OSPI Says Seattle Schools is "High Risk" for Sped

SPED reported that this letter was sent to Seattle Schools today by OSPI.   As the Seattle Schools SPED Community blog says:

Strong words from OSPI and withholding of $3,000,000.00 should get someone's attention at SPS, maybe the school board should step in and make sure people are doing their jobs.

I note that on item called out by OSPI is the hiring of a consultant to come in and oversee the work. That is on the Board agenda for Wednesday's meeting but it may have come too late for OSPI's comfort.  

The district has thirty days to appeal to OSPI over the withholding of funds.

What is going on?  How did it get this far?  When Sped director after Spec director left, why didn't someone in senior management take control and not allow this to happen?  And meanwhile, it's the students, teachers and parents who suffer.

You can't be mad at any SPED parent who says they can't take the district seriously.  

A summary of OSPI's letter:

High risk determination. The United States Department of Education’s General
Administration Regulations in 34CFR 80.12 provide as Follows:
(a)    A grantee or subgrantee may be considered “high risk” if an awarding agency
Determines that a grantee or subgrantee:
(1)    Has a history of unsatisfactory performance, or
(2)    Is not financially stable, or
(3)    Has a management system which does not meet the management standards set
        Forth in this part, or
(4)    Has not conformed to terms and conditions of previous awards. Or
(5)    Is otherwise not responsible; and if the awarding agency determines that an
Award will be made, special conditions and/or restrictions shall correspond to the
high risk condition and shall be included in the award.
(b)   Special conditions or restrictions mat include:
(1)    Payment on a reimbursement basis;
(2)    Withholding authority to proceed to the next phase until receipt of evidence of acceptable performance within a given funding period.
(3)    Requiring additional, more detailed financial reports;
(4)    Additional project monitoring ;
(5)    Requiring the grantee or subgrantee to obtain technical or management
Assistance; or
(6)    Establishing additional prior approvals.
For the reasons described above, OSPI has concluded that SPS is a high risk grantee. 
In light of its 
- Level 4 determination, 
- its subsequent failure to demonstrate compliance with the  requirements of IDEA Part B as a result of the 2013-2014 implementation of the C-CAP by June 30, 2014, and 
- its failure to have both the required third-party consultant and a non-interim director  of special education services in place to implement the revised C-CAP, 
SPS has shown that it has a history of unsatisfactory performance with respect to the delivery of special education services under IDEA. Moreover, the District’s non-compliance described in the Level 4 determination, and its failure to implement the initial C-CAP in a timely manner, verify that SPS has not conformed to the terms and conditions of previous Part B awards and the required actions associated with the awards. Finally, SPS’s June 17th, 2014 internal audit shows that the District’s management system does not meet the standards required under the Department of Education’s General Administrative Regulations, 34 CFR Part 80.  
End of partial letter
Another part of this letter to Superintendent Nyland from OSPI says:

In a letter to Superintendent Jose Banda dated November 1, 2013, I indicated that, as a result of the Level 4 determination, 
"The district must demonstrate substantial compliance with the requirements of IDEA 2004 as a result of the 2013-14 implementation of the C-CAP by June 30, 2014.
Otherwise, any further payments of federal IDEA funding to the district will be jeopardized." 
The District never objected to or challenged this determination.


Unknown said…

My reading of this is different than yours.

First of all, from reading the letter, it is clear that OSPI is witholding the $1.6 million that SPS is required to use to implement the C-CAP. This is the 15% of IDEA funds that OSPI specified in the original C-CAP. Secondly, the remaining $1.4 million may at some point, be released to the district pending acceptable performance of the compliance issues of the C-CAP.

As I said in my comment about this issue on Friday, the fact that OSPI is actually withholding funds is progress from last year, as last year the district couldn't get the form filled out to even request their release until February.

Lastly, the wording of "High-risk" is interesting, as this is the new wording that Duncan uses in describing its new heirarchy of state ratings.

From http://1.usa.gov/YPNoP1: If a state needs assistance for two years in a row, IDEA requires the Department to take actions such as requiring the state to obtain technical assistance or identifying the state as a "high-risk" grant recipient. Should a state need intervention for three years in a row, IDEA mandates that the Department must take specific actions, which can include requiring the state to prepare a corrective action plan, enter into a compliance agreement or, ultimately, withholding a portion of the state’s funding."

Based on the fact that SPS reached the point last year which required corrective action, "high-risk" may actually be an improvement over last year's "Level 4" determination, or it may mean the same thing.

I think it was in the cards that OSPI was going to withhold some, if not all of the money, at least at the beginning of the year. It would almost be negligent of OSPI not to do this.
Anonymous said…
I see there is a change of tune by some and a refusal to believe by others...well I can tell you this from my phone conversations today with my OSPI and Federal contacts this is what is going to happen.

Unless SPS meets the June 2015 deadline the Feds and OSPI are going to require SPS to reimburse close to $36,000,000 million in IDEA part B funds.Read the fine print and the Federal laws, it's the reason that OSPI used specific language and CCed several federal administrators.

This is how OSPI and the Feds will control certain outcomes of SPS staffing going forward. Look for a few surprising changes at the top this year. The city is all over this and will be speaking to what it means for city control soon.

I expect the city hall to leverage this in it argument of control over SPS. It's a very good argument.

Yes. I'm making this up if it makes you feel better.So save your bashing!

OSPI pissed
mirmac1 said…
When TIERS was schmoozin' in Olumpia, there appeared to be a tacit agreement that they would essentially run SPS SPED during RC-CAP implementation. That would have been a flippin' disaster. Partly because the RC CAP is deficient in so many ways, and also because the TIERS principals were arrogant yahoos.

No surprise that they weren't picked for the second round. Hope the new consultant is worth more than a plugged nickel.
Anonymous said…
But how could TIERS running SPS SpEd have been more of a disaster than SPS running SPS SpEd? Could it really be much worse?

Anonymous said…
What a discrepancy between OSPI's description of how the C-CAP has been managed, versus the description provided to the School Board by SPED Staff at the April 30th Work Session on SPED

It's hard to know what to make of this.

mirmac1 said…
Parents have some influence, for the collective good, with SPS. OSPI has sat in its ivory tower for years, ignoring the many complaints parents have filed on major issues at the district. The board and Supt control SPS SpEd, they have no control over OSPI.

The 4/30 session reported gains in most of the CCAP goals. After the June "deadlines" (not really) and TIERS joke RC-CAP, well the goalposts were moved. Now OSPI's Doug Gill can wet his diapers and wail that the Sped "vision" was only 98% complete, or the procedures manual wasn't bound in nice binders, or the central staff coaching was not to his liking. All of this is irrelevant to our students' outcomes.
OSPI, why would we bash you? You obviously know everything. (But honestly, if you think you are the sole believer in a city takeover, you're wrong.)
Anonymous said…
Not everything, just a lot of inside information about OSPI, FEDS SPED, McWilliams, TIERS group and the master plan to stop the BS at SPS. Oh and the money!

Mr Higgings at the times is staring to see the light. check out his latest.

Unknown said…
To get a perspective on this, I think you need to get a look at the entire $103 million dollar SPS special education budget and the $600 million operating budget before claiming that withholding $3 million, $1.6 million of which is already earmarked, (all of which may be released at a later date) is really going to hobble the district. Three million dollars represents half of one percent of the total budget. I am glad that OPSPI is withholding money. If SPS had applied for the money this time last year, OSPI should have withheld all of it until they saw some progress on the C-CAP, and not released the rest of it until they met their targets, which they didn't.

When I have talked about this with other people, they have said that it is a very rare occurrence for a district not to have complied with the C-CAP. It would be stupid for Gill not to ask for assistance or at least oversight from the feds, as it is their money he is distributing.
Unknown said…
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Unknown said…
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Unknown said…
In regard to the TIERS AKA Accelify vs. Seneca group consulting, there is a very transparent memo connected to the awarding of the contract that you can see here: http://bit.ly/1pqpfFU. To quote the memo, "Overall, Accelify’s proposal, subsequent additional information and interview seemed to address the scope of work at a high level, with little detail and cursory suggestions for conducting the work. Accelify traded on the fact that they had undertaken the first part of the work and that this contract was a natural extension of that work without making a strong case as to why they should be hired to continue the work with a different team."

Yes, I think it would be worse if Accelify ran SPS Special Ed. If you were present at the night Accelify presented their findings, they put part of the blame for district's difficulties on the parents; in addition, they were very patronizing towards the parents.

I had written the board over my concerns about their lack of data as well as their dismissive attitudes towards the work done by the Special Education Taskforce towards an improved model of service delivery.

Finally, I was totally taken aback from reading the emails between the TIERS team and SPS personnel. In particular, the bizarre patronizing verging on sexist tone of Dr. Pasternak. We are far better off without them.
Anonymous said…
Your are a day late and a dollar short!

Anonymous said…
Mary Griffin, I was not present at the meeting where Accelify/TIERS/whatever presented the findings, but of course I would be disturbed to hear anyone put ANY of the blame for special education noncompliance on SPS parents. If that's how it went, I take back my comment. I didn't know. (It isn't that my opinion of the consulting group or the report was so high. It's just that SPS sped seems like such a disaster. Sorry, no offense to any of the hard-working employees in the department.)

Maybe this is too off-topic, but in Nyland's letter dated Sept 22, he mentions that they are trying to staff classrooms for this school year. Are there a bunch of special education classrooms without teachers? Why??

Anonymous said…
With all of these goings- on "above," what is to become of the students and teachers who show up every day? Daily school life continues no matter what is going on downtown or in Olympia and I hope that someone remembers to pay attention to the front lines. Do our sped students and classes all have teachers (don't laugh) are the IA positions all filled? Do teachers have computers, appropriate teaching/educational materials, are students actually receiving the therapy services documented on their IEP's? What does this all mean?

Concerned, that is one great question and the first thing that crossed my mind.
Anonymous said…
No many students are not receiving the services documented in their IEPs. More than 15 schools did not have certified special education teachers hired and in place on September 4th.

Gen ed teachers are still openly refusing to comply with students IEPs.

Nothing has really changed except a new coat of paint on the SPED facade.

--disgusted again

Anonymous said…
I note that the commenter who in past weeks kept saying this move was coming was roundly criticized by others on this blog. As of today I'll be listening to that commenter more, if (s)he has other information to share - though I do hope comments stay civil, as the nasty personal stuff going back and forth between the sped commenters is really untoward.

I am also about ready for the city to take over this district. I know it is not a popular view here, but if it were a choice, I'd say yes. I don't like the puffery of some of the city civil servants and pols but I simply cannot take the state of SPS special education anymore and for that matter the state of SPS in general.

The district has had more than a decade to fix special education. It hasn't happened and it isn't getting better. Are general education and advanced education better today than a decade ago? I'm not seeing it, except maybe in graduation rates. That's one indicator out of a dozen or more that haven't gotten better.

I'm no Pollyanna. Some of the city agencies can be infuriating. In particular, the planning department is weak, IMHO. But those departments do function and they manage to do so without entrenched unethical practices and ineffective results. Weak is still better than atrocious, which is what I rate much of Seattle school's management. We have to move on and I think this latest special education morass puts an exclamation point on it. I can't think of a worse-performing district of our size in the entire country. It is mindboggling how bad we are. Why should my family and those coming behind mine deal with this anymore in special education or any other classroom?

We need to start over.

'Feeling desperate'
Naomi C said…
I was at the TIERS Report meeting.

I'm working from memory, paraphrasing, and surely adding my own bias to what I'm about to share.

The TIERS presenter said with an earnest straight face that, based on his observations, parents in our district should be less contentious, more patient, and more understanding of the hard work done by the fine folks at the district. It's possible this was even said in reference to the problem of turnover at the Executive Director Level.
Anonymous said…
I attended this morning's "meet and greet" with Interim Supt Nylund this morning at John Muir Elementary. About 50 - 60 people were there with a good diverse S/SE community representation. I understand that last night's meeting at New Holly was also pretty well attended. At both places, issues relating to translation and interpreter services were raised for students receiving special education services. At Muir today members of the Chinese Info and Service Center spoke to this issue; last night evidently Somali families did the same.

I was surprised to hear Bernardo Ruiz state today that they have to become creative with their funding efforts to get these things covered for our non-English speaking families with kids with disabilities. Of course the question is what has happened to the funding that they have been allocated already.

The above has been reported up the chain of command over and over by SEAAC, by the ARC and Open Doors, by the Chinese Info and Service Center and others, for years. It would be a great new difference if the District would figure out how to establish true partnerships with these agencies which serve and support our families, who are so willing to help. And figure out where our SPED student funding is going, that families have to turn to younger sibs or janitors to translate during IEP meetings.

At today's meeting I also met sped parents from different S/SE elementary schools who are being asked egularly to come and get their kids early from school. I hear about these kinds of things often, actually. I expressed to the Interim Supt that it seems like building admins really aren't getting the memo about the District's brand new focus and commitments on the delivery of FAPE and LRE, that there continues to be the problem of no/weak trickle down from what we hear at District and community meetings from District folk and what our kids and families are actually encountering. I commented again that at this time the District has no way in the world to track whether any changes that are being brought about or even talked about in the context of the OSPI corrective action plan for sped are being felt by families positively or negatively at the building level.

Anonymous said…
I'm going to post my transcript of the TIERS meeting soon. Alan did try to blame parents specifically a few. You can see who he calls out in his emails to Gill.

I was told by a parent that at the public meeting that Alan in private told her to keep fighting you have KEEP fighting which is just the opposite of what he said in his speech.

TIERS group originally wanted to use the bottom up approach insuring SPED students where receiving FAPE and academic success. Someone at OSPI or SPS interfered and changed the presentation, that's why Alan gave that bazaar speech and McWilliams was so nervous she could not control her inflection. I suspect it was OSPI since Gill gave kudos to McWilliams even when Gill voiced earlier that he had no confidences in McWilliams.

The top down fix will never work! The new consultants if awarded the contract seem to be bottom up people. They will address the systemic problems happening in the class rooms. Be prepared for a fight between OSPI/consultants and the teachers union. Teachers are already complaining to the union about the load SPED students are putting on them and how SPED students will impact their evaluations. So here comes the co-teaching model with 2 teachers in every class with inclusion SPED students, whats missing? Scientifically base methodologies and curriculum.

Long road
Anonymous said…
If special education is going to get better, parents need to be effective advocates. Persistent and insistent, yes. On the attack with personal insults and calling '$hit' at every opportunity isn't going to work. It hasn't worked. It isn't working.

Tiers said families are legally entitled to better special education services. That is true. Tiers also said parents are part of the problem because it also is true.

If parents wonder why special education staff keeps turning over, why staff doesn't attend public meetings, why there is no SEAAC, why PTA is marginally effective at best, why parent opinion papers are thrown in the circular file, then parents need to question their approach in addition to questioning the system.

The system is broken. That is on the district. However, staff and consultants are done with being personally attacked. That goes for public and private attacks. Attack the problems, not the people. Until there is some change, parent-district partnership in moving forward is not likely.

The OSPI withholding of money is a statement not a solution. Even willing staff cannot be a sole solution. Parents need to step up to being partners not just attack dog critics.


Feeling Desperate, I hear your frustration and I share it.

I can only say that mayoral control has NOT done better in other cities.

And, the mayor you like today may not be the mayor you like next time. And, with control, a new mayor can change anything.

I do think (and have said this for a long time) that the district is playing into the hands of those who would want city takeover.

That raises the question: is that really incompetent staff (and many at the top seem way too smart for that to be true) or putting the district into a death spiral to LEAD to a takeover?

I'm going with the latter.

"...parents in our district should be less contentious, more patient, and more understanding of the hard work done by the fine folks at the district."

Wish I was there to have heard that. I probably would have given that person a cheerful earful. I seldom do that but that statement above is just ignorant and disrespectful of all that has gone before.

Long Road, Alan is who?

Okay Observer, what would being partners more than attack dog critics look like?
Anonymous said…
Well Observer, I have not seen changes from using the 'partners' strategy you suggest because I have so often dealt with teachers & administrators who are so convinced of their role as expert. The district needs to require some basic training about IDEA & FAPE.

I have heard things like,

'High IQ kids can't have a disability'- teacher.

'Giving accommodations in a gen ed classroom is the same as that child cheating' -teacher.

'Sped students can be sent to another building to make room for gen ed kids' -principal.

'I shouldn't have to put up with that kid making those noises all year' - teacher in front of the class.

'Standardized curriculum is specially designed instruction' - sped teacher.

'Well this just isn't the right school for everyone' - school psychologist

'That kid can only come on the field trip if the parent comes too' - teacher

'We'll just send all the sped kids to the gym' - principal

'You can't expect teachers to accommodate every kid with a disability' - school psychologist

-another parent
Anonymous said…
I'm sorry but any parent who has received emails via public records request sees the impunity that runs rampant with staff, not all usually it's the old timers.

It really simple for SPS publicly admit the violations of IDEA and denial of FAPE then make reconstitution to families and finally start following the law.

Until then the CYA lawyers will run the district.

Anonymous said…
Yikes, another parent --

I read your post and realized that I, a parent with only ONE SPED kid, had heard more than half of those myself (not all the same school -- but all in the process of parenting the same kid).

The issue I have with observer's post is that while it is true that sometimes parent attacks (on overworked sped staff) makes things worse -- there is simply no way for parents to proceed unless and until the SSD administration backs the parents at the school level. There has to be a huge push to bring compliance and collaboration down to the school level. This is NOT something that parents can accomplish. It HAS to be done by the District.

And no -- mayoral control would not help this. There are any number of people in city government who, I think, would be perfectly happy to warehouse SPED kids or neglect them to the point where they leave the district -- I KNOW some. They are scandalized by the extra time and effort that they think SPED kids take, and the amount of resources that they think "sped kids" take away from more deserving "normal" kids. They simply think that SPED kids are a "no return on investment" problem in a time of tight resources. They think these kids aren't going to grow up to have jobs, own property and run businesses, and there are few enough of them that they aren't worried about their parents either. Moreover, I have no doubt that if they thought they could tout things like downtown development, etc., to convince their constituents that it didn't matter if they ignored SPED problems, they would be happy to do so. Kicking this upstairs to someone even less accountable than SSD administration and the board is a recipe for further disaster.

They simply think that SPED kids are a "no return on investment" problem in a time of tight resources.

Jan, I increasingly hear this (or some form of this). I find it troubling.
Anonymous said…
Ok parents, you must file complaints with the OSPI if you have a legitimate violation. SPED needs and wants the gen ed teachers to step up and perform or ask the district for help.

Right now the US dept of ed is watching for and reviewing every citizen compliant, due process filing and OCR complaint. They need to see more than 5 a year although someone said SPS has over 16 Citizen complaints for 2014 a 300% increase over 2013.

The Feds will bring in personnel to run SPED and schools if and only if a significant systemic problem is documented.

Currently USDE knows the issues but with 7200 IEPs and only 15 complaints it just doesn't rise to a level of concern for them.

The OSPI Sept 18th letter deals with administrative issues only USDE wants to see how children are being affected, so tell them, please file with OSPI.

CC now
Anonymous said…
We need people who work smart not hard. Lets find the right people for the job, why piss away over $500K on consultants when you could pay all the SPED teachers $10K more per year and achieve much better results.

Give Tolley an ultimatum to get the Gen Ed teacher on the buss ASAP or find another job!
End BS
Anonymous said…
From the C-CAP

Activity 1.a.3. Meet to review OSPI Citizen Complaint decisions within ten school days and develop an action plan including timelines, person(s) responsible for any required actions(s), and implement the plan to address district systemic issues.

Output 1.a.3. An increased percentage of actions completed.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME ! What dolt wrote the C-CAP!

First don't you think you would want to address, the issue before a decision is made by maybe meeting with the family?

And by the way OSPI will issue its own corrective action to address the systemic issue at SPS

Who do these clowns think they are fooling!

Cooked goose

Unknown said…
I would agree with the commenters who say nothing on the front line is better. At the meeting with Dr. Nyland and Interim Executive Director of Special Education, seeral parents noted the same problems with ESY over the summer that SPS always has: no materials, no prep time, and low expectations. At the beginning of the school year, the usual problem of no therapy at the beginning of the school year was also mentioned. (This was something that one of the parents filed a citizen's complaint about two years ago.) The district noted that they had about 40 vacancies for special education teachers. They had 44 empty slots at the end of last year.

Dr. Nyland says he has experience with a similar situation in Marysville; he said that the first day on the job there he had a communication with Dr. Gill about the Marysville's lack of compliant IEP's. Apparently, he was able to handle that problem.

I will note two things: I have heard more from Dr. Nyland than I ever heard from former Supt Banda about special education. He has reiterated parents expressed concerns to several audiences. Generally speaking, I have the feeling that he is owning the problem rather than thinking that someone else does, which is exactly what we want.

The Times has an editorial today on Special Ed http://bit.ly/10lSvYI, and while it belabors the obvious, I don't know where they got their numbers regarding what percentage of students with disabilities can achieve at grade level. I have read 80%. Their percentage is 60%. Either way, the current graduation rate for students with disabilities in Seattle is about 51%, which is 6 points or so below the state average, and frankly is deplorable.
Unknown said…
Waiting, That' seriously depressing. He wasn't the Superintendent there last year, but it's hard to see how it could go bad in a year. I am going to have to read the consultants report. Thanks.
mirmac1 said…
BTW, the executive session today will cover the Executive Dir of SpEd McWilliams. Remember, the one that was "fired" some weeks ago according to experts. The board is demanding more information from staff before making any action.
mirmac1 said…
I've noticed a marked difference in "tone" from SPS middle managers since McWilliam's leave. Apparently they're back in FU mode. If I have to have one more patronizing comments about "losing Fed funding is BAD", well duh - don't lay that at my feet. But be warned that if you remove expert parents (for we know our kids and some of us know the law) then you deserve what's coming. Too bad the rest of use have to suck it up AGAIN.
Anonymous said…
I would urge everyone to keep this issue at the forefront. The Seattle School district has become quite skilled at denying students services in violation of state law. I think SPED is just the tip of the iceberg. We have been embroiled in a similar issue and OSPI has been quite clear regarding our rights as mandated by state law. Yet the district very simply refuses to comply with state law in our case.

-Don't let up on this

Watching said…
Wasn't there an audit issue with Sp Ed. and OSPI? Does anyone know where that issue stands?
Watching said…
", IDEA mandates that the Department must take specific actions, which can include requiring the state to prepare a corrective action plan, enter into a compliance agreement or, ultimately, withholding a portion of the state’s funding."


What are the specifics regarding correction action plans?
Watching said…
" Oh and the money!"


What do you mean?
Unknown said…

The specifics of corrective action plans are derived from the Sub-Integrated Monitoring authorized under IDEA: http://1.usa.gov/1vB3bNT. Here is a table of enforcement actions available per OSPI: http://bit.ly/1vB3log. Technical assistance for the district is listed on OSPI's website. Additionally, OSPI can request technical assistance from OSEP, the federal Office of Special Education Programs.

Note: the corrective action plan choice is only available when the supervising state agency, OSPI, believes that the district is able to correct its problems within one year. If the supervising agency does not believe that the LEA is able to complete the plan within a year, the supervising state agency should withhold funds and may refer to the Department of Justice. As you can see, SPS and OSPI are skating on pretty thin ice here. SPS's revised corrective action plan is available at http://bit.ly/10mzxRS.

The audit is here:http://bit.ly/1tkB5m9. There are several pertinent findings as well as recommendations which are called out in the letter from Doug Gill to the district.
Anonymous said…
Speaking of the Department of Justice(DOJ), I recently sent on to DOJ investigators copies of emails between McWilliams, TIERS, and OSPI.

I believe McWilliams is toast, lets hope they include Tolley and Ronnie in the investigation at least get something put in their files since it does look like on face value that the two condoned McWilliams maneuvers maybe even set her up?.

OSPI pissed

Anonymous said…
I don't get it, SPS is making the same compliance mistakes this school year as they did last school year.

I just don't see any real improvement. When you look at the corrective action plan there's quite a bit of central administration training ect. I think the purpose of IDEA is to make sure these students receive a free appropriate education (FAPE)that means teaching them just the same as other students.

There's a huge disconnect between housing these students and teaching these students. Of coarse you must first physically house them in a class room, but the goal is FAPE and FAPE in complex and I don't see enough implementation details coming out of SPS to think they have a chance at hitting the FAPE requirements.

It would be best for families if OSPI or DOE would allow families to tap into the IDEA funds directly for outside help until SPS has demonstrated compliance and FAPE around these students.

I just don't see the justice for the students here. We are in year four of documented non-compliance with documented systemic failures in every facet of special education, why should these students continue to suffer lack of FAPE while SPS attempts to figure it out.

I really believe every single board member should be investigated and perhaps recalled over this issue. I'm expecting to see the board president taking this on personally or resigning.

Many parents have been trying to meet with her for 15 months and she is hiding refusing to meet.

Anonymous said…
Well gee. Unbelievable. No FAPE???? None at all? How is it that 50% are able to graduate if there's no FAPE? The point being, that is such an incredibly vague thing to say. And the fact that some fly by night auditors said it... doesn't make it meaningful. Good luck getting OSPI or "the feds" to do anything! Postponing 1 or 2% of funding won't do a thing. The revolving door of bureaucrats care only about their next promotion, most likely not in special education at all.

Anonymous said…
Some fly by night auditors? Really? So you think SPS, OSPI and DOE are fly by night? What is your point?

You are making a huge leap by purposing because someone graduated that they received FAPE. It's like believing all the PHDs running around in JSC are really PHDs. Yes on paper, but not in application. I think you are unaware of just how many students graduate with alternative credits, there are many students who graduate high school reading no higher than at the 5th grade level! Is that FAPE? How can this be.

I wrote "I don't see enough implementation details coming out of SPS to think they have a chance at hitting the FAPE requirements."

Have you read the document?

Read the revised C-CAP before you mouth off again.


Anonymous said…

I think you are right on the money -- there are no implementation details at all and not even a definition of FAPE and the word is not getting out of JSCEE whatever it is.

Agreeing reader
Unknown said…
Here's the thing, most of us would agree on the facts that SPS needs to do a far better job of providing FAPE.

The fact that we have readers, presumably parents, constantly sniping at each other is a byproduct of the deplorable delivery of services. If special education services actually did what they were supposed to do, we would have no reason to gripe; we would all be toiling away at our jobs or engaging in our other life activities while our children received FAPE.

But the fact is that the delivery of services has been neglected, underfunded, under-supported and disassembled for so long that we not only feel compelled to gripe at the district but we gripe at each other.

I think we would all agree about the abysmal lack of services for students with dyslexia; we would agree also with other parents that their students aren't served in the least restrictive environment, and we would agree that students who are served in emotional behavioral self-contained classrooms are warehoused without appropriate curriculum. We would agree with gen ed teachers who say that they haven't been taught how to provide differentiated instruction to kids who are placed in their classrooms, and we would also agree that there are special ed teachers are isolated and unsupported by their administrators. These beliefs aren't in conflict with each other; they are simply the byproduct of a broken system.

The reader "OSPI pissed off" has every right to send off as many public record request emails to whoever he wants. I would have to say the emails are truly bizarre and provide more questions than answers. Whether they prove anything criminal or relevant to a DOJ investigation is another matter that doesn't concern me.

Reader, your point about FAPE is interesting, but I believe faulty. SPS has an abysmal graduation rate for students with IEPs. Our drop-out rate is similarly abysmal. Both are indefensible and do point to a systematic denial of FAPE. But why didn't the (as you called them) "fly-by-night auditors" or as I would say consultants provided any objective evidence of the denial of FAPE? As you pointed out, the consultants didn't bother to give us any objective measures that would lead any federal department to intervene. It does seem suspicious to me.

And OSPI pissed off, you keep harping about SPS SpEd's inability to provide documentation about use of federal funds. You also keep harping about the city coming in to rescue us as if it could do a better job. Just today we have the headline, "State audit says Seattle poorly tracks millions in federal grants." There really is no reason to think the city could do a better job tracking federal funds in SpEd.

I have little hope that the feds or the city will swoop in and fix things. Ultimately, this board and this superintendent need to prioritize special education and get it right.
Anonymous said…
Nobody said a 50% sped graduation rate was a good thing. High dropout rates are clearly a bad thing. And nobody is defending that. But, a 50% graduation rate does imply that a good chunk of students are getting a FAPE, for better or worse. You were never promised a Cadillac, right? If you can graduate by the standards of the granting institution, that's about as good as it gets. After all, those same people would be determining what FAPE is too.

Some fly by night auditors? Really? So you think SPS, OSPI and DOE are fly by night? What is your point?

OSPI isn't an auditor. SPS isn't an auditor. DOE isn't an auditor. TIER's is an auditor, as in, and auditor of services. That was their mission. But who is TIER's really? And, the district has hired many financial auditors, usually don't find much wrong with SPED, mostly because they don't want to.

Mr. FAPE claims that NOBODY is getting FAPE. I simply note that there's evidence that some people are getting FAPE, and am amazed that somebody would think that absolutely NOBDY is getting it. And truly, if failures to provide any FAPE at all were the truth, we'd be seeing a whole lot more complaints than there actually are. If parents are so willing to tear down each other, then likely there isn't such a big real problem.

By the way. What are the "FAPE requirements" that Mr. FAPE is so concerned about the district "hitting" on time? Mr. FAPE, can you tell us? I really would like to know what you think. I have actually read the C-CAP, and couldn't find a darn thing specific to "FAPE". Curious!!!!

There was a lot about filling unfilled positions. Well, that hasn't happened. There was a lot about school psych's doing evaluations within 45 (I think) days of referral. Great. But, not much FAPE there. (I guess for newly spedified, they'd be getting their FAPE (or NOT) more quickly if the evaluations were more timely.) Then, there was the bit about "retention of sped management" as a highest priority. Really? That might possibly lead to a FAPE in a decade, I don't see how keeping the same bureaucrat pushing papers, or pouring over IEPs comparing it to bell times etc, - helps my kid's FAPE, and I don't see the district retaining the executives/managers, nor them wanting to stay. The latest round of hires is as low as its ever been. How will they get me some more FAPE? Or anybody more FAPE?

Unknown said…

FAPE is what's for dinner. No special sauce, no sesame seed bun.

Some students do graduate. as you pointed out, some students do get FAPE. But certainly not enough students get FAPE.

Right now, there's not enough of it to go around, but for some reason, the consultants were unable to quantify the lack of FAPE. That's one thing that was wrong with the consultants, as you, I and Mr. OSPI pissed agreed on.

What we don't agree upon is what the solution is to the lack of FAPE. If we didn't have the lack of FAPE, you, me, and Mr. OSPI Pissed would all be sitting around singing Kumbaya. But we're not.

I think we need to put more pressure on the board, the sup, the interim, the director, the T&L, and so on. And we need to do it in a coherent, organized and persistent, but civilized way.

Anonymous said…
Hmmm. And what "way" would that be? The only listening the district ever does, and the only "pressure" that seems to matter to the district - is that done with a legislative bite. Eg, a complaint, a lawsuit, or the worry that one of those might arise. Sometimes a negative newspaper article has some influence.

Organizing a "coherent and organized" vehicle for applying pressure isn't easy. Families in sped are the most diverse, and have incredibly divergent issues. It's not like any one issue will resonate. I guess the one issue is FAPE. Not sure how you take it to the bank though.

Anonymous said…
If you're going to approach the board, super and staff in a coherent and civilized way, you're going to have to exclude half the current activists. It's not exactly their fault that they're not civilized with the powers that be anymore. But the fact is they're not. Which means no one downtown is in any hurry to spend a second more dealing with them than the law mandates. Collaboration? No.

Just Sayin
mirmac1 said…
Just Sayin'

You say that as if the people downtown actually ever listened to parent advocates. Thanks for the laugh this morning.
Anonymous said…
I think part of the problem is that many parents with Sped children are so exhausted already dealing with the challenges they face in daily life, that it is difficult for them to advocate for their children with the district. Many don't know what the rights to a FAPE means in practice, they rely on what the school people tell them. On the other side, SPS is forced into being very stingy in providing services, I almost think it is because they are so short on staffing that they are reluctant to give services to any children they are not FORCED to. The variability between whether adequate services are provided depends so much on the Sped Staff and the Principal and Counselor and the IEP team at each individual school; it is extremely INEQUITABLE.
I only have a very small sampling of our own experience and our friends' to make this judgement but I don't think I'm wrong. We have a friend who is at a school with a very good self contained program with adequate staffing so they are getting needed services. OTOH we have a friend whose child is extremely disruptive behaviorally and they were at a school not adequately staffed so staff dealt with the child(TC) by parking TC in the Resource Room for two years; education consisted solely of them giving TC books to read, as this was the only way to not have to deal with/avoid TC's tantrums. This student has no cognitive delays, only severe behavioral and emotional issues, and could definitely be mainstreamed with support and behavioral modification counseling and services. But the school TC was at was so short-staffed that they totally failed TC, who now reads books at levels 5 years advanced, but can't read a non digital clock!
In our own case, we were told straight out after the EEU that all that the school could provide us at that time was once per week speech therapy, so while our child needed more services, we would be better served getting these other services through private providers using our insurance than waiting (for many months, perhaps even years!) for the severely over subscribed services the school had.
I suppose we could have moved to a different school that would have had enough staff so we could get services, or fight the district. But since we had the insurance we did, and I was already so tired and overwhelmed, we did what they suggested.
I want to say clearly, however, that I do not blame the staff and principal at our kid's school at all. They were and are excellent, extremely dedicated professionals; they were just as overwhelmed and exhausted as us. I blame the district for only providing 0.5 counselor for 500+ kids, for only providing once day a week PT and OT at first, then axing these services completely after the student "bubble" caused conversion of the PT room into classroom. I bame the WA STATE LEGISLATORS the most, for starving K-12 AND college education in our state so much that the district people feel they have to steal from SPED and ELL to cover basic education needs. I blame those souless creatures in the House of Rep for stealing money from education to give big businesses like Boeing and Microsoft and Amazon and Exxon negative tax rates. I blame the bloody SCOTUS who allowed corporations PEOPLE status so they can BUY AND SELL politicians. AND I blame US for lazily sitting on our a**es at home and NOT VOTING during the midterms. You'd think we would have learned our bitter lesson after the George W horror, but we DIDN'T!! and here we are, with no hope of changing the House's make up for the next 10 years because of redistricting and voters suppression!

We NEED to get more FUNDING for our schools! We can rage forever at the illegality and incompetence etc., but NOTHING WILL CHANGE until there is adequate funding. So advocate for an income tax, demand the pot tax bonanza to be put towards education. Demand END of tax breaks for Boeing et al. Email your legislators every day, and VOTE VOTE VOTE!!! Again, NOTHING WILL CHANGE WITHOUT MORE MONEY!

Unknown said…
CCA, You are right to hope that when the legislature fully funds education that the "rising tide floats all boats" theory would presumably improve the situation for students who have IEPs. But I wouldn't count on it.

As long as the school board, the administrators, the principals and to some extent, the teachers, have bought into the "secret memo" that these students aren't worth the investiment, that they will never amount to anything, and that their achivement, future employability doesn't matter, you can count on SpEd being underfunded.

The parents are overwhelmed and as you point out, that they don't have the resouces to advocate for themselves, but I am telling you, it is just as important to advocate for your child as it is to make sure his or her teeth are brushed and his or her seat belt is on. Your advocacy starts for him or her at his or her IEP meeting. Your advocacy can also be in speaking to your school's PTSA or writing a letter to the school board. It doesn't mean you have to use a lot of time or go to things that you don't have time for.
Anonymous said…

As long as the school board, the administrators, the principals and to some extent, the teachers, have bought into the "secret memo" that these students aren't worth the investiment, that they will never amount to anything, and that their achivement, future employability doesn't matter, you can count on SpEd being underfunded.

This is a gross overstatement and the attitude that doesn't get special education parents anywhere. There is no secret memo. The vast majority of Seattle schools employees are trying to do the right thing by all kids. Under resourced? Yes. Under educated? Yes, sometimes.

But staff is not black hearts and daggers. The hyperbole really needs to stop.

Just Sayin
Unknown said…
Just sayin,

Of course it's hyperbole. Of course there's no secret memo.

I mentioned it in response to the comments from Jan and Melissa, Quoting Jan--

"There are any number of people in city government who, I think, would be perfectly happy to warehouse SPED kids or neglect them to the point where they leave the district -- I KNOW some. They are scandalized by the extra time and effort that they think SPED kids take, and the amount of resources that they think "sped kids" take away from more deserving "normal" kids. They simply think that SPED kids are a "no return on investment" problem in a time of tight resources. They think these kids aren't going to grow up to have jobs, own property and run businesses, and there are few enough of them that they aren't worried about their parents either. Moreover, I have no doubt that if they thought they could tout things like downtown development, etc., to convince their constituents that it didn't matter if they ignored SPED problems, they would be happy to do so."

But what you don't understand is that at the state level, there are people at OSPI, including Doug Gill, who do not want to include students who have IEP's in measures of state accountability as well as around the opportunity gap, despite the fact that graduation rate for students with disabilities is low and the drop out rate is high.

The state doesn't want to even include student with disabilities in its definition of opportunity gap, and it doesn't.

The state has no member to represent students with disabilities in its "Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee," but it actually includes a rep for Asian Americans, for whom there is no opportunity gap.

There is no mention of students with disabilities, IEPs, or special education in the the Road Map Project.

Until last year, in SPS, the Executive Director of Special Education did not sit at the cabinet level, despite having a budget that is 1/6 of the current operating budget.

I could go on. Secret Memo? No. Attitude? Yes.
Anonymous said…
@ Griffin. Then you and some of the more outspoken parents should just say what you mean and let the facts speak to your point. Because they do.

No need to demonize.

Just Sayin
Anonymous said…
Ok, I have had it with people believing that teachers are not contributing to the SPED issues. I can report after reviewing thousands of emails that not only are many gen ed teachers not doing their jobs in accommodating students,but also write in emails their negative attitudes towards SPED students,SPED parents and SPED central staff. Looking closely you see many SPED staff are trying hard to do the right thing, but are running into many teachers who for whatever reasons do nothing without fear of consequences.

The amount of dishonesty, retaliation and impunity at schools is disturbing and seems to be condoned by administrators.

SPS sets up an environment of SPED against gen ed with SPED staff seemly having to beg Gen ed staff to help students.

As for FAPE, the key is to clearly define what is APPROPRIATE for each student. Like Mary wrote you need to make sure your students IEP is well designed and then stay on top of it.

I would recommend you start by requesting monthly progress reports.
So many parents make the mistake of only meeting once a year and then finding out very little or no progress was made. This is a recipe for many years of failure.

There are very few people who think SPS will meet the June 2015 deadline and judging by the increase in citizen complaints and complaints to the ombudsman things appear to be getting worst or maybe all the publicity has educated more parents and motivated them to action.

I don't we as parents should sit back and hope SPS will change and for many of us it seems only confrontation works. It takes a lot of energy and time to deal with SPS and many give up and leave or just settle for what ever happens.

SPS is a Billion dollar bureaucracy with 5380 employees yet only 2350 teachers for 53,000 students. SPS has one of the highest administrative cost structures in the nation, it's student achievement per dollar is below average.

I think SPS is well funded, but is grossly mismanaged at every facet. The myopic think intrenched across all depts need overhauling if anything is going to improve.

OSPI pissed

Anonymous said…
Mary Griffin, you are right in believing that the right/just thing to do in a better system would have been to demand the services my child needed and was legally entittled to. I must admit that at first I was extremely angry and wanted to fight, but I thought about it very carefully and came to the conclusion that since I am relatively articulate and fairly proficient at navigating large institutions, I probably would have been able to get what we need from the district/school at the end. However, the reality was that this would mean another child at that school would be denied those services - one who might not have the type of insurance that will pay for private providers, one who had no recourse other than the school - and that is also unjust. There was just not enough services to meet the need of all the Sped children at that school, not anywhere close to enough! The whole thing is a huge fustercluck!
There was no optimal choice, we made the decision that we feel was least harmful for everyone and least stressful for us. I do not deal well with anger, it makes me physically ill.
Could our not forcing the district to meet their fiduciary responsibilities embolden them to act more irresponsibly? Are there people who believe that Sped children are not worth the expense and effort of educating them? Certainly those people exist, some of them are even parents of Sped kids (from what I have read from that poster who kept complaining about autistic kids taking money from his children!). But I believe that in our case the staff was trying to do the best for all of the students they had. We could get services elsewhere, others couldn't, so the staff wanted to help the ones who would otherwise be abandoned.

It is miserable, these imperfect choices we all have to make. I try to remember that at least we have some choice. Though if Texas succeeds in changing the textbooks to indoctrinate children to their crazy bigotted world views, it WILL be disastrous, they control what will be in textbooks for the whole country because they are so big. We'll raise a populace of dangerous idiots.

Unknown said…
@Just Sayin,

You may be right that it is not helpful for me to engage in non-obvious hyperbole on this blog. Generally speaking, it is unusual for me to do so.

Unlike OSPI-pissed, I have very little interest in attacking the intentions of SpEd teachers. Well, maybe one or two. But certainly not overall. Generally, I think they are not well-supported.

CCA, you are right that we are faced with difficult choices in a world of limited resources. I still think, like others have suggested on this blog, that we need to keep the pressure on the district to do the right thing.
Anonymous said…
Teachers are evaluated on their students' success. They get disciplined/transferred/fired if they can't manage their classrooms or get their students to pass the million and one tests kids are always forced to take these days - I can't even remember all the stupid acronyms anymore, there are so many, all seemingly useless - so certainly they will not want any student who prevent them from teaching their classes. It's survival instinct, teachers are not robots, they have bills and mortgages and kids to feed just like the rest of us. If there is adequate support for the mainstreaming Sped student(s) so that the class teaching can proceed normally, then there would be no problems from most teachers. Of course there are always going to be those who don't want any Sped kids ever. Bigotry & Idiocy & Cruelty exist in all professions, but I believe most teachers are not like that.


Anonymous said…
It would be interesting to follow a student thru SPS. From what I've seen as SPED students move thru the system the problems are magnified.

In K-5 a SPED students usually has one general education teacher and a resource room staffed by a special education teacher. Perhaps the student might receive other related services. Sometimes you get lucky and get a general education teacher who is also a trained special education teacher. The student demands at K-5 in most cases is much lower than whats coming. Unfortunately failures at the K-5 level usually point to a disastrous future.

Now the student moves to middle school, and they have to deal with 6 new teachers who usually have not be briefed on the students needs.

The school will attempt to place the student in a studies skills class and count that as service minutes when there is little to none SDI happening. Usually only the Gen
ed teacher on the IEP team will attempt to accommodate the students IEP.

The student will struggle and staff will work to maniplulate grades or negotiate Pass/Fail scores. By 8th grade social embarrassment will start to dominate the students mindset leading to depression and self shaming.

Next comes high school where the student's self confidence will diminish and by the time 11 grade arrives there is a 60% change the student will drop out. Those that stick around will most likely have a transcript full of P/F marks are a sub 2.0 gpa.

So that's FAPE at SPS for many SPED students. You are free to check the facts, but I warn you it a very sad read especially the suicide risk.

OSPI pissed
Anonymous said…
I agree that the district needs to do better. There seems to be many in SPS Administration who don't know what to do or don't care enough to do anything. Too many who is only interested in climbing the ladder quickly with the least effort expended.

We need more people in the schools and fewer managers/directors/assistant sups. It seems there are so many of these bosses no one knows who is responsible for what. It's a huge Medusa head just wriggling around to very little purpose or accomplishment.
But there also some extremely hard working, kind and caring people working for SPS and doing the best they can under difficult conditions (I have had personal experience of this, people working late into the eves & weekends to solve problems for parents).

But we also need more money. Full funding might not solve all problems but it will solve many. If people are not always forced to rob Peter to pay Paul and being all stressed out with everyone angry at them, they will function better.

We need to advocate for both: better compliance and more money.

We also need to look at the federal funding for Sped, when was the last time the funding level was calculated? Is the money provided sufficient to pay for all the services a that are needed? Was this funding reduced by the crazy blackmail games from the US house, the sequestration, the government shutdown? Cause I read the Cruz-Boehner-McConnell cabal is promising to gut education/social/health & environment funding if they win the Senate. We may soon have no federal money for Sped at all.

Anonymous said…
I want to go back to a comment by "Jan" earlier in this thread:

"... there is simply no way for parents to proceed unless and until the SSD administration backs the parents at the school level. There has to be a huge push to bring compliance and collaboration down to the school level. This is NOT something that parents can accomplish. It HAS to be done by the District."

The precariousness of things at the building level for our parents of students with disabilities … this cannot be overstated. Now that they're supposedly creating policies and procedures for SPED including for Executive Directors of Schools, let's start with the SIT (Site Intervention Team) process. That's supposedly the first building level process when something appears to be going awry for a student in general education, right? Yet it seems that not only do SIT processes vary from building to building, a building can actually tell a family there’s just no room on the calendar to get it done. One family I know had to wait 6 months, though everybody agreed there was enough information to consider things in an organized way via the SIT. Then it was MAY. The family transferred to another school and within 2 weeks the SIT was held and the new place is quite on track with this student. What actually are building obligations – let alone ethical and professional imperatives – around SITs?

And how long do schools wait to convene a SIT? What about a kid who comes into elementary school with a diagnosis of ADHD, spends a lot of K and first grade getting sent out of the classroom for “behavior” … many calls home to the family come get your kid etc and now in 2nd grade the school is falling back on suspensions and detentions. Guess what? The family never even heard about the Site Intervention process. Their kid’s first grade was a horrible ordeal for the family and the student. The school still has not mentioned a SIT. Nobody ever mentioned 504 plans.

I hope that in a policies and procedures manual we will see (a) a systematized SIT process that doesn’t vary from school to school and obligates schools to act more swiftly against plain indicators, (b) diligence in communicating with families whatever they need to know about processes when developmental or other deficits may be in the mix or behaviors are occurring that are interfering …, and (c) requires schools to suspend the administrators and staff where they’re choosing to fall back on suspensions instead of convening SIT processes or IEP meetings to get things resolved. Really.

In the above examples, the common experience of the families is the good faith and TRUST that they came into the school system with. They were shy, they were worried about not being a “nice” family, and in one case today are being really actively intimidated by the IEP teacher to not ask things like “can you show me a service matrix of where my child is receiving these services”. Now the family has distress anew about not being “trusting.” It’s terrible. As anybody who attended the TIERS Open Mic nights will attest, parents are struggling alone in the buildings with no backup at all, and extreme distress at the relationship tension being caused by asking for services. I want to ask Seneca Family Services to prove their commitment to our families by placing indicators for family well being into the corrective action mix and tracking them with transparency out to families and up to OSPI.
Anonymous said…
The TIERS group had a grand scheme known by a few at SPS. They where looking for a multi-year multi million dollar relationship for them and a sizable software purchase contract for their buddies.

In someways it looks like several SPS individuals had national level aspirations with join the TIERS group which was formed to be handed the SPS contract.

Why sit in a dysfunctional district and be a punching bag for parents when you can go national and assume the role of savior with loads of perks, more money and no accountability.

OSPI pissed
Anonymous said…
OSPI pissed said: "Ok, I have had it with people believing that teachers are not contributing to the SPED issues. I can report after reviewing thousands of emails that not only are many gen ed teachers not doing their jobs in accommodating students,but also write in emails their negative attitudes towards SPED students,SPED parents and SPED central staff. Looking closely you see many SPED staff are trying hard to do the right thing, but are running into many teachers who for whatever reasons do nothing without fear of consequences."

Too true, I fear. The problem here is the problem of generalization. We ran into a couple of complete brick walls in HS -- one in chemistry, one in Spanish (both areas my SPED kid should have done well in) -- one in "health" of all things. They flat out were not interested in the IEP. One simply said she would not do the stuff in it (help with note taking, accommodations in exam taking, etc.) The SPED teacher was helpless; the principal disinterested. The other said all the right words, and did absolutely squat -- even when called on it!
On the other hand -- my child had some incredible teachers in World History, AP European History, Marine Science, and sophomore and AP English. People who were more than willing to go the extra mile. OSPI pissed is so right on SOME teachers -- but I find it really hard to go there -- because I so don't want to discourage, or undercut, those teachers who DO rise to the task -- and do it brilliantly.

Bottom line -- we DO need to deal with the problem teachers. I don't know what it would be like in elementary school to have a classroom teacher with a negative attitude about my SPED kid (mine didn't go to public school until high school). But it is NOT POSSIBLE (in my experience) to get through high school without running into at least a couple of land mine teachers. They destroy GPAs, ruin self-confidence and degrade the joy of learning. They exhaust parents trying to support their SPED kids' education. I cannot imagine how it is for kids with parents who don't speak English, or who have only one parent working two jobs and unable to be hands-on -- I would guess that for those kids, getting through high school with a handful of these teachers in the way is often an insurmountable task.

Note to reader -- your point on FAPE is a good one -- but you also need to keep in mind that many of the kids who DO get through aren't really getting FAPE in school -- they have families paddling like crazy OUTSIDE of school to provide the additional tutoring or other supports to get their kids a FAPE (since most of this costs money -- I guess at that point it is an APE) despite the school's failure to do its part.

Anonymous said…

Your experience speaks for itself. I think most of the problems regarding the teachers who don't implement IEPS (and worse) starts in the certification process--there is little to no training given. Many teachers don't "get" that they are professionally and legally liable (and morally, I believe) if they don't implement the IEP. This
lack of training continues once they get hired. I have never attended (or heard of) a single PD dedicated to Special Education.

The disabilities that can't be seen are very easy to ignore when you are ignorant, overworked, and lack any real training at all. This, by the way, does not excuse anyone who is behaving that way.

I would recommend that advocates continue to press the district to train Gen. Ed. teachers, and make them aware of their legal obligations. I truly believe that many simply have no idea. Again, that is not an excuse.

--enough already
Anonymous said…
Enough already,

Sadly, training and professional development are not going to cut it without political will from the very top of the organizations who run the show - SPS and its labor partners. If training were to focus on what discrimination looks like in practice --in word and in deed-- to me this would be the first leg of the trip that SPS and its labor partners need to take. Why should it be up to families, always, to shoulder the burden of explaining why certain comments or actions are illegal and insensitive.

Anonymous said…
They (the schools) just don't get it. They have gotten away with violating the law for a decade and no one is willing to call them out. OSPI needs to understand the SPED staff does not control the rouge general education teachers.OSPI should send their compliance officer to each school and inform the teachers that they will lose their certification if found in violation of IDEA.

Require rouge IDEA violating teachers to attend IDEA IEP compliance training on weekends without compensation or face termination of their teaching certification.

We had 4 meetings with our school this year and still they failed/refused to follow the IEP that they developed. Now they have a lawsuit on their hands, because they committed the same violations last year and falsified to OSPI that they completed the OSPI mandated corrective action training.

Insanity rules
Anonymous said…
Jan, Right On! Yes, an APE. That's what we get! But don't lots of other kids also rely on tutoring to make it through? At least students in special education have a few other options. And right on! It totally sucks when you hit that road block teacher. You often CAN work through it though, and sometimes you've got to use that IEP complaint process which is onerous.

CCA. I take umbrage at the idea that lack of federal funding is an excuse for anything. Special education is a STATE mandate here in Washington. The state is responsible for every dime of it. Really, the federal government shouldn't have to pay a dime. If they do, it's just a bonus. Besides, SPS just throws the money into the general pot anyway. Or spends it on ridiculous efforts like the RC-CAP. Seriously. Actually read that thing. IEPonline??? Training teachers how to use a really good IEP writing tool, and paying for software upgrades, is going to give somebody a FAPE, (or an APE)??? I don't think so. Can't believe OSPI went for that one. (Actually, I can believe it.)

Insanity Rules. Can't you just stick to 1 moniker? Your spelling and language errors always give you away. Hint. Rouge is a cosmetic, NOT an adjective describing teachers. Look at the number of postings you suck down. But we get the idea, teachers suck, and you're single-handedly going to make them pay, even if you can't write a sentence without an error. You go, boy!


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