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Friday, April 12, 2019

Friday Open Thread

Interesting court case about a Down syndrome student whose parents wanted him to stay in a Gen Ed classroom where he was thriving.  From Inclusion Revolution:
“Student was demonstrating progress on his IEP goals, including the majority of the goals that were implemented by the resource teacher (academic/social- behavior goals). Additionally, the student’s resource teacher admitted that his communication skills greatly improved from two-word phrases, which were limited to things he knew about, such as about his mom, dad, or sister, or naming things that he knew, to three to four-word phrases. The impact on his typical peers and teachers was described by his kindergarten teacher as ‘amazing’,” according to the plaintiff’s open brief (parent’s attorney filed).
Despite his progress, the Gilbert Unified School District in Arizona decided just a few months into his kindergarten year that the boy should have 20 more minutes of “intensive instruction.” This time in a self-contained classroom at another school. The school district said the new school would be better for the student, and provide him with “more services at his level with peers in a small environment that could have been better for him.” This subjective opinion was the only evidence they used to propose a change in the boy’s IEP.
That sounds about right because Sped kids just love moving from school to school, chasing services.

WASDA, the Washington State of School Directors' Association, and WASA, the Washington Association of School Administrators, has put out somewhat confusing statement that seems to support the current bill for school funding however:

"... today affirmed their support of legislation clarifying guidelines for collective bargaining rules as they relate to specific teacher assignments that fall outside of the basic professional responsibilities for all teachers.

However, if a levy is increased for a specific educational purpose, there needs to be clear guidelines that provide necessary limits.  This is especially generated for those educational programs and services," said Aune.
I have a call into WASDA to clarify.

On that note, there are many stories about the cuts coming/happening in other districts.  State law requires all school districts to notify their certificated staff by May 15 if they will no longer have a job with the district.

Spokane - 325 jobs
Tacoma - Superintendent Carla Santoro:
I want to remind everyone that we already have eliminated 43 administrative and central support positions during this school year. That is about 15 percent of our administrative workforce. That was necessary to help balance this current school year's budget. Those savings have been factored into our planning for the 2019-2020 school year.
We made other spending cuts and have done everything possible this school year to minimize the impact on the teaching staff and students.
It is also important to point out that this resolution exclusively speaks to reductions in certificated staff—because that's the only group called out by state law for a very specific, detailed notification process.
However, the budget reductions, spending cuts and position eliminations necessary to balance next school year's budget will come from all of our departments and services.
Meanwhile in Kent SD, parents have filed a lawsuit.  (Kent has a Broad Academy superintendent and this doesn't surprise me at all.) From The Columbian:
As parents of children who attend Kent schools and supporters of public education, they argue the Kent School District is fraught with financial and systemic problems. The Bettingers and other parents claim the district and its board of directors have allegedly mismanaged school funds, violated open meeting laws and misled the public. 

The couple took it a step further, filing a lawsuit on March 7 in King County Superior Court against the district and school board for the alleged infractions. In essence, the Bettingers want financial stability for the school district, and more open, forthcoming and responsive leadership to meet the needs of parents and students.
And then there's news from Texas - schools there are bringing back cursive writing.

Girls in one Maryland high school found out they were on a "list" created by boys that rated themThey fought back.
The girls and administrators agreed to hold a program-wide meeting, including the boys who created the list. The planned 45-minute meeting with eighty students lasted two and a half hours as many girls shared personal experiences with harassment, abuse, and objectification, both within school and outside of it. The discussion opened the eyes of many boys, including the list's creator who stood up during the meeting to apologize for the hurt it had caused. The 18-year old senior later told the Washington Post: “When you have a culture where it’s just normal to talk about that, I guess making a list about it doesn’t seem like such a terrible thing to do." He added that he was glad that the girls spoke up, noting that “it’s just a different time and things really do need to change." 
What's on your mind?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

WSSDA/WASA letter seems pretty straightforward to me. What's confusing you?

Francis

Melissa Westbrook said...

Whether they support the amendments for one.

Anonymous said...

Bosses gonna boss.

No wonder WSSDA/WASA wrote that letter. Not surprised they want to be vague on whether they support the super-controversial Mullet amendment. The other question is whether the Seattle school board supports it - or if SPS is lobbying for it in Olympia.

Philip

Anonymous said...

MW posts on a previous thread on carters vs option schools: “parents choose for their child to be there and no child can be assigned to a charter or an option school”

Oh yes they can be assigned or deassigned to option schools without any choice. Students with disabilities are routinely force assigned to Option schools against the will or request of their parents. All. The. Time. Evidently you don’t believe students with disabilities are children at all. Children with disabilities are also removed from option schools, or age out at weird grade levels that don’t correspond to the grade level the school serves. K-2 classroom.., oops we decided not to do the other grades. Or, oops sorry, we cancelled your program. Other kids want your classroom at that popular option school. You’ll be assigned somewheres else.

Disability Watch

WEA Swipe said...

McCleary changed the way our teachers are paid. The change marked a historic shift. Last year, districts needed and wanted needed more guidance.

Some lawmakers have acknowledged that the failure to incorporate accountability measures was an enormous mistake. As a result, we now see that some districts face insolvency. This is a very serious issue.

I support accountability measures. Some say levy reform will take 8 years.

Teachers can bargain for general fund dollars. Levy dollars are for programs, enrichment, special education, teacher/coaches, teacher/tutors etc.

IMO, we are going to see SB 5313 combined with special education funding. I continue to believe that special education funding needs to be ear-marked.

I don't full trust WEA. Last year:

"School administrators who say they can’t afford to give educators substantial pay raises aren’t telling the truth."

https://www.washingtonea.org/ourvoice/post/wa-school-districts-money-for-educator-pay-raises/?fbclid=IwAR3ZWIXHXLI6RJFTybDcm9GFG11G81T5-nCXCELa5RR6UrQfGuDEACWO1CM

and:

"Spokane Teacher Union President says district will have plenty of money to provide double digit pay raises"

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/aug/28/spokane-area-students-deserve-great-educators-not-/?fbclid=IwAR2u1URSo5ECwHj102Gb9Sj2P8Tlvkg-K5Srn-5pT_z02nFWNmUo9JcagYM



Melissa Westbrook said...

Disability Watch, did you even read this post?

I said this about a court case involving a child with a disability:

"That sounds about right because Sped kids just love moving from school to school, chasing services."

I have a child with a disability so saying this to me is just plain wrong:

"Evidently you don’t believe students with disabilities are children at all."

And charter schools don't serve all kids with disabilities.

B.B. said...

I just noticed that the district posted "Operational Capacity" numbers for all schools, updated on April 2. This makes it sound like "school capacity" is in the actual building and "operational capacity" includes portables.

https://www.seattleschools.org/departments/capital_projects_and_planning/capacity_management_planning/school_capacity

Anonymous said...

MW: “no child can be assigned to an option school”
So, children with disabilities assigned to option schools just don’t count???? You said it. They aren’t part of the “no child”.?
Option schools and neighborhood schools don’t serve kids with disabilities either unless they want to. And they get to choose where.


and then there’s this
WEASwipe: “Levy dollars are for programs, enrichment, special education,”
So, special education and serving students with disabilities is part of the discretionary levy funds? Meaning, it can be voted out by local elections? Meaning it’s some sort of optional enrichment? The district is no longer required to provide a maintenance of effort for special education as required by the federal government? That isn’t right, and won’t really stand up. Districts will then be forced to “raid” the state monies to pay for the special ed. Except it won’t really be raiding. I dunno about local levies and teacher salaries, but special ed is something the state must pay for one way or the other. Extra money for teachers is thing that is actually an optional extra.


Disability Watch

WEA Swipe said...

Correct, Disability Watch. Levy funding supplements special education students. Districts that don't have the capacity to pass levy funding are at a disadvantage.

SPS:

"The state funds $68 million a year for special education. To ensure Seattle's 7,000 students who need special education services have the supports they need, we spend $140 million a year for special education. That's a $72 million gap."

This is one reason why I don't think WEA/SEA should have unfettered access to levy dollars. I support Senator Mullet.

I've argued that, I don't want WEA/SEA to swipe funding for special education students. I've been criticized for my position. However,

WSSDA shares the same concern:

“However, if a levy is increased for
a specific educational purpose, there needs to be clear guidelines that provide necessary limits. This is essential for protecting levy dollars that have been generated for those educational programs and services,”

WEA had a collective bargaining map. They proudly displayed double digit raises throughout the state. Most districts paid double digit raises up to 20%. The document is no longer in available. Must be a mistake..;-)

Collective bargaining will resume AGAIN- this year.

Eric B said...

The solution to state underfunding of SpEd is full state funding of SpEd, not cutting the teachers off at the knees. And yes, it should be full state funding of student needs because SpEd is part of basic education, not a frivolous extra.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who supports using the levy system for special education does not fundamentally believe that special education is necessary. In Seattle, levies are a seemingly endless pot so it isn’t so important what we claim that the levy is for. We could call it the special education levy, the building fund, the athletic booster booster, or golden administrator fund. It always passes. But, but that’s not true everywhere. What are families in Goldbar supposed to do with their disabled kids? Move to Seattle and become homeless? The district has long claimed that Seattle is a special ed magnet because of its incredible services. Plus WEASwipe, does anybody really believe the special ed accounting? They could claim just about any number as a spending gap for special education, as you have done, and people would believe it.

Disability Watch

WEA Swipe said...


I understand your concerns about special education accounting. I'm advocating for special education and asking that the union does not sweep-up new dollars when they renegotiate, again, THIS year.

"One of those is special education, an area where Democrats and Republicans agree the basic education formula needs to be increased. The House would add about $875 million for special education compared to the previous two years, the Senate about $960 million, so the final number will be within that range, he said."

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/apr/14/washington-legislature-into-the-final-push-to-deci/?fbclid=IwAR26OcGOE4g2yC1UDj2znMmtdVWkJYe25HLacLPoIhVtkIpKYgG4nf9mv-0

For all of Spokane's complaining, they received a net increase of $45M last year. School boards must assure that they have the capacity to close budgets. If districts continue to lead themselves down the path of insolvency, I have no problem with state take-overs.

Anonymous said...

"The district has long claimed that Seattle is a special ed magnet because of its incredible services" WRONG please articulate these so called "incredible services"?

I think that the up coming SPED law suit will be successful in proving that SPS has failed most SPED kids despite spending hundreds of millions.

SPED Parent

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

News on the dual language pathway at Rainier Beach. No 8th graders from Mercer Middle School’s program chose to enroll. Rainier Beach will receive an extra .6 FTE anyway.

“Southeast Region Dual Language Immersion High School Pathway
In the 2019-2020 school year Student Assignment Plan approved by the School Board in January 2019, Rainier Beach High School was designated at the Southeast Region High School Dual Language Immersion (DLI) High School Pathway school for Spanish and Mandarin DLI students at Mercer International Middle School. Students from Mercer who chose Rainier Beach would be guaranteed assignment to that school. In addition, Rainier Beach was to receive .6 FTE mitigation in order to support the staffing of special language programming for the DLI students.
According to the Enrollment and Planning Services Department, none of the 8th grade DLI students from Mercer selected Rainier Beach for high school. However, the Budget Office has agreed to let the .6 FTE mitigation remain at Rainier Beach in order to preserve their Chinese language program. Without the mitigation, Rainier Beach would have to cut Chinese language. For more information or questions, please contact Dr. Michele Anciaux Aoki, International Education Administrator at 206-252-0191 or by email at maaoki@seattleschools.org.”

What Deficit?

Anonymous said...

SPED Parent: what lawsuit? Where can we read about it.

Another SPED Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

CWP, go look in the mirror. Is venom and vitriol what you want to be known for? You need to keep a civil tongue here or you are not welcome at all.

Another Sped Parent, I would be interested in learning more myself about this lawsuit. Anyone?

What Deficit, that is sad, sad news all around.

Anonymous said...

Article about the public school in Akron, OH, that LeBron James is helping fund wraparound services for. MAP scores showed a LOT of growth. People also sound happy with the stuff at the school that standardized test scores don't measure. The extra funding helps provide classes for parents to complete their GEDs (and access to food, clothes, legal services, etc.)

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/12/education/lebron-james-school-ohio.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=Education

Anonymous said...

SPED parent, the district has proclaimed that it is a special ed magnet for its great service many times and nor many years. I’m not making the claim. It’s a bit like people saying all the homeless people in Seattle came from somewhere else because of the great homeless services. Personally, I don’t know of a single family that moved to Seattle for special ed, but I do know several that have moved out.


Not coincidentally, the district has become a magnet for families with such special-needs children

Autistic preschoolers, however, will lose their after-school “Extended Day” programs
(to pave the way for extended day programs for other kids)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/autistic-students-face-gains-and-losses-come-fall/

The Seattle district has become something of a magnet for families of disabled children, often because of the services offered by Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center and the University of Washington ...

School-finance officials in Seattle and other districts complain that because the state doesn’t fully fund special education, they are forced to use more of their local levy — at the expense of their regular students.
(aren’t students with disabilities regular students)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/special-education-swells-school-budget/

Note that the inappropriate levy use is mentioned here. The district believed at this time that using the levy is depriving other more deserving students and therefore shouldn’t be used for special ed. The levy will always be an unreliable source of funding and will always be a source that other people want.


I don’t know of any lawsuits. I’m not sure of that a broad overarching complaint on service would get much traction. Over the years there have been many people who think they have some gigantic case. Usually though, battles are won one by one. Can you be more specific? Due process hearing, OSPI or ocr complaint? I do know of a few of these regarding placement.

Disability Watch

Anonymous said...

There is something going on with school board director Geary and SPED. Specifically with Wyeth Jessee and counsel Andrea Schiers. Owler mentioned the USDE OCR. If I had to, I would guess that since the SCOTUS ruled that districts must provide meaningful and measurable benefits to
SPED students and Geary has stated in an open public meeting that she dosn't think Seattle public schools are doing so.I would say that Geary's comment and the preceding testimony were not a coincidence and that SPS might being sued by the federal government.

I wish Geary would post a comment about what is going on.

SPED Parent

Anonymous said...

The new standard from Endrew is an education reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances up from the previous Rowley standard, some educational benefit in an environment capable of providing a floor of educational opportunity.

That isn’t a requirement to provide any widespread type of measurement. It will be extremely difficult to prove the difference between “appropriate” and “some”, especially when some is going to be appropriate for many, many kids.

Legal Eagle

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

Hey what happened to the post about false grade promotion?


SPED Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

A post or a comment?