the ones failing and getting bad grades in Language Arts, Math, etc and thereby are excluded from after school activities. (Students in self-contained classes - usually get all A's and breeze through grade checks. SLD's, not so much.)

Since you're so great at documents - you can probably find this in the Minutes from SEAAC and sped_ptsa.

These may not be the issues that you find most important. But, they are important to some people. Most importantly, they are important to the people who have bothered to articulate a position. Maybe you want a particular curriculum, a particular academic focus - SEAAC is always looking for people willing to write those positions. Maybe you're wanting to write a "compliance" paper. Great! Do it.

It's always a lot easier to complain about why people haven't done something.

Anonymous said…
One other thing FTM. Just because district people moan about "preferential treatment" given to some people, doesn't mean it really is "preferential". The district has created an inequitable system - that only works for the incredibly vigilant, and for the complainers, and for those who have access to legal vehicles. Only after all that - do they ever do anything - for anybody. You have figured this out. Welcome to the "preferential"! Hope you like it!

Anonymous said…
I see at least items of concern reading the recent posts today. First, that sped staff deride the families that insist on services. And second, that a parent writing on this blog thinks it is fine to tell sped staff who is toxic and who isn't among other parents. Hello? Both things are very saddening and of course the second thing plays directly into the hands of the first thing.

How about a reset here? Parents are not the problem. Parents who insist on services are doing heavy lifting for everybody, whatever their style and nobody should reproach them, least of all another parent for goodness sake.

Sad reader
I make note that the Board meeting agenda was changed so that the CCAP is NOT just to be introduced but will be intro'ed and voted on at this meeting.

I don't know why that change occurred. I may not be able to stay until that vote but you can check the tape of the meeting to see if there is an explanation.
Anonymous said…
How many men ever went to a barbecue and would let one man take off the table what's intended for 9/10th of the people to eat? The only way to be able to feed the balance of the people is to make that man come back and bring back some of that grub that he ain't got no business with!

Huey Pierce Long (C1934)

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
I'm prescribing Prozac and spray Teflon to several poster's.

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
Yes. Do that FTM. You never responded to any post delineating work people have done on your behalf. They're just a bunch of screw-ups I guess - for getting it wrong all the time. Doing nothing, evidently, beats doing something wrong. You've been at exactly 1 advocacy meeting that I know of. Guess that was enough for you to know so much about how everybody was stupid!

FTM. BTW. Students are always going to get differential funding levels based on level of need. If you argue for equal payouts (as you seem to be) then your kid should get nothing extra - same as every other kid. Why should there be 1 dime extra for any kid with an SLD? Or any disability? Just spread it all around. Fair is fair right? If you go down the road of differential funding, then you're going to be at the place we are today. If you don't believe in funding by need, then we'll be back at 1970 - with equality, but no special education. No Hamlin Robinson for you! THat's for sure. It will be too expensive. And, not fair! Why should any Gen Ed student have to sit in a 35 kid class... while your kid luxuriates at HR? Why should he get anything special? It wouldn't be fair. Would it?

That's the irony of your arguments. You want some kids to get more... so long as it's your kid, and not another one. You want the "special" to mean you. And only you. Join the party! It's more fun when you sign up.

Anonymous said…
Your are mistaken about what you think I want. SP is not following the law in providing services (FAPE) in district or by placing students in outside services.

There are rules for using part B funding, if SPS follows the rules there's nothing to worry about. I know and SPS knows they are not following the rules.

I believe all SLD students should attend a school like HR or morning side for at least 3 years before the age of 8. Once past the age of 8 the success rate for SLD students drops significantly . By high school there's less than a 30% chance of academic success.

Be patient and see what happens.

Something wonderful.

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
Part one

Mr. XXXXX, thank you for the email. I disagree that there are any semantics at work here. OSPI takes its obligation to ensure FAPE—and to follow the law—very seriously. I do think, however, that your questions below make clear that I haven’t done a good job in explaining our position in this matter to you. So let me describe the genesis of the Seattle Public Schools C-CAP and the process that OSPI has followed in monitoring the District. I hope that context will help clarify the legal authorities that control here.

As you know, OSPI program review teams annually monitor selected school districts’ implementation of Part B of the IDEA pursuant to WAC 392-172A-07010. If the program review team identifies specific instances where a district has not complied with the requirements of Part B, OSPI will notify the district of the identified non-compliance to be corrected within one year of notification of the specific non-compliance. The district then must to initiate a process of corrections—including, if necessary, systemic corrections—to ensure that the non-compliance is corrected as soon as possible, but no longer than one year from the notification of non-compliance. WAC 392-172A-07010(3). Following that, if the district does not timely address the identified non-compliance with corrective actions, OSPI is required to institute procedures to ensure compliance. WAC 392-172A-07010(4).

Because the compliance issues are fact-specific, there is no single prescribed form that that process must take. The procedures can include, among other things, verification visits by OSPI to determine if the district is taking appropriate steps, technical assistance, requests for state audits, or the withholding of part of all of state and federal special education funding. WAC 392-172A-07010(4). Under the law, OSPI has wide discretion to institute one or more of these procedures—or identify another procedure that, in our assessment, is the most appropriate way for a district to ensure compliance.

Those are the key provisions of OSPI’s monitoring and compliance responsibilities under our rules. As I mentioned in my last email, however, there’s a separate rule and process relevant here: WAC 392-172A-07012. Under that rule, OSPI annually reviews the data it obtains from districts through required data collection and monitoring (and other information) and, based on that information, issues a determination regarding every school district’s overall compliance with the requirements of Part B of the IDEA. A “Level 1” determination means that OSPI has determined that a district meets the requirements of Part B. On the other end of the scale, “Level 4” means the district needs substantial intervention in implementing the requirements of Part B. A district’s determination level will, in turn, trigger certain obligations. Among others, if OSPI determines that a district needs substantial intervention (Level 4), OSPI “will withhold, in whole or in part, any further payments to the district under Part B,” in addition to other actions. WAC 392-172A-07012(4).

Unlike the district monitoring and compliance provisions in WAC 392-172A-07010, the law does not set a specific deadline for districts or OSPI to ensure overall compliance following a determination under WAC 392-172A-07012. But, since determinations are issued in November of an ongoing school year, the typical timeline for compliance that OSPI sets is prior to the beginning of the next IDEA federal funding cycle.

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
Part two

The distinction between, on the one hand, monitoring under WAC 392-172A-07010 and, on the other, determinations issued under WAC 392-172A-07012 is critical here. Following OSPI’s on-site monitoring of SPS in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years, OSPI identified several specific instances where the district was not complying with the requirements of IDEA Part B. We concluded that this non-compliance was systemic in nature and, pursuant to WAC 392-172A-07010, accordingly ordered the district in spring of 2013 to develop and implement an approved comprehensive corrective action plan. In addition, OSPI required the district to receive technical assistance to be provided by a nationally recognized third-party consultant.

As required under WAC 392-172A-07010(3), the district was required to demonstrate substantial compliance with IDEA Part B as a result of the implementation of the C-CAP by June 30, 2014. For reasons we’ve already discussed, the district did not meet this deadline. Exercising its discretion under WAC 392-172A-07010(4), OSPI extended the implementation of the C-CAP until June 30, 2015. To ensure compliance, OSPI will continue its quarterly verification visits to check on the district’s implementation of the C-CAP, and we will resume our annual program review activities in the fall of 2014 to verify the actions taken by the district with regard to compliance with Part B and the revised C-CAP. In addition, we expect that outside consultants will continue to provide technical assistance to the district to help ensure compliance.

Follow themoney
Anonymous said…
Part three

All of these actions—the C-CAP, the technical assistance, the verification visits—have been implemented pursuant to WAC 392-172A-07010.

The determination process set forth in WAC 392-172-07012 has been implemented separately. On November 1, 2013, OSPI issued its Level 4 determination for SPS’s 2012-13 school year. This, again, was an assessment of the districts overall compliance with IDEA Part B, using data and information provided by the district to OSPI. In the letter announcing the Level 4 determination to SPS in November 2013, Dr. Gill told the district that it must demonstrate substantial compliance with the requirements of IDEA 2004 by June 30, 2014. Otherwise, he said, any further payments of federal IDEA funding to the district in the 2014-15 school year will be jeopardized.

The district’s June 30 deadline for demonstrating compliance with the requirements of Part B under the WAC 392-172-0712 determination process has passed, and OSPI is currently evaluating our next steps. OSPI has not approved or provided the district any state or federal special education dollars for the upcoming 2014-15 school year. Indeed, we haven’t as of this date received SPS’s 2014-15 application for federal Part B funding.

When we do receive the application, we will assess ways in which OSPI can appropriately withhold Part B funds in whole or part to ensure compliance without burdening students’ access to special education services in the district. One possibility, as I wrote below, could be for OSPI to withhold the district’s 2014-15 funds by ordering that the funds be redirected to pay for consultants with demonstrated expertise, or other forms of assistance that are designed to bring the district into compliance. That, however, is just one option. Whatever manner we elect to withhold funds, the school district will have a right under WAC 392-172A-06065 to request a hearing to review OSPI’s action. And, if the district remains unsatisfied with OSPI’s action, it could appeal the decision to an administrative law judge and, ultimately, superior court. We can’t predict with certainty how long an appeal like that would take.

We anticipated that it would take one full school year for the C-CAP to be implemented. So far, the district has only worked with the external consultants for a handful of months. In our view, then, it’s far too early to tell if the C-CAP process will succeed. For a variety of reasons—including the procurement investigation currently being undertaken by SPS—the C-CAP is not yet being fully implemented. Regardless, our expectation is that the school district will meet the timelines of the revised C-CAP. If the district doesn’t, we will use our best judgment to initiate an appropriate procedure to ensure compliance in accordance with WAC 392-172A-07010(4).

I hope this overview is helpful in clarifying how OSPI’s legal rules fit together. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any more questions or concerns.



Follow themoney
Anonymous said…

None of that is news. None.

Last year, SPS didn't even fill out its form to request the federal money until February, when they finally did, and then they got their money.

I don't understand your point in posting this. Do you think that this year will be any different? So what if OSPI threatens to withhold money? They did that last year and released the money as soon as SPS turned in its request 7 months late. I predict the same thing this school year.

I really think if you can't be more concrete you should stop posting your sensationalist predictions. This isn't the National Enquirer.

Not Chickenlittle
Anonymous said…
FTM. Did you even READ the C-CAP? Seems like not. The biggest single issue? IepOnline. Wowweeeee! That's the big goal!!! They're gonna train everybody in software usage, specifically, how to click the "send" button. The main SPS "incompliance"? Not counting the number of kids with IEPs, because teachers (those evil people) weren't clicking "send". Voila!

The C-CAP goal? Teachers will learn to click "send" in IEPOnline.

The pricetag? The district will pay $1.6 Million so Doug Gill's people have nice cushy jobs. We need "national consultants". Voila! We can get them from Louisiana! Doug heard there was really good education there. That's where all his friends live. Isn't Louisiana part of "national"?

Now, what part of all that helps an actual student?

You Tell Me
maureen said…
I may have missed the definition in this thread, but Google says that SLD is "Specific Learning Disability"(Thinking it has something to do with dyslexia?). Can someone define in this context?
Anonymous said…
PS. Can somebody please tell me how you get on the list of "nationally recognized third party consultants"? How is it that TIERs and Accelify are "nationally recognized third party consultants"? And why would anybody ever want them?

Yep. Pulling results off Survey Monkey is a pretty neat trick. But really? For $150K, you'd think you'd get a little bit more. And then, they want to slip in the rest of the $1.6 Mil. Not bad for NO BID contract! Hey! If Silas Potter could do it, why not TIERs/Accelify? Inquiring minds want to know?

You Tell Me

Anonymous said…
SLD explained here


Anonymous said…
Follow the Money, whether you are on to something or not, what good does any of this do to the students who need to be better served, or served at all, right now starting Sept 3rd.

I'm not saying that your info isn't worthwhile. I am saying that it is quite a distraction. I see a lack of content (from any source) about how the district is going to help families and students with disabilities have a better experience starting now.

Just a reader ...

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