Friday Open Thread

Once again,  the end of the week and a massively horrific incident, this time in Nice.  Please send out good karma and prayers for all affected by this mass murder and by the people of France.  (I note that Dallas had lit up public buildings in blue for their slain officers and one building was done in the colors of the French flag.  Classy.)

In the name of democracy, a good article from the Global Oneness Project, Five Habits to Heal the Heart of Democracy by Parker Palmer.
If I were asked for two words to summarize the habits of the heart American citizens need in response to twenty-first-century conditions, I would chose chutzpah and humility. By chutzpah I mean knowing that I have a voice that needs to be heard and the right to speak it. By humility I mean accepting the fact that my truth is always partial and may not be true at all, so I need to listen with openness and respect, especially to "the other," as much as I need to speak my own voice with clarity and conviction.
Former Queen Anne principal, David Elliott, is opening a private school, Solve for (x) School.  They have a fairly specific page on qualities they want (or want to develop) in students.

The district has made the announcement of the new "division" in the district - Student Supports.  It is to be headed by former director of Special Education, Wyeth Jessee.  Looks like Michael Tolley's empire is expanding.
After several months of internal stakeholder engagement, SPS launched a multi-phased restructure of the central office to increase support to schools, build system coherence and improve accountability. 

Under this restructure, a new division of Student Supports has been created and includes: behavioral supports, counseling, nursing, Special Education, English Language Learners (ELL) and the Advanced Learning services and will work in close partnership with the Curriculum and Instruction division.
 The district, in explaining staffing adjustments, says this:
Based on the June enrollment projections, we are expecting 53,107 students (headcount) for our 2016-17 school year, an increase of 783 students over last year’s official October 1 headcount.  
Looks like several middle schools are losing teachers with Mercer losing the most at 2.4 FTE.  But it is the high schools that are taking on the chin with nearly all of them (comprehensive) to experience some kind of cut.  Sealth is still losing 3.0 FTE.  What a loss.

Saturday director community meetings:
President Betty Patu - Caffe Vita, 5028 Wilson Ave S. from 10 am to 11:30 am
Director Leslie Harris - Southwest Branch of Seattle Public Library, 9010 35th Ave SW
from 3-4:30 pm

The Board has been silent on the Garfield "Honors for All" issue; might be a good opportunity to ask these directors for their thoughts.

What's on your mind?


Benjamin Leis said…
I saw this on FB. Ms. Povey is looking for donations to fund chemistry lab tables at Franklin.

madpark said…
"Garbage collection is a mandatory class for SM4 students at GHS"

I found this comment from the detracking thread troubling. Can someone explain what a SM4 is? Are there levels/catagories of SPED kids? Do they really teach Garbage Collection at Garfield? Maybe it was a joke?
MadPark, there are indeed classifications for Special Education services because of the range of issues - blind, deaf, autistic, behavior development issues, etc. I do not know about "garbage collection" work. I'm sure other readers could fill in better than I can.
Anonymous said…
There are levels/acronyms for the various service models.

SM4 is one of the self-contained models for kids with more significant issues that also need higher special ed teachers and higher than normal teacher:student ratios.

-another sped parent
Anonymous said…
Earthcorps is a club at GHS that spearheads the recycling program at GHS. It is a very labor intensive project and students from throughout the building participate through their various clubs or classes earning community service hours towards graduation. It is not a mandatory class. Here's a video describing the program for anyone interested in learning more -

Old Bulldog
Lynn said…
Digging through the garbage is an actual assignment in Garfield's Life Skills class for special education students.
Anonymous said…
At several schools the first thing SpEd kids do in the day is clean the lunchroom tables after breakfast. It's supposed to be "job skills". Gen ed kids don't worry about cleaning up much, because they know the SpEd kids will clean up after them. It's appalling and more widespread than you think.

open ears
Anonymous said…
As a parent at Garfield I've volunteered with the lunchroom recycling and dug through the garbage too - it is part of the job. Kids make mistakes between trash, recycling and composting, the people helping out with the program correct the errors as much as possible. I received a lesson in this before volunteering, as do all student and adult volunteers. There are a lot of different groups/clubs/classes that work on recycling at Garfield - it's a big job.

Lynn said…
It's not a volunteer activity for kids in the Life Skills class and Life Skills isn't an elective class for them.

Anonymous said…
I read the article. SM4 kids are functioning at an early elementary level. In addition to learning how to sort recycling, which is considered a job skill, they learn a myriad of other "life skills" in the program and transition to an 18-21 program at places like Swedish Hospital to train for eventual employment, hopefully. Laundry, sorting, recycling - if these "life skills" help a disabled individual land a job, where is the controversy? Mr. Stevens, who teaches SM4 at GHS seemed very positive and the article did not have the negative tone you are projecting.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
madpark said…
Thanks all for the info. The term "lower functioning" used in the Garfield article sounds bad to me, but then I also think the term general ed sounds like general population, as in prison general population, so it could just be me.
I don't suppose the kids going through the cash get paid at all.
n said…
Just read the "student qualities" expected(?)for enrollment at Elliott's school. $15,500 - how does that stack up compared to other private schools? No address yet? Couldn't find one. This is all pretty interesting. As more private schools spring up, they'll take the best teachers with them. I guarantee it.
Lynn said…
I expect he's got a built-in student body with the kids coming out of Queen Anne Elementary. It's quite clever of him. (No sarcasm - I really do think it was a smart choice.) He's looking at test scores of applicants too and that bodes well for challenge in the classroom.
n said…
He's out from under the thumb of the district. I agree It was smart and probably a big relief. You can bet he's got great backers.
TechyMom said…
That's low-average for private, non-religious elementary schools. Sounds like they've done their market research.
Charlie Mas said…
I read the District's announcement on the appointment of Wyeth Jessee to the new Student Supports job.

"Seattle Public Schools (SPS) appointed Wyeth Jessee to Chief of Student Supports. Effective July 1, Jessee will provide leadership to the new Student Supports division with a focus on the implementation of the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model."

He has the job to come up with creative explanations for how they are making lots of progress on MTSS implementation without getting any closer to getting the job done. It's challenging work that can only be done with the help of a leadership that turns over like a spin cycle and constant revisions to the lexicon.

He will start with an honest appraisal of the failures to date and a new timetable for implementation. That will buy him the five years he'll need to find another job before people discover that he hasn't done anything productive.
Unknown said…
I am going to ask Melissa to post the schedule for low incidence kids at Nathan Hale High School, because I think people need to see just what kind of a program the school district uses with the "low incidence population." The "low incidence" population includes studetns with down syndrome, cerebral palsy, visual and auditory disabilities and autism. Despite that fact that by the age of 16, federal law requires that students with IEP have an individualized plan for transition to life after high school, students with IEPs in Seattle, generally do not receive such services unless their parents are savvy enough to demand them. According to federal law, Transition services are a coordinated set of activities that promote movement from school to such post-school activities as post-secondary education, vocational training, employment, adult services, independent living and community participation. They must be based on the individual student's needs, taking into account his or her preferences and interests. Transition services must include instruction, community experiences, and development of employment and other post school adult living objectives. If appropriate, daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation may also be included. The point I would like to make about recycling classes at Nathan Hale and other schools is that these are not classes that have been linked to any post-secondary plan for most students. Most students with disabilities, not unlike other high school students do not have a passion and a desire to recycle garbage after they graduate from high school. Tracking these students into non-diploma classes where there is no options to not participate, and there is no particiation by general education students constitutes a deprivation of a free appropriate education as well as a violation of civil rights. Dumping repetitivee unskilled and stigmatizing jobs on students with disabilities not only deprives them of the opportunity to learn skills in areas where they may have a passion, but also reinforces society's notion about the proper place for people with disabilities in the community. This is a lesson-about the proper place for persons with disabilities-that is put in place for the entire school community to learn, including the students without disabilities. I have asked Melissa to post the schedule so that people can see what kinds of curricular standards we, as a community, have in Seattle Public Schools for students with disabilities.
Anonymous said…
Here's what I've seen,

Emails between a SPS director and a SPS supervisor were the director is instructing the supervisor to document (on her laptop in real time) the questions OSPI is asking regarding IDEA compliance during the OSPI SPED audit (again being sent to the director in real time). According to the emails, the documented questions are then used to coach others who are scheduled to be interviewed.

No shame
Unknown said…
No shame, If you have those, you should post them.

I was disappointed to find out that OSPI notifies SPS in advance of which student's IEPs that OSPI will audit. (I believe the notice is 3 days, but I will have to research that.) I don't know so much advance notice of which students IEPs will be inspected even qualifies as an audit. I would like to know how many IEP's are modified in the time between notice and inspection by OSPI, and what the substance of the modifications are.
Mary G, I'm not sure I know how to find that schedule; do you have it (or do I need to request it from the district?)
Unknown said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Believe it or not, sorting recycling is an actual job in the real world. Some of Seattle's recycling is sorted by actual people. Some things like metal can be sorted out by machines while other things have to be sorted by a human. Whether or not students in SPS will choose these jobs is another story.

There is a bagger at the QFC I shop at, with Down's Syndrome. She came up through the SPS program.

Unknown said…
HP, I am not sure if you are missing the point or not. I am completely aware of the fact that there are people who sort recycling. My point is that there is there are a lot of assumptions here about students with disabilities that have nothing to do with an individualized educational program that is supposed to prepare them for Life Beyond High School. If a particular student, whether that student has disabilties or not, has a particular passion for recycling, or requires the skills involved in the recycling class for his future job that has been identified and his IEP, then perhaps that person should be taking classes in recycling.SM -4 classes are classes that are staffed with a student certain ratio of teachers and instructional assistants. That's all it is. But dumping all thise students who are in an SM4 class, based on the staffing levels that student is supposed to receive, into recycling classes is inappropriate, as it is not individualized, it is stigmatizing, and it uses up class time that could be used for developing skills in an area where the student has an interest that is tied to the goals of their IEP. That is not happening.
Anonymous said…
I was told today by a SPED staffer that 70% of 15-16 IEPs were not compliant. Trying to verify.

Carol Simmons said…
Mary G

Thank you. I totally agree with your post. Schools should not have students going through garbage, period. Recycling is a activity, life skill, education that can be addressed and taught another way. At one time, cleaning the lunchroom was a punishment for a transgression, and mostly Black students were doing the cleaning......due to the "transgressions" that were disproportionately recorded and referred.

n said…
I sort of disagree. It shows the disrespect we have for people who do these services for us. Perhaps the whole school should partake a week to do this service. These people who do it in real life are contributing to a much-needed service now that society has prioritized our environmental land landfill needs. Perhaps the issue here is who is performing the service. Let everyone do it and teach them respect for all the people who contribute in any way that they can. "Going through garbage" is an employable service today. Let's stop judging . . . somebody has to do it. And that somebody is anybody who needs a job.
Unknown said…
n, I don't have any problem with everybody doing recycling. I don't have a problem with recycling. I have a problem with the fact that the district thinks it's okay to assign the task of recycling to students with disabilities and call it a class. These students are already stigmatized. These students are already segregated. They could be using the time learning something connected with their own individualized education plan it has to do with their own individualized post high school goals. I am guessing very few students of any sort decided that an appropriate educational goal is to be able to sort garbage.
n said…
I get that and I agree with you. I think we need to see these services from a different angle. This is an opportunity to teach the value of such service rather than talk about it in a denigrating fashion. It's a different world today. With so much unemployment, we should value work wherever we find it. A teaching moment may I say?
Lynn said…
Then let's add recycling to the mandatory health class so that general education students can benefit from and appreciate this service too.
Anonymous said…
I don't have any information or particular knowledge of the SM-4 program beyond what I've read on this blog. However, I do have experience working with transition students in another district. Often the types of pre-transition job skills training could involve things like school recycling or mail delivery. Often it's because the only types of jobs available in the community to the population in later transition programs include those skills. Often students try out a variety of jobs to see which are suitable and/or is part of learning how to follow directions and develop stamina. Just food for thought and the cold reality of what types of jobs are most often available. And not from lack of effort on the part of job coaches or teachers.

Just Messenger

Unknown said…
No, I don't think it's a teaching moment. That's exactly my point. I think that this should stop. I think the education of students with disabilities would be far improved if there were higher expectations for their education. Continuing to mandate that students with disabilities take classes in recycling garbage only furthers the stigma that is associated with for students with disabilities. If you want to educate people about recycling then do it with the Gen Ed kids. Only. If this were only girls who had to do this or only blacks who had to do this, would you say this was a moment to educate the other students about how valuable recycling is? No, you would say but that was unfair and discriminatory, and you would say either everybody does it or nobody does it. It's not a teaching moment. It's a moment to say "No."
Lunch Composting said…
Have you ever watched elementary students compost during lunch? It is disgusting. These excited kids practically dumpster dive to get a plastic utensil out of the food bin. The food bins are lined with ketchup and other disgusting partially eaten food pieces. Then, they think it is fun to blow-up their gloves into a glove balloon. Or, the kids take off their glove and eat a cookie without washing their hands. I feel extra concerned during cold and flu season.

Earth Corp students compost, too. At the end of the school day, these students go through various recycle bins, take partially eaten sandwiches out of garbage and place in compost bins etc.

I've also seen Earth Corp students at various festivals around Seattle. Again, they are dealing with compost and recycle bins on the streets of Seattle.

These kids feel good about what they are doing and they feel they are making the world a better place.

I've been concerned about the lack of education around hand washing etc. I think more students need instruction on recycling, composting and health safety.
Anonymous said…
Old Bulldog. You are old indeed. Sure, there might have at one time been some sort of Earth day recycling club which is/was voluntary. That is NOT what we're talking about. Students with the SM4 service at Garfield have indeed been forced in to "Garbage" duty/class. For hours and hours every week. This year. It's a class. Evidently, the teacher there thinks it's a great life skill. So there it is - kids doing janitorial work. What he doesn't know - kids with severe disabilities who become used to playing in garbage, or picking it up - sometimes become obsessed with picking up other people's garbage. And, they just do that, long after the class is over, and as some sort of habit. It is inappropriate and dangerous for highly impacted students to develop this as a "skill" - when it really isn't a job skill at all. The other thing - real sanitation jobs are high paying and definitely aren't where students with disabilities ever really get hired. Have you ever see a non-verbal autistic man riding on the truck and picking up your garbage? I haven't. Looks like the "training program" isn't working. Where is the research behind this program? This class at Nathan Hale has a few names also - "Team Recycling" or some other euphemism in various places in Hale's literature.

To be clear. I'm all for recycling at school. I'm all for having kids help out. I even support recycling or garbage handling as job training - for any student who really had a particular ambition in sanitation. EG. They ask for it. I've never met such a kid. I reject mandatory garbage collection, as a stand alone class, or as part of ANY class - for 1 group of students - those with disabilities. If it's a good skill - then everybody should be doing it. Students with disabilities don't need to be doing the trash for your kids. In special education there are the 3 F's of transition - food, filth, and flowers. Sanitation is one leg of this dumping ground - FILTH.

N, and Just Messenger - you are both wrong in what we should be expecting from our transition students. DVR has very developed programs with job coaching, mentoring, and job-shadowing students don't need to be sorting through trash. N, unemployment is not high - it's incredibly low, and this can not be an excuse for an inappropriate program. We don't need to stigmatize or re-stigmatize a whole group of students by reducing them to a single job skill - which isn't really a job skill - which simply fits our idea of disability. I can think of 1000 other things a student could be doing instead. Why can't the school staff do the same?

Anonymous said…
When handling and sorting garbage, compost and/or recycling is part of the new (and mandatory) 9th grade "Honors For All" History class which is for genEd and HCC students - then I'm cool with it as a mandatory part of the SM4 life/job-skills class for students with the most severe disabilities, if done for the same amount of time.

Anonymous said…
Have you watched the video voters guide for the instruction supe? Good stuff. I saw 3 candidates with stand out with noble and practical priorities.

West, I did cover the superintendent candidates videos' in another thread; I agree with you.
Charlie Mas said…
The issue, and there is one, is that there's a CTE class which
1) May not be a legitimate CTE class
2) Is a required course for some students when it should only be an elective
3) Is not available for students without IEPs
4) Has no academic expectations associated with it

Beyond that, there is reason to believe that the activity is regarded as demeaning within the culture of the school and the students who are compelled to engage in this activity are demeaned by it.

I'm curious. Can any student sign up for this course or only students who are receiving Special Education services?
Anonymous said…
Charlie, you mean the Garbage Sorting class? Are you asking: can anybody just sign up for Garbage Sorting for high school credit? Of course not. It's not a CTE - it's plain old special ed of yore. And, it's taught by a Special Ed teacher. When the district wants to steal special education resources, it simply uses dual certified teachers for Algebra or History and bills it to special education. That way - regular ed students can get the credits they need funded by special ed. Garbage Sorting isn't even a good enough class for them to steal. It's code (pretty sure) as "Life Skills" and no - it's not an elective. CTE requires a CTE certification. Special ed requires a special ed endorsement. Unfortunately, this issue is as old as the hills. It's right up there with special ed buses leaving early. A million newbie "program specialists", and "supervisors" and none of them know anything about what has happened before or what is going on now. A quick google will find you:

Here DRW, Washington state's mandated disability watchdog group won a lawsuit that banned Garbage Sorting. Too bad we spend all this effort and money on compliance - but don't even bother with providing compliant classes for our most disabled students. Garbage sorting has ALREADY been found out of compliance in Washington. Here we have promoted Wyeth Jesse to grand poo-bah for all his excellent work on compliance. And we have students with disabilities forced to wade through garbage at the district's flagship high school. (and, it's not just at Garfield either)

Here's one from California.
Here California district apologizes for humiliating students with disabilities.

You know. It's just a small step - from sorting garbage to being garbage. And, you will find instances of students put in garbage cans as punishment in special education classes as restraint and/or isolation. I have witnessed students blocked between garbage cans - right here in SPS. Folks, if it looks bad - it is bad. I applaud Garfield students who have identified this as a grave injustice.

n said…
The teaching moment is respecting work wherever we find it and respecting those who do the work. So much baggage about "garbage" seems incumbent on older people who see life through one very judgemental lens. Frankly, understanding garbage could be a chemistry class/science class/environment class when you consider why some items can be placed/should be placed in a landfill and others can be recycled or are biodegradable and suitable for compost. Students are the future and they need to understand these things far more than their parents if they want a livable planet.

And students learn by doing.
n said…
Our methods for punishing kids is the problem. Not sorting trash. Sorting trash becomes punishment or a learning experience by how we value it and how we teach it. Somebody will earn a living by sorting trash. I want that person to be respected. So change the system rather than continue to devalue the work and the worker.
Anonymous said…
Why do the sped busses leave early? Aren't they missing instruction time by leaving early?
Anonymous said…
N - if it is a teaching moment - to learn about the value of garbage sorting and other stigmatized jobs - then why is this job relegated ONLY to special ed students at Garfield and Hale? Why is that valuable "education" forced upon them alone? If this garbage sifting is a great CTE credit - then indeed, why aren't our HCC students doing that - to learn how to "respect work"?

What you are missing - there's a long history of making people with disabilities (and minorities) do the garbage in lieu of anything more meaningful or based on their unique aptitudes. That's how you reinforce a stereotype, by reinforcing the notion that the only thing students with disabilities can do is: "garbage". And they all must do the same thing: "garbage". That strips them of their identities. We need that stereotype dismantled, not reinforced. Furthermore - the kids are drenched in garbage and totally stink. How does that make them socially engaging?

Isn't it ironic that the school that is integrating its LA classes for social justice - doesn't bat an eyelash at this HUGE, one-size fits-all mass stigmatization of students with disabilities? These are mostly minority students we are talking about here. And, I know for an absolute fact - they absolutely HATE being forced into this.

Here are 10 other "jobs" in a school that kids could learn instead: coffee cart, office supply replenishment, class display board refreshing, party planning, library book sorting, lost and found management, local shopping for staff, school store. Those would build useful skills without stigmatizing students. Heck. A coffee cart might even build their social status. I thought of that in about 2 minutes. If it were my job - I could think of 1000 jobs. Why is the special ed teacher unable to think of something better on his own?

For me - my kid will "do the school's garbage" ONLY when everybody else is doing it too. And even then - given the history in this country and in schools probably not.

n said…
You are burdened with history. Your kids are not. Trash used to be picked up, put in large trucks and headed to landfills. It used to be a punishment job according to some of you. I never saw it but I believe it.

Times have changed. We must change as well. If people get stuck in the paradigms of the past, well little is going to change and education will be rooted in a mire of competing factions forever.

I'm reading the same mind sets on my neighborhood blog about HALA, parking, density, etc. Everyone wants everything to stay the same. Everybody sees through their own lenses. AT some point, we have to realize that we can change. How we value work changes. How we value development over neighborhoods and cars over density. I don't want to argue HALA here but it is the same mindset that keeps people from making good changes. And if nothing else, we must teach our kids to value our environment and to respect all work and all workers. If that means putting aside old paradigms and helping to create new ones, do it.

I don't mean to lecture but I see so many stuck in the ruts of the past. Your children don't have those experiences. Those are yours. Let them go and make sure they don't get repeated today. We all have to let go of what used to be...because those days are gone.

I don't know how many of you listen to Thom Hartmann but I've been catching up on podcasts. He talked at length about how so many of our drug problems and mental illnesses are predicated on isolationism. On competing. On feelings of not fitting in. A lack of social support. He'd done his research. We have so much to do to prevent generations of kids from falling into the same traps that keep them isolated and feeling inferior and bad.

Well, I don't mean to be maudlin but to me it is so clear. We must value things we used to denigrate and respect people for the contributions they make and it really does start with family and school.

I won't argue beyond what I've said. Sometimes I'm not so good at that. I wish I could convey how clearly I see this as part of a greater challenge and one that values all kids and all work. But we do have to make sure it is never a negative experience or punishment for any student. And I do agree with your third paragraph completely. And no, your child should not be doing anything that is exclusive from the rest of the kids. If that's happening anywhere, that is an extremely poor administration and they should be called on it. Again, please don't burden your kids with your history. Yes, at one time...but now is a different time and the planet has different needs.
n said…
One more thing, Speddie: I appreciate the tone of your post. I can see you are trying to understand and I credit that. It is a big leap I guess.

However, do you want your kid picking fruit in Wenatchee? Would that be considered beneath him/her? My mother traveled with her family between Montana and Oregon and they picked fruit and vegetables. Her sister went to college, brothers all became ranchers, and mom stayed in the city and worked, got married, had a family. We all did just fine. I didn't know this until after I was a working woman. I always had the notion that only minorities every did field work.

But when I went back to school - in the eighties! - I lived in a house with four other students. Three guys (architect, business, engineering) and a woman (social work). I got to know her quite well and I was absolutely dumbstruck when she said that her family were migrant workers in Eastern Wa. She was a red-haired white woman. I couldn't believe that children of migrant workers would have the opportunity to come to the UW. And I sure didn't realize in the eighties that there were white migrants. That's how poorly educated I was in the realities of work and families. It changed my whole outlook. Many years later I hosted a black woman in my home with three children and one on the way. She was running from an abusive husband. I never intended to do this but via a series of weird events I ended up have her for three-four months.

All I'm trying to say is that we have to value all persons and find value in all the work they do. I think most people would consider field work and trash sorting comparable. And as you said, everyone learns to value it or no one learns to value it. I'm for everyone learning to value it. But I hear you. If you think I'm being idealistic, that's fine. I've been accused before. But I keep trying. :)

I'm no goodie two shoes and my charitable nature is pretty reserved to writing checks.But I've learned how to see life through lenses that I never would have used had I not been exposed to these kinds of experiences in my life.
Charlie Mas said…
n, you're not getting it.

It's not about how things might be if, if if. It's about how things are.

It's not about how things were. It's about how things are.

This class, regardless of what it might be, is completely illegitimate as it now is. Can you please acknowledge that before moving on to fantasy scenarios?
Anonymous said…
Perhaps waste sorting should be a requirement for AP Environmental Sciences or a part of the health classes for freshman. I am with Speddie on the point that it shouldn't be required for sped kids if it isn't for all kids at the school. All kids can learn from the experience and learn to value the work of all people in society.

"Everyone wants everything to stay the same. Everybody sees through their own lenses."

Wrong on the first sentence, right on the second. Because you brought up HALA, I'll just make the point. I have met/heard very, very few people who "want everything to stay the same." I think there is an acknowledgment that the city is changing (and I should know, I live very close to the new Roosevelt station-in-progress.) What people don't want is willy-nilly change in every single area of the city, unchecked by the city government.

I agree with Speddie; the point is missed about the garbage collection. Of course, there is honor in every job (many European countries are a lot better about this than in the U.S.) But, if it's such a worthy learning activity, then maybe all the freshman should be assigned garbage duty at least once a year.

And Speddie pointed out many other jobs those students could do like barista work at school. And, I think any kid who wants to should be able to sell at the student store.
Anonymous said…
N - yes. Garbage is a great job. Adults with disabilities will NEVER be your garbage man. For one thing - the pay is great and it is competitive. For another thing - they will lose their SSI/DDA benefits which includes social, health, and job training benefits. For another thing - it is dangerous, people with cognitive disabilities would likely die or be injured doing that job. For another thing - it is socially stigmatizing, people with disabilities need jobs that are not socially stigmatizing because they are ALREADY stigmatized at the bottom of the heap.

N - yes. I get it. I value work. All work. And those who do the work. I really do. Do I want my kid with a disability working in an orchard? Probably not. Your friends and family who did that work - did it as a path to somewhere better. When we look at people with disabilities - we do not see work "as the road to college", we're seeing it as the best they can possibly do. I want my kid to have a socially meaningful life, where my adult child is well integrated into the community. If that work can be found on an orchard - then I'm all for it. But right now, my child has not expressed any interest in orchard work - and we don't live on one.

But N - you are not getting it. Stigmatizing, one-size fits-all work should not be foisted on students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are not the ones who hold the stigmatizing views in need of correction through education. You do not remove stigma - by making stigmatized people do stigmatizing work - that they do not want to do, because they are disabled. (Hard to believe that this needs explaining, but I'm willing to explain.) If it were a good idea, we should put it on everyone else. If it were any other group besides students with severe cognitive disabilities - say, black boys (likely to have high unemployment), would you say - "Yay! Let's train THEM the value of work by requiring THEM to sort OUR garbage." ??? I think you wouldn't that. And you're also not getting a big point - this has already been found illegal in a lawsuit brought by DRW (disability rights Washington), right here in Washington state. So why are we STILL doing it?

Anonymous said…
Oh Jeez N. I didn't even see your history post! I can barely express a response - except that there needs to be one! Ok. I'll do my best work on civility here:
You are burdened with history. Your kids are not.

The past is never dead. It's not even past.

Seriously!!!! The kids are still being screwed over by the adults, in line with historical trajectories. In the building. So they walked in the building with no burden - but they left with great burden. Same with race. Do you really think this racial stuff doesn't play out at school? It absolutely does. History repeats itself through education unless great effort is applied. At least in the case of racism, we have people who actual want to fix the issue acting thoughtfully. I wish I saw a similar care applied to students with disabilities. I have great hope in the kids - because they are the ones who see it, when the staff can't or won't.

Anonymous said…
Is the garbage class at Garfield only? I heard from a couple trusted parents that Hamilton sped students have to clean the cafeteria. One said she saw them in action and asked her GE student about it later, who confirmed that they always do that. Is that true?

Anonymous said…
At Hale, you can only sell in the student store if you are in the Marketing class which is difficult to get into as it is popular. It is only offered during 1st period. They then sell during the lunch period and at special occasions.

n said…
Speddie, I do get intense sometimes. I understand your concerns and while I disagree that history has to burden us in the present, I think you have the best interests of kids at heart.
mirmac1 said…
OSPI provided SPS 30 days advanced notice of the specific IEPs they will be reviewing. If SPS fails even with this much-heads up, OSPI gives them a do-over. With all that said, SPS BARELY topped 75% compliant IEPs. Nothing of this has anything to do with actually providing a FAPE and preparing our students to graduate with a real diploma - instead of a certificate of attendance.
Anonymous said…
Not all high schools have staffing cuts:

Ballard 2.0 increase
Garfield (0.8) decrease
Ingraham 2.0 increase
Nathan Hale (1.6) decrease
Rainier Beach (0.8) decrease
Chief Sealth (3.0) decrease
West Seattle 2.4 increase

Anonymous said…
Yes. It is true at HIMS.

open ears
Parent and if you read I said, "nearly" all.
madpark said…
Now I am wondering, is the garbage collection class quarter long, semester long, or year long? Do you take it just as a freshman? Or do you have to take it every year?
Does Garfield's Honors for All include the kids who have to take this class?
Anonymous said…
SpEd kids singled out for cleaning up is outrageous. So far we have this going on at Garfield and Hamilton, anywhere else?

I would encourage students reporting on this to their parents.

The Bulldog article was shocking and the teacher, Mr. Stevens was flat out admitting to violating the law!

Did he actually get certified? How could he be a teacher of these special kids with that mindset? He needs to go back to school or lots of PD.

If this practice continues this year there will a big problem for the sup, board, ex. directors and principals.

big problem
Anonymous said…
Hale has the class. It's 4 years. Like all SM4 programming, everything is indefinite, as in it's the same stuff, to the same kids, with the same teacher, year after year. Evidently, you're never expected to learn anything so the teachers can just do the same lifeskills forever. And to make it more interesting, at the Bridges transition 18-21 meeting, the teachers gleefully announced their various recycling programs. So the lucky student with a disability could get "Recycling" as a class for an entire decade. How awesome is that?

n said…
Charlie and Melissa, I just noticed that you had chimed in and to your posts I have this to say:

I know, Charlie, you think you're the smartest guy that ever blogged but no, I get it and still believe what I wrote thank you very much. And as for what is, it can always be changed. You are asking why and I"m asking why not. Isn't working for change the point of this blog? Yes, I get what I'm saying but apparently you do not.

As for HALA, I'm very well aware of the issues. In my neighborhood the city plans a large structure with no parking and no laundry and minimal square footage for "workforce" whatever that is. Still, on my neighborhood blog, the instincts are to protect what we have rather than acknowledge what the needs of the city are and how to best address them. I used that analogy simply to anecdotally show how most people see things through their own lenses. Yes, even smart people who believe they are always looking at situations objectively - which none of us can really do most of the time. That is why we try to discuss rather than tell.

Charlie, often your posts reflect privilege. The privilege of someone who thinks he's smarter than everyone else. And I thoroughly disagree with your post that said the speaker says what he intends and it is up to the listener to get it right. That is pure horse-pucky. Both the speaker and the listener must work extremely hard to be understood accurately. That is the nature of words. Esp. written words.

@Speddie: I want to add that my take on history is that we must never forget history so we will never repeat it. Knowing that history should inform how we implement new teaching. But again, I'm okay with your responses because I always realize not everyone sees everything through my lens. But I'm curious, if any of these kids really do end up working in a job that like trash sorting or comparable, how do you think they're going to feel then? Esp. given that they will know it is beneath anyone to sort trash?

Oh well. Guess I've stirred it up again. So what? Speddie, this is not meant to argue with you. I understand your point of view.
Anonymous said…

What if for occ. ed. credit white kids took marketing but all black kids were required to farm cotton? Or if male students took business but all female students were required to do the school laundry for 4 years? People are farmers & run laundries for work. But having it required for one group of students because they are identified for that job by historic patterns of discrimination, and off limits for all other students, is indefensible. It is discrimination. The historic implications make it worse. If the school wants to make it an elective available for all students, required for none, & avoid funneling students with disabilities into it at a higher rate, then I'm fine with it. Better yet, it can be the responsibility of a club.

-2e parent
Anonymous said…
how do you think they're going to feel then? Esp. given that they will know it is beneath anyone to sort trash?

Nobody has said Garbage is "beneath" somebody else. That misses the point. This "training" is given to students with low cognitive skills. Many or most of these students probably don't "get it" about the social hierarchy. Which makes it all the worse - we're forcing people who can't make a choice, or have an opinion in the same way as most of us - into a position which marginalizes them. And you somehow think somebody will learn the "ethics of hard work" and pulling yourself up from your bootstraps??? Who and what are being taught here? What happened to evidence based practice? It is YOU who think the work is stigmatizing. This is happening in middle school! Is your average middle schooler supposed to think, "Gee isn't it cool that cognitively disabled kids are getting to do my Garbage and Clean Up after me. How lucky for him. That work is cool. I think I'll invite him to my birthday party." Seriously? That's how you, as an educator, "are informed" for changing historical patterns?

I am saying people with disabilities are robbed of their dignity when, as a group, they are singled out for "training" that is not based on their unique interest or ability. Instead of actual education students with disabilities are forced into "training", or non-training really, that is stigmatizing. It is BECAUSE, partly because, students with disabilities and other marginalized people have been forced to do Garbage that we hold this view in the first place.

N - right you don't have my lens. And SPS never considers the long term results of this type of education (or lack thereof). Have you ever observed a "group home" for people with disabilities? I have. I noticed several residents on a field trip to Golden Gardens. They weren't enjoying the beach - they were obsessively picking up Garbage as they were trained to - somewhere, maybe SPS. It included nasty food, any bit of trash, needles, condoms, everything you might find in a ditch in a public venue - with their bare hands. It wasn't a job - it was a hobby - built from practice. It wasn't a job, a social skill, a behavior that we want in anybody - it was marginalizing and bizarre - but I understood why they did it. It was the result of an education - rather, the lack of one.

Anonymous said…
I would like to know how this recycling and garbage assignment is implemented across the schools. I asked my student, who goes to Hale, about it. S/he said that s/he hadn't observed the kids in the lunchroom cleaning up after others, but then again my student doesn't typically eat in the cafeteria. S/he had seen them emptying small recycling containers from the classrooms into the larger bins in the hallway. S/he had thought they were doing volunteer work around the school (Hale has a tradition of volunteering and Hale Action Projects) so s/he had a positive impression of these students contributing to the school community. When I said this was part of a class, s/he looked at me like I was out of my mind and was appalled. -NP
Anonymous said…
From what I understand, the SM kids empty the recycling bins from the classrooms, not the lunchroom. Not that that is acceptable either.

Anonymous said…
So where is T&L on this garbage/recycling issue? Has Michael Tolley commented? Given direction to Education Directors? To principals? Does anybody have responsibility for this situation? What about Supt Nylund. The Board? PASS? Anybody in SPED will say they have no authority in the buildings.

Unknown said…
Per this student newspaper, the Seattle Public Utilities provides funds to subsidize the education of the students with disabilities to sort trash: "We’re teaching them job responsibility, job accountability and being able to think on their feet,” according to teacher Tim Hilton. "It provides an opportunity for practical experience that could transfer over to many future job careers." If sorting trash is such a fabulous job opportunity, why aren't all the other students at Hale clamoring for the opportunity? I would like to see how this is a n evidence-based practice, and I would also like to know why Seattle Public Utilities is providing money to Seattle Public Schools to participate in a practice which appears discriminatory on its face.
Story on this from Disability Scoop:

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