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Friday, April 19, 2019

Friday Open Thread

A lot of news.

Good News in two related stories: free Jazz camp this summerSee info here.
No experience required. Open to students going into grades 4-8.

Sliding scale tuition with instant free tuition option. Just enter code WAIVER on the registration check-out page.
From KIRO-tv, a story about new band instruments coming to SPS:

Music programs at Seattle Public Schools received a substantial boost Wednesday in the form of $100,000 worth of new instruments. Yamaha Corporation of America donated percussion and wind instruments that will benefit more than 1,300 students at nine schools across the district.
The schools are: 

  • Nathan Hale High School 
  • Cleveland High School 
  • Franklin High School 
  • Ingraham High School 
  • Rainier Beach High School 
  • Madison Middle School 
  • Washington Middle School 
  • Whitman Middle School and
  • Mercer International Middle School.
Story and editorial from the Seattle Times asking the Legislature how come they can't seem to get the Special Education funding part of the McCleary decision done.  Shameful that this legislative session may end without this getting done.
The Legislature’s continued and, in fact, studied indolence about fully addressing special education is not only a violation of these students’ civil rights but a moral outrage. That the Legislature left special education out of the sweeping education-finance reforms mandated by the McCleary ruling all but condones a conscious and longstanding decision to leave behind our students who are most struggling.
(Editor's note: the Times is asking readers for money for different types of reporting including their Education Lab which is funding through "community partner" the Gates Foundation.  The Gates Foundation is many things but I would not ever call it a "community partner." )

Director DeWolf, in his run for the City Council, says this in the Madison Park Times:
DeWolf was elected to the Seattle School Board in 2017, where he pushed meetings into the public, worked on improving internal systems for transgender students, introduced community workforce agreements and supported the hiring of Denise Juneau as the district’s new superintendent.

“It has been the joy of my life to serve on the school board,” DeWolf said.
I'm not sure that's a real list of accomplishments especially since he tends to be the least visible Board member at meetings.

Both Puyallup and and South Whidbey superintendents are getting calls to resign over the funding issues in their districts.  Washington State needs a capital gains tax.

Next Saturday, April 27th, is Independent Bookstore Day.  Locally, there's a contest to visit every independent bookstore in our region (there's 26).  Please support your local bookseller; my favorites are Ada's Technical Bookshop and Third Place Books as well as The Secret Garden bookstore.

What's on your mind?


98 comments:

Eric B said...

Those of you who know me know that I've been thinking about running or School Board for a long time. This year, I am making the leap. I've just filed paperwork to run for District 1 (currently held by Scott Pinkham). My platform is to bring transparency, flexibility, and accountability to SPS.

You can read more at <a href="www.EricBlumhagen.com>EricBlumhagen.com</a>. I would be honored to have your vote. I would also be grateful for donations or offers to volunteer.

Embellish Much? said...

DeWolf is a master about getting things about himself into the press. The district had ONE work meeting in the public.

Anonymous said...

I noticed the Seattle Times had an article this week about the Superintendent and equity. She mentioned how well Mercer Middle school was doing for its students.
I remember a few years ago this school was noteworthy for its Saxon math. The school was getting much better results than the rest of the district.
Is it still using this curriculum? If so, could that be one reason its students are doing better? I wish the district would spend more time evaluating its curricula and less time obsessing over equity.

S parent

suep. said...

Next Tuesday's 4/23 C&I meeting is critical. The science adoption staff will bring forth their recommendations. And changes to policies 2015 and 2020 will be on the table again.

There are far too many unanswered questions and concerns for the Board to move ahead with the science adoptions.

One key point that staff has not yet answered is: How was the "pilot" of AmplifyScience in 20 SPS schools funded?

At the C&I work session on April 2 (which I attended) Science Program Manager MaryMargaret Welch was asked by President Harris about the "anonymous donor" who according to Ms. Welch and Kyle Kinoshita, allegedly gave money to Amplify Education, Inc. for Seattle to be able to obtain the AmplifyScience goods and services to implement the pilot.

That sounds like Amplify potentially provided SPS goods and/or services at no cost. If so, that is highly problematic.

All gifts to a public entity like a school district must be recorded and reported and, depending on the amount, approved by the School Board. This is mandated by policy and law.

But the district has not produced documentation that the Amplify services and/or products received by SPS as a result of the largesse of the anonymous donor were reported or approved.

Also, the cost of using AmplifyScience in 20 SPS schools would have been far more than the $100,000 that was mentioned at the 4/2 meeting. Based on an estimate from Amplify for one school, it would have been closer to $1 million, and as much as $2 million for 20 schools. (And that's not including the cost of the 1:1 laptops required to implement Amplify.)

Another issue is, if a vendor gifts products to a district in advance of a curriculum adoption, what does that do to the playing field with regard to the competitive bidding process?

Perhaps there are clear answers to all of this. But they have yet to be provided.

Also missing is the data that shows that AmplifyScience is effective. Board policy mandates that that be produced as well.

Directors have a right and responsibility to have all this information before being asked to advance or vote on recommendations from staff, especially those that are as impactful and longterm as curriculum adoptions.

(continued below)

suep. said...

(continued from above)

Here are some of my notes from that 4/2 C&I work session on this discussion. Like Melissa, I was troubled by a number of things I observed.


• Directors present: C&I Chair Geary, Board Pres Harris, Board VP Burke, and Director Mack. Directors Patu and Pinkham arrived later. DeWolf was absent.

• About two thirds of the audience was comprised of curriculum adoption committee members. Seated in the front row with them was MaryMargaret Welch. I don’t recall ever seeing adoption committee members appearing – or speaking – before the Board in general, and before a recommendation has officially been made, in particular. So from the start the atmosphere was odd. The Board could not but feel pressure having this group opposite them and speaking to them throughout the meeting.

• It was stated multiple times by staff that the committee had volunteered 60 hours to this work. I don’t believe the Board has ever expressed a lack of appreciation for volunteer work from committees, so these repeated reminders seemed unnecessary and designed to appeal to emotion rather than reason, and to pressure the Board into not questioning the outcome of these committees.

• What followed was a series of testimonies from various committee members. It was carefully scripted. Welch determined who from the committee would speak to which question. As Melissa pointed out in her notes, committee members came forward, many browbeating the board about inequities in science, which I agree was overbearing and abrasive. For one thing, the Board had just dedicated their previous Saturday – 7 hours – to PD training that was entirely focused on race and equity. Also, this Board is comprised of two Native American members, one of whom is openly gay, a Pacific Islander, three women, who all chose to serve on the board for 4 years in a racially diverse district with various inequities. They are not new to the topic of equity.

(continued below)

suep. said...

(continued from above. Third installment of 3.)


• About an hour into the meeting, President Harris asked about the anonymous donor. At that point, Ms. Welch came to the table to speak. She said “No money was given to the district to implement Amplify Science.” She said the alignment team brought forward the proposal and the vote of the members was to move ahead with AmplifyScience.

(For the record: the alignment team was tasked with aligning the district to meet NGSS standards. They were not a curriculum adoption committee. So this statement is confusing. They had no authority to bring forth a new curriculum recommendation. As has been suggested elsewhere on this blog, staff appear to have treated the alignment committee as if it were an adoption committee. Also, elsewhere a teacher has said the committee did not choose Amplify –it was brought to them on the last day with the announcement that it was an “opportunity.” So the truth here remains elusive.)

Ms Welch explained the district wanted to pilot Amplify Science. She mentioned $100,000. It's unclear whether that was the amount she already had or was seeking.
Ms. Welch indicated there was not enough money to do the pilot. She said she was invited to speak at an ed tech conference where the focus was technology embedded in education. Somehow it came up that Seattle didn’t have enough money to implement Amplify. Welch stated emphatically to the Board that at no time did she ask for funds. But then “An independent donor went to Amplify and said 'I would like to donate to Amplify so you can receive (Amplify Science) at Seattle Public schools.'”

So someone decided to make an anonymous contribution directly to Amplify to help give Seattle the curricular materials and licensing rights it needed to use AmplifyScience.

No amount or value was mentioned. (And when someone later asked about finding out the identity of the donor, staff said that Amplify is a private company and may not have to disclose that.) Welch also emphasized “This was long before the District decided to move forward with a science adoption.”

Not asked that night, but a problem here is: Is a public school district permitted to accept donations of free goods and services from a vendor without disclosure, documentation and/or oversight of the Board? The answer is No.

Also, a copy of a purchase list from Amplify for an SPS elementary school outlines the items and costs for what that school would need ostensibly to use Amplify Science. It totals $54,000. Conservatively assuming that each of the 20 schools that used waivers to use Amplify needed at least that amount of materials, that adds up to $54,000 x 20 = $1,080,000. Was that the size of the anonymous donation that potentially took the form of free goods and services from Amplify Education, Inc?

In fact, large middle schools like Mercer and Hamilton, as well as Washington and Aki also used Amplify. So chances are, their costs were a fair bit more than $54,000. That could bring the donation amount closer to $2 million. And this doesn’t even cover the costs of the laptops that are required to implement AmplifyScience.


The Board needs answers to these questions.

-- Sue P.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Mercer has moved the needle in several areas especially with kids of color. You'd think the district would have, by now, tried to duplicate that success but I have seen no evidence of that. On the flip side, Amplify Science did worse at Mercer especially with kids of color and you'd think that would give the Board pause.

Anonymous said...

If I understand correctly, there is a science adoption being called an "alignment," for which the district was provided funds for a pilot (an undisclosed gift) and now those materials are the only materials under consideration. The adoption committee, "ahem" alignment committee, is forging ahead and framing it as "equity in science," when schools, students, and parents have little positive feedback about the piloted materials. Not only that, SPS staff is wanting to change board policy to avoid reviewing outcomes of the district pilot. Is that about the gist of it?

(and apparently some classes at WMS will be taking a makeup science class over the summer to get back on track...were they using the piloted materials?)

not good

Anonymous said...

I suspect the Board is getting tired of hearing from me, but I sent yet another email to the board about my concerns with both the Amplify curriculum and the entire adoption process.

Thank you Sue and Melissa for your parts in sharing the information about the science adoption. I had my concerns after hearing about it in Whitman and it is only through this blog that I understood how vast the problem truly was.

-NW

Unknown said...

As long as the Federal government writes laws that guarantee SpEd students rights but doesn't fully fund those laws, the state and districts are on the hook for paying for the rights that these students have. The districts and their faculties make the determination of whether a student qualifies for SpEd, but they expect the state to help foot the bill.

This is kind of like me guaranteeing you the right to eat at a restaurant, you picking what you want to eat, and somebody else being on the hook for the restaurant bill. What incentive do you have to control costs and not run up a huge restaurant bill?

Everyone has a right to a free and appropriate education, including SpEd students, but who's going to pay for it? We can say we have all the rights under the sun, but when you're talking about a positive right (ex. the right to a public education or the right to housing), someone has to pay for that right.

Unless we concurrently talk about rights *and* who's going to financially guarantee those rights, we shouldn't talk about rights.

And as long as the people claiming rights (through legislation or SpEd diagnoses) are not the same people who financially back those rights, we're going to have a mess.

Either the Federal government should fully fund IDEA and other legislation that guarantee the rights the people claim for SpEd students, or the states should ignore it. Similarly, if the districts want to do inclusion or train their teachers better or have family advocates for SpEd, then they should pay for it out of the existing monies that they receive from the state and their levies.

And we all need to watch out for how this is being used as a Trojan Horse for getting a state income tax through.

Schools are endless money pits. As soon as they get more, they want more. They always need more. It's never enough.

SP

Anonymous said...

Well, that is really good news! Thank you Eric B. You will be such an asset to the board for students, schools and the district.

formerly known as, but the the same person currently posting as,
-HS Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

SP, it's disgusting that you name the issue of Special Education as a "Trojan horse" for your own pet cause. But then, your last paragraph gives that away.

Anonymous said...

According to an article in today's Seattle Times, around "80% of all new [apartment] units here are studios or one-bedrooms..." It wasn't clear for what year the 80% figure applies - the last 12 mos? But 80% does make one wonder what options families have.

squeezed out

Anonymous said...

One thing that is clear from Suep’s remarks is that she is uninterested in equity and its relevance to Seattle Public Schools. She sounds affronted, on the board’s behalf, that they had a training session devoted to race and equity. And that committee members “browbeat” directors on equity issues in science. As if discriminatory structures in current science curriculum delivery did not exist.

Maybe these training sessions and testimonials are necessary when we have people, who have served on the board, who are unwilling to confront the inequities students, who are not recognized as highly capable, experience everyday.

Salut

Anonymous said...

What an insane thing to take away from that statement. Staff is trying to frame opposition to these terrible curricula as racist and inequitable, and was trying to condescend to the board to convince them of this. But this is a board already steeped in and well trained in equity as a priorities, as shown by their identities and recent prior training. So they should be able to see past this and look at the data which shows Amplify has racist and inequitable results in practice and should therefore not be adooted. At this point it is hard to believe you are not paid staff for Amplify, salut.

Science Mom

Anonymous said...

SP. The Education for All Bill, from Washington state, required a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities BEFORE there was an IDEA. So no. It’s not up to the federal government. It’s up to us, to include everyone in public education, and also to pay for it. We enacted the law at the state level and we need to pay for it with state taxes. It’s a bonus that the federal government We don’t ask for people to pay for the police when they need them, or pay for fixing the potholes when they appear. Before Washington’s law, students with Down Syndrome, Intellectual Disability, etc weren’t even permitted in schools. What about women? We don’t have a problem with an “unfunded mandate” to educate girls, or African Americans, or illegal immigrants. We simply agree not to discriminate. We all pay taxes, including people with disabilities. I’m fine with a system that defines disability more narrowly, or lumps the funding together. In the end, we’re going to simply educate everyone. When we underfund special ed, what we’re really doing is lumping the funds together with something else... because sped WILL get funded... because students with disabilities WILL show up at the door. The unfunding is a license for all sorts of issues. The biggest one, is simply complaining about students with disabilities. “THEY weren’t really funded. THEY are taking my funds. THEIR FAPE is too good. THEY don’t really belong here.” It’s really every kids’ funds, not just yours. And IDEA doesn’t care how you split up the pie... so long as you somehow provide the FAPE. If Washington state put $0 in the sped fund, all the sped funding would come from the general fund or the levy. There’s still a MOA that has to be maintained.

SpedX

Anonymous said...

Salut,

Scott Pinkham is a member of the Nez Perce tribe and works as the assistant director of diversity & access at UW College of Engineering. It seems quite a stretch to believe that he needs district staff to acquaint him racial inequity in science education. It illustrates, once again, how district staff condescend to the board based only on expediency, not facts. It makes staff look like they are trying to get away with something. Like avoiding the adoption procedures to gain a curriculum they think won't stand up to scrutiny.

-Alum

Anonymous said...

Salut, you lost the moral high ground to speak about equity when your stated criteria for science curricula for female students is the frailty of their frames, not the feeding of their brains.

Just Don't

Anonymous said...

This is what the whole science adoption thing sounds like to me:

Whispering Voice: "Psst. Hey kid (SPS), want some candy (Amplify)?"

SPS: "Sure! And maybe afterwards we can go for a ride in your van!"

bad idea

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Funding of Students who Receive Special Education Services
The education of students with disabilities is not an unfunded mandate. The Washington State Constitution provides that "it is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex." In 1971, the legislature declared special education a part of the State's constitutional obligation and established a state-wide special education program to meet its obligation. In 2012, the Washington Supreme Court found in McCleary that the state had violated this constitutional mandate for the education of all children residing within its borders, including students with disabilities. The court recently found that the state had finally met its McCeary funding obligations in regard to its duty to all students. Arguably, this was mistake, and the area where the state most visibly fails is making an ample provision for the education of students with disabilities. In 2007, an alliance of 12 school districts, joined by 72 school districts as amici, alleged that that state had similarly failed in its duty to special education. This case made its way to the Washington Supreme Court in 2010, which found that the districts had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the state had underfunded special education, especially because the alliance had not included the "basic education allocation" (BEA) in calculating underfunding . Sch. Districts’ Alliance for Adequate Funding of Special Educ. v. State The difficulty in this case, as in all special education funding cases, is that the funding stream for special education is so labyrinthine no district can provide accurate numbers for the cost of the education of its special education students, especially considering that some students spend much of their time in general education. Arguably, this the wrong approach.

Moving on the argument that the education of students is a federal responsibility, as SP would argue. Yes, it is true that there is no federal mandate to educate anyone other than students with disabilities. That does not stop all states from providing a free public education to the students within their borders. The federal government does not mandate that states educate students who require special education services unless the state accepts federal money for education. If a state decides not to accept federal money, it has no obligation under IDEA, although other federal statutes such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the American with Disabilities Act still would apply.

I believe that the Supreme Court got McCleary wrong. I believe that the state is generally underfunding all students, but the students who will most suffer under McCleary are students who receive special education services. The educational standard under IDEA is only the provision of a "Free Appropriate Pubic Education." I would argue that the funding standard in Washington of "ample provision" as a funding standard, should be easier to prove, but because the sausage-making process in Washington State is so convoluted, it is likely still difficult to prove.

One thing is clear, unless the funding of the education for students who require special education services does not improve, there will likely be another suit either alleging lack of education services or lack of educational funding for students with disabilities in Washington State.

--GL

Anonymous said...

"North Seattle HIV cluster among drug users and homeless people worries health officials " Seattle Times 4-20-2019

Do you still think those used needles are simply trash?


Pissed off

Anonymous said...

I have invested around 500 hours reviewing 1000s of SPS documents and it's my opinion that the failures of special education in Seattle public schools is not due to the lack of funding. The powers are trying to use special education funding as a smoke screen to cover their irresponsible increase in teacher's wages.

My research has found no evidence that Seattle public schools uses sound evidence based practices to improve the outcomes of students. My research has found no evidence the Seattle pubic schools administration has ever performed an return on investment (ROI) study of any of it's programs or services. It also shocking that there is no evidence that in the last 10 years that a single Seattle public school board member has asked for a ROI study of anything.

I find it disgusting for HCC proponents to attempt to leverage the crisis in special education for children with disabilities into a pro HCC funding talking point.

SPED parent


Anonymous said...

@Eric B wrote,

"We need to hold the district accountable. Seattle Public Schools has a legal obligation to provide appropriate services to every student, and staff also need to follow the District’s published policies and procedures. We can change policy and procedures if they don’t work, but we can’t just ignore them." https://www.ericblumhagen.com/issues

1. Why do you feel that Scott Pinkham must be replaced by you"

2. We have heard your words by others running before, every election year in fact. So how will you do better at what Pinkham has not being able to accomplish and what have you done to help Scott Pinkham in the last 3 years as an self described activist?

3. Your comments on this blog lead me to believe that you are very conformable and have experienced little to no adversity yet the majority of families in the eastern section of your district have. So how can you a self described HCC proponent and HCC program activist possibly relate to the families who struggle just feeding their families and hoping their children just will be able to finish high school?

4. Describe your first 90 days in office

5. Special education has been in the news quite a bit lately so tell us how you will address the issues that have been mentioned and why you the current school board has not acted to fix the issues?

SPS Parent

Anonymous said...

@SPEDP

LOL you have not + u know it. u know that foia requesters names are public record, yes? so please. real sped parents have nowhere near that much free time. No one believes a word u say! And which is it: are union teachers stealing your sped money or r hcc parents? there all out to get u!!! go peddle your anti union lies elsewhere.

Union

Melissa Westbrook said...

SPS Parent, those are some interestingly phrased questions. I'll have to talk to Eric myself but I'm not sure he would say "he must" replace Pinkham. Usually, it's "why do you think you are the best candidate." And, the vibe I get from Pinkham is that this work has been hard on him and his family; we'll have to see what his decision is about running again.

Also, could you define "conformable?" I want to make sure I understand your meaning.

As well, "..have experienced little to no adversity yet the majority of families in the eastern section of your district have.." Could you tell us how you know about the entirety of Eric's life and can make that statement about what adversity he has or has not faced? I realize that Eric is probably white (again, not good to make assumptions) so that has its own built-in privilege but I am astonished at the assumption that there are not other challenges that happen in life.

I myself have never asked candidates about their first 90 days in office; school board has a learning curve even for activists and naturally, it's a good idea not to come in and start throwing your weight around.

I'm not answering for Eric but I'm trying to understand your questions.

Union, you have no right to say how much time any given parent, no less a Sped parent has. Most Sped parents I know DO massive amounts of research because it may be the only thing that helps their child get the services they need.

SPED Parent, I haven't heard about ROI in public education, because, like healthcare, it's not supposed to be a business. I only hear about ROI in public education in relation to charter schools. Why do you think this important?

Also,
"I find it disgusting for HCC proponents to attempt to leverage the crisis in special education for children with disabilities into a pro HCC funding talking point."

Where did you get this idea? I haven't heard that at all. And, why this pitting of program against program?

Anonymous said...

There are a lot ignorant comments about SPED funding being made on this subject.

To be clear. A SPED student is first just a plain old student with the funding that comes along with being a plain old student.

Beyond that some SPED student's require supports and these supports can range from zero dollars to $440k per school year.

There are some federal ADA documentation requirements that the district must meet and they have improved in that area only after USDE oversight required better documents and timelines.

Most of the ADA funding from the Feds goes to the state and the state allocates the funding to the LED. The IEP creation and documentation process possibly burns up most of the federal monies, but there is still both state and local funding available for the actual support services.

The conflation between HCC to 2e here is a weak argument. A 2e student would be a student that has a very high cognitive ability score but can't perform at a similar academic level and requires some sort of access modifications from a typical student. A 2e could be in HCC but most are not, nor do they want to be. Most students qualify for service by testing for poor performance vs cognitive scores.

I think when the average person visualizes a disability they think of wheelchairs , downs , autism, blindness and deafness. I think most people would surprised that all of those populations combined are not the majority of SPED students.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

How is anything I wrote anti union? Giving teachers increases that destabilized the districts budget is wreak-less. I support teachers earning an appropriate wage.

ROI is used in healthcare industry every day.

SPS buy all sorts of products and services that seem unnecessary, you probably could name more failed SPS initiatives or excessive spending than I can. So is it the term ROI that you don't like or accountability?

I'm not sure if your FOIA comment it suppose to be threat or not? Either way I'm not hiding anything, most people know who I am.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

@westbrook

You wrote, "healthcare, it's not supposed to be a business."

Come on I think you're smarter than that comment.

12-15% of American works in the heathcare industry and most are for profit ventures.

Did you mean to write "for profit"? I've worked for 2 separate NGOs that provided health services to poor communities and at both we did ROI analysis and not "for profit" analysis, there is a difference.

JS

Anonymous said...

@Eric B

IF you filed then why does the King county elections have this statement:

2019 candidate filing


Candidate filing will be held from May 13 to May 17, 2019. The list of candidates who have filed will be posted daily starting on May 13 no later than 12 p.m. The list will be updated at least twice daily during candidate filing at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m.

JS

Anonymous said...

"Some SPED students require supports... supports can range from zero dollars to $440K per school year."

Surely this is a typo, or am I reading this correctly that this is per child? Because it is patently absurd to spend $440K per annum on any single child. Society does not owe anyone that. There must be some limit.

Sensible Liberal

Put up or... said...

Do we know what evidence the Seattle Times has to support the claim, "a violation of these students’ civil rights"? If true then families can sue the school district in federal court and win real and punitive damages.Civil right suits are the only type that scares the SPS legal dept. ADA due process is not a deterrent to SPED legal violations.

I wonder if the Times owners would be willing to fund a class action lawsuit against SPS related to SPED violations or are they just trying to sell papers?.

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS, Blumhagen has registered his campaign with the PDC.

https://www.pdc.wa.gov/browse/campaign-explorer/candidate?filer_id=BLUME%20%20117&election_year=2019

King County Elections is a different thing.

Sensible Liberal, and who decides what the amount is that any single child should be funded for his/her education? The district has a couple of $1M students.

The funding of Sped is exactly this issue; it costs money to provide services and it's a huge spectrum of services.

Anonymous said...

Well I'm a tax payer and I say $1M is ridiculous. How is it possible for tax payers to be responsible for paying $1M. I'm calling BS on your comment.

Get REAL

Anonymous said...

Holy cow! How is it possible to spend $1M in a school year to provide an education to any one student. I truly hope you are misinformed. How do you come by this $1M figure?


--Sam

Anonymous said...

I'm confused. What funding goes to HCC that could go to sped? My understanding is that HCC gets no funding whatsoever and has the lowest cost per head. The only state funding for HCC is spent on state-required testing.

It also sounds to me like you want HCC students who are also sped not to get sped? That is the definition of 2e after all. Like, a child with ASD doesn't deserve help with that just because they're in HCC? Or a child with vision impairment doesn't deserve help with that just because they're in HCC? You see 2e families as the enemy of sped?

I've got to be honest, I think you must not know many HCC or 2e parents. The HCC parents I know do real work advocating for sped funding (not just 2e funding) and school funding in general. If there is actual evidence otherwise, I'm all ears. But I don't think it's right to pit groups against each other when the future is all about working together. Having people at each other's necks was how things regularly went under Nyland, but most families in SPS have since wised up to the divide and conquer strategy the district uses and now direct their ire not to other groups doing them no harm but at the district itself. Whenever I see someone pitting group against group in this forum, I squint my eyes with skepticism at the motive.

Be Excellent to Each Other

Anonymous said...

You are not fooling people, so stop trying to position 2e as a large cohort in HCC. There must have been an HCC dog whistle blown, come on girl who do you think you are fooling. Do you think people believe that HCC folks are advocating for SPED. Please enlighten us if this is so. There are just a handful of e2 students in SPS and they are in very little need of supports. I'm not going to discuss those student in details but I can prove it through the numbers and it's also true that the vast majority of SPED are not 2e or HCC, not even close.

We don't mind you advocating for HCC, you should, but please keep SPED out of your justifications for more funding for HCC.

--Owler

Anonymous said...

@Eric B,

Awesome news! I remember you as an involved parent and legislative liaison from my kid's elementary school. You impressed me as a very sharp person, who also deeply cares about all children & who plays close attention to the issues. I am very happy you are running!! Don't pay any mind to some people who have apparently summed up your entire life's experiences due to some shallow stereotype they have formed in their head about you. I agree very much with Melissa on this point. There will always be people who make quick assumptions and stereotype people negatively. Get beyond the boxes people. People I have found who really understand this have been the folks I know who work in the area of diversity at local colleges and universities. I could completely shatter their stereotypes in an instant with multiple stories and examples about people I know.

HS mom

Anonymous said...

In general my experience in advocating for SPED is it's a lonely road and in all the years I have attended meetings or reviewed board members emails I have never met a HCC parent that was spending their time and money on SPED issues. Not a single parent, why do you think that is? Usually a parent who advocates for their SPED child is quickly ostracized in the PTA and other school circles.

Has HCC decided to hitch it's wagon to the SPED hoarse after all it does look better than screaming my highly performing student needs more, right? I think it's obvious whats going on here. Couple SPED and HCC then cry bigot if anyone challenges you on more funding for the new best friends. Can you explain the HCC groups new found love for SPED? Go review the forums dedicated to HCC and you won't find the topic of SPED funding, why is that. I hope the unions are not behind this scam but I fear that's exactly what is happening.

--Owler

Anonymous said...

@HS I doubt everything you wrote.

How can a white man with a large salary living a upper middle class lifestyle be better for the district than a Native American who is a UW educator? He is trying to unseat the most diverse board member we have. Eric comments on this blog have been clearly as an advocate for HCC and not much else. He clearly can't relate to most of the Northend families. We already have a white male engineer from the UW who also lives in Ballard in an expensive home, who also is pro HCC and who kids went to Ingraham in AP or IBX, so why do we need another?

SPS Parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

You are welcome to go look thru the various Board meeting minutes where this funding is approved. Not hard to find.

Owler, I had a 2E student. No one said it was a large part of HCC. And HCC would not get more funding because a student is 2E; the money follows the student, remember?

SPS Parent, no one said Eric is better but he has the right to make his case. Pinkham may not even run. Your statements about he can or can't advocate for have no basis. At this blog, Eric talks far more about policy and enrollment than HCC.

You also don't know that Director Burke will run again.

That's a lot of assumptions there.

Anonymous said...

I just view Eric's site and see that Harris has endorsed Eric. Does this mean Pinkham has decided not to run, it looks like it. If not it then Harris sure has sowed the seeds of resentment endorsing an opponent of a seated board member.

SPS Parent

Anonymous said...

Looks like we have another Westbrook ringer candidate. The slander against others begin!

BB

Anonymous said...

@BB there is a definite UW theme going on with candidates and this blog. @MW Are you registered as a lobbyist ? I see this blog and you supporting your choice candidates as at least being considered as in kind. You are more than just a blogger you attend board meetings and attend rallies in Olympia. Do you receive any financial considerations for your efforts? How do you afford to be able to spend to much time and energy on there efforts?

SPS Parent

Anonymous said...

Could you please explain your $1M cost claim for SPED services for a single student for one school year. Some IEP students can't even get $100.00 IPAD.

--Sam

Anonymous said...

Is 2e a legal classification or one the parents use to get services?

Wondering

Anonymous said...

Most of the SPS 2e students disability fall in the autism spectrum disorder. The primary services these students receive is usually behavior therapy, they can also be allowed accommodations including more time on assignments or exams.

Seattle has a higher rate of autism spectrum disorder and these students can be highly focused to the point of obsession. The problems come in when dealing with the students lack of compassion or empathy. There is also impulse control issues with autism spectrum disorder students.

--Sam

Anonymous said...

I think (SPED PARENT/Owler) you might have your blinders on. 2e Seattle was founded in 2011 and has hundreds of followers on Facebook. You might also want to look closely at our city and state's Sped advocates and political leaders more closely: lots of them actually have 2e students. You somehow see enemies all around, but they are doing lots of heavy lifting without wearing it on their sleeves. You may want to rethink a few things.

Be Excellent

Anonymous said...

I happy to see the blog circle back and address special education. It's a sensitive issue and there has always been fierce discussions on this blog around SPED.

With every election I get my hopes up that someone will get on the board and fix the issues in SPED. Sadly I've always be disappointed.

--Sam

Anonymous said...

You keep making claims but provide no data or proof of any sort. Wow there's a facebook for 2e parents in Seattle and you claim there are 100s of members and you suggest that therefore there are 100s of 2e students in SPS, that a huge jump and simply false.

I know this because I have the data from SPS via public disclosure and other data that was provided from the SPED dept without a FOIA request. You can ask SPS legal for what is called the PRR log. They will send you an excel file with a detailed list of all the FOIA request with the subject and requester info. From there you can make your own request for the same info based of the SPS log number and receive the same information I have very quickly.

Why don't you do that then circle back and we can have an intelligent conversation that doesn't included Facebook as a source of information.

I'm not Owler, do you research before making false claims!

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

@SPED Parent,

Your FOIA data is meaningless since districts (not just SPS) under-identify the needs of 2e children and deny services in either SPED, gifted services or both. Look at the Dear Colleagues Letters and I hope you'll understand the erroneous assumptions districts make when evaluating students. We're stronger when we work together. We don't need in-fighting in SPED, 2e or not, as there are enough problems on our plates.

Stand United

“In OCR’s investigative experience, school districts sometimes rely on a student’s average, or better-than-than-average, grade point average (GPA) and make inappropriate decisions. For example, a school district might erroneously assume that a student with an above-average GPA does not have a disability, or has no unaddressed needs related to the disability, and therefore fail to conduct a section 504 evaluation of that student, even if that student is suspected of having or has been diagnosed with ADHD and receives family provided academic supports outside of school.” “…it is critical to reject the assumption that an individual who has performed well academically cannot be substantially limited in activities such as learning, reading, writing, thinking, or speaking.”

Dear Colleague Letter and Resource Guide on Students with ADHD (7/26/16)



“The practice of denying, on the basis of disability, a qualified student with a disability the opportunity to participate in an accelerated program violates both Section 504 and Title II. Conditioning enrollment in an advanced class or program on the forfeiture of needed special education or related aids and services is also inconsistent with the principle of individualized determinations, which is a key procedural aspect of the IDEA, Section 504 and Title II.”

Dear Colleague Letter (12/26/07)


“….it would be inconsistent with the IDEA for a child, regardless of whether the child is gifted, to be found ineligible for special education and related services under the SLD category solely because the child scored above a particular cut score established by State policy.”

Letter to James Delisle (12/20/13)


Each state must ensure that FAPE is available to any child with a disability who needs special education and related services, even though the child has not failed or been retained in a course, and is advancing from grade to grade.” 34 CFR §300.101(c). A State has an obligation to make FAPE available to an eligible child with a disability even if that child meets the State’s academic achievement standards.”

Letter to Anonymous (2/29/12)

Anonymous said...

@SPS Parent and BB,

Both of you are making unfounded assumptions and allegations about both Melissa and Eric B. Melissa does this blog as a volunteer and Eric is running for an unpaid position. Melissa does not need to answer to anyone as to how she finances her activities. Also, Melissa has not endorsed Eric, although she did stand up for him because of someone's strange questions for him.

I would hope that voters would consider candidates' qualifications and track record, rather than just their race. If they have a personal characteristic that would add value to the Board, of course that might also be a consideration.

Momof2

Anonymous said...

@Wondering

Repeat after me: HCC involves zero extra funding. No HCC child brings extra funding from the district or state to the school. All money for HC is poured into identification testing. The HCC schools get none of it. If a kid is also in sped, then, yes, they get sped money for an actual official disability. But nothing extra for HCC. There is no extra money to the school for any HCC enrollment.

2e is a shorthand referring to a kid who both has a disability (that is a legal definition) and who is HC (that is also a legal definition in Washington State). HCC is the cohort, HC refers to the legal status. 2e is not a legal definition itself, but it refers to these two legal definitions together. Caveat- lots of HC students are not identified as such but should be. There is ethnic/income/gender/sped bias in the testing SPS uses. As Sam says, HC kids have a lot of ASD and sensory processing disabilities plus executive dysfunction, emotional dysregulation etc.

It happens a lot for some in the Sped community to reject/ostracize 2e parents, even though they should know better. 2e parents hide HC status in their sped community. You hear people like Sped Parent, and I don't blame them either. I can confirm 2e Seattle has hundreds of followers on Facebook, but there is a crisis in the under-identification of 2e students because as Stand United says school counselors look at averages and ignore flags for disability (f.ex., verbal and quantitative reasoning are off the charts but processing speed is four standard deviations below mean, but counselors will use the average and claim no disability is there). So SPS' numbers don't include dozens if not a hundred or more 2e kids. If you attend a 2e Seattle meeting, you'll meet home school families. Often there's no choice but to pull your kid out of school, especially if a counselor is refusing to ID HC or sped status. SPS' numbers don't include those kids either. Lots go to specialized private schools or spend part-time in 1on1 arrangements- mostly outside Seattle city limits. Those are also not in SPS' numbers.

United We Stand

Anonymous said...

I get what you are saying and everyone is entitled to there own opinion, but for some reason you are making accusations that I don't know what I'm talking about and that I havn't put in 500 hrs min into researching all things SPED. For obvious reasons I don't bring my children into the fight like some here do here , but I can tell you that my children have been through a lot and in the process I've put in the time and energy.

SPED parent

Watching said...

Elections are part of our Democracy. Anyone and everyone has the to run for public office. Elections create an opportunity for individuals to debate issues. Elections and debates are an essential part of our Democracy.

I don't know if Pinkham will seek re-election- or not. In some ways it doesn't matter. It is not uncommon for multiple individuals to run for a single office. Hopefully, the two strongest candidates emerge from the primary and move onto the general election. Having two strong candidates run for an unpaid office is a bonus!

I'm personally happy that Eric has decided to throw his hat into the ring. He has been an active member of the community since 2003. We need informed individuals and Eric B. Eric B. would definitely be an informed board member.


Anonymous said...

I'm not aware of a cut score for qualifying for services in fact it looks like you may have it backwards. Students who test high in cognitive abilities but perform low on academic test (meaning under what someone with a high cognitive should score) is the most common way students qualify for services. Next is neurological conditions, medical conditions and finally genetic conditions.

Maybe you meant that they don't score low enough on the academic test? or high enough on the cognitive test?

HC has no federal mandates or laws requiring LEDs to provide HC services. The state has not been enforcing LEDs to meet federal SPED requirements and now are blaming a lack of funding. They are shameless. Many are attempting to elevate HC to the same legal retirements as SPED and I think those people are disgusting.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

I remember Eric B for the Loyal Heights SPED vs PTA issue. I don't remember him advocating for SPED if fact he was part of the group complaining that SPED was taking money away from Gen ed.

Eric I hope you remember what you said to me. We actually moved out of Seattle because in part of Eric and his buddies at Loyal Heights. If I'm in town during one of the debates then I will be sure to show up and remind you of your behavior.

Natalia

Anonymous said...

Sped parent writes: "Students who test high in cognitive abilities but perform low on academic test (meaning under what someone with a high cognitive should score) is the most common way students qualify for services." This is completely false. Nobody in SPS receives training to understand why it matters that somebody with high cognitive abilities might under-perform on an academic test. It's taken for granted that students with disabilities will under perform, whatever their cognitive capabilities.

It seems hopeless to work with Juneau to address this culture of low expectations. She does not seem interested in what parents have to say and the advisory committee that she is supposed to create and get policy advice from (SEAAC) is not really very focused on policy matters. According to the latest newsletter from SPS Special Education, the SEAAC has been discussing the language that should be used to talk about our students with disabilities. Rome is burning ...

Sighing

Anonymous said...

A $1M student with disabilities isn’t so hard to imagine, if you’re considering the entire school lifetime of the student. The district has a half dozen contracts with special ed schools charging over 100K per year, mostly at the NESoil campuses or Children’s Institute. Attend these for 10 years, and you’re hitting the $1M mark. There’s out of state placements for $100sKs per year, transportation, including family visits out of state. A $1M pricetag for 1 kid for 1 year might include some sort of punitive settlement.

But why do we have such high cost students? The district creates this costly service through total neglect. Neglecting a student with a disability, creates a much more expensive service. Killing inclusion programs a decade ago in favor of more expensive resource rooms, caused students to go to maximally expensive self contained classrooms. That created expensive resource rooms and expensive self containment. When a regular education teacher fails to make the classroom accessible through some semblance of universal design (ex fails to put up visual schedules, use predictable routines, reliably relate classwork and home work to the students, use instruction that is accessible at multiple levels, accept work product at various levels, fails to engage a student with a disability in any way) knowledgeable parents will require more special ed services. Once the expensive service is in place, regular ed teachers will no longer try anything. They will simply resort to the expensive services first. Once a program model is in place, schools are incented financially and culturally to fill that program up as quickly as possible, with the students with the lowest need levels (so students with more complex needs will be moved elsewhere).
This neglect driven service model approach is THE driver of high special education costs. Access programs cost around $30G per student, not counting transportation or related services. Access was supposed to be a program for students with severe needs who would otherwise be placed in self contained classrooms. As such, it was cost neutral. But due to neglect, we see students with very mild disabilities in Access. In fact, most current administrators actually now say: Students in Access must be at grade level. Bizarrely, one of the very most expensive special education programs in the state is limited (illegally) to students who have the very fewest needs! Ridiculous. That is illegal because students receiving special ed services do not have to be at grade level to receive services, or to be included in general education classrooms. More expectations from regular ed teachers, which is completely reasonable, is what we need. Rarely, if ever, at an IEP meeting, do you see a regular education expectation made. How do we change the regular ed environment to reduce our reliance on expensive special education services? That should be a question asked at every IEP meeting. It would be an improvement for everyone.

Same problem exists with the out of district placements. Schools like Children’s Institute offer nothing that isn’t already available in the district already. This school isn’t for complex or rare disabilities. It’s for everyday Autism, ADHD and the like. Schools simply don’t want to serve some students. So they ship them off instead of upping their game. That is tremendously expensive. Without a real focus on special education quality with program outcome measures, we will pay the maximum. I don’t agree with a necessity for ROI measuring, but we certainly need accountability and outcome monitoring. We also need to put service delivery models in place which incentivize service instead of shirking service. That would include policy requiring students attending their home schools. When schools can easily opt for sending students to expensive programs somewhere else, by filling up their slots, or overstating needs, they will use those tremendously expensive techniques. A culture of neglect paves the way.

SpedX

Anonymous said...

I'm not aware of any $1M settlements with SPS and anyone. There are also no USDE OCR base lawsuits against SPS that could result in punitive damages. There are no punitive damages awarded in FAPE or IDEA base settlements only Civil rights suits can included punitive damages in WA. In some cases there maybe some courts that try to allow punitive damages and if so it would a big deal and news worthy, there have been no such cases involving Seattle public schools.

Losing a lawsuit is not providing services!

So back to the claim was that Seattle public schools has several children who services cost $1M per school year each.

Can you please explain how it's possible to spend $1M per school year in providing an education to one student?

--Sam

Melissa Westbrook said...

Sam, I didn't say it was a settlement. You know what you can do - because I'm not going to do it for you - is call Special Education Services and ask for Wyeth Jesse. You ask him about this issue of a couple of kids costing upwards of $1M each. It is indeed happening because they pay to send those kids to residential care away from Seattle.

Natalia, you may not like Eric B but I am hard pressed to believe anyone moved out of Seattle because of Eric "and his buddies" at Loyal Heights. Anyone who has met Eric would not believe that. And if you are going to throw out those kinds of statements, please tell us all about it. That might be important info for voters to know.

SPS Parent, so other people who devote their lives to a cause, that's believable. If I do it, it's not. My finances are none of your business. PERIOD. I have no boss, I have no funders - that's how I come by my integrity and my ability to present stories any way I want.

If you write that kind of ridiculous nonsense again, you will not be able to comment under that name. If you really want to ask me something, find me at a meeting, introduce yourself and then ask away. You won't, of course, because you, like the few of your ilk, are cowards but you are not attacking me on my own blog.

Anonymous said...

@SpedX

Actually outside of self contained students the majority of service hours occur in what SPS calls studies skills class. There is next to zero SDI provided in these classes.

The cost is one FTE for many many students. These students are diagnosed mostly with one or more SLD and are the lowest cost per student of any SPED students. They are also the largest population in SPED.

In one school the studies skills teacher was a para professional without benefits. Her cost to the district was $47K and she oversaw 65 students. The school was funded from the district at around $390,000 for the special education services of the 65 students not including the Gen ed funding.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

@Melisa

I'm not sure why you get so angry?

The information I have shows that there are not any SPED students being set to out of district services costing $1M per school. I have made extensive FOIA request this year and that info doesn't appear in any of my FOIA related documents. Furthermore, any expenditure of this nature would required board approval and nothing like this has crossed the board. SPED services required annual review with 4 year re-evals.

I have found contracts with NWSOIL, Childrens and overlake that are $$$ but nothing close to $1M. There also is nothing like $1M for one student in the SPED budget report.

When are you claiming these out of district placements took place? Maybe my date range FOIA request was too narrow.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

A lot of people don’t like the basic facts of special education. Special education isn’t designed or required to maximize anyone’s potential. The courts have avoided that from the beginning. The legal standard (Rowley) in special education was for decades: a floor of opportunity and a “Ford not a Cadillac”. That eventually degraded to the “de minimis” standard, or anything slightly above nothing. Which of course boils down to nothing. The court found that the de minimis really did mean students got nothing. The new Endrew standard rejected the de minimis standard, and set the special education bar to “appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances “ but also upheld Rowley. It resoundingly rejected a requirement for the provision of services “that are substantially equal to the opportunities afforded children without disabilities.” HCC is a program designed to optimize educational outcomes, to go beyond the required “floor of opportunity” which is the special ed mandate. Every HCC student with a disability is entitled to special education, and every HCC school provides resource room special education service to meet that requirement. But, Special education programs for the most impacted students getting to the floor of opportunity are not appropriate for HCC schools because maximizing opportunities to students in HCC is not required by IDEA. It would be completely inequitable to provide outcome optimizing special education services to HCC, but not provide them to all the other students with disabilities. Other students with disabilities also under acheive their intellectual capacity. The idea that HCC students with disabilities should also receive more and better special education benefits than everyone else is at the heart of the resentment against 2e proponents. Also fueling the resentment is the myriad of claims for 2e services for students who do not even qualify for special education. Every challenge in life does not equate to a disability by legal standards.

Legal Eagle

Anonymous said...

Parents with children in special ed do not want to use there names here. In the past others have used that kind of information as a weapon against the parents and students.

You should know this and respect it.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

I think it has been accepted that the ADA requires that public schools provide access to education. A wheelchair ramp or elevator to access classrooms or technology that enables the blind access to an education. These are obvious to everyone. The dilemma is when a student seems capable yet can't achieve at grade level results. Those just looking for at grade level get irritated with those that claim that their child is being shortchanged because they should be 2-3 grade levels ahead of other students of the same age. It's like a person complaining to a person living in car that they should have a vacation home to go along with their first home. There's a huge difference between providing services to keep a student at grade level and trying to get into Yale at 15.

--2cents

Anonymous said...

@Legal Eagle

A gifted student in math, for example, who has dyslexia should not be denied HC services in math just because SPS does not recognize single subject gifted.

HC is supposed to be a service and not a program.

TruthB Told

Anonymous said...

"And, the vibe I get from Pinkham is that this work has been hard on him and his family; we'll have to see what his decision is about running again."

Followed by pro-Eric B comments by MW.

For anyone who had any doubt that this is a political blog, look no further.

TruthB Told


Anonymous said...

I'm not aware of how dyslexia effects pure math, however linguistically loaded math like most of the SPS chosen math programs do pose issues for children with dyslexia.

There's discalcula which would prevent a student from learning math.

Your student should have been able to take Algebra and Geometry in middle school if able to handle the class. How were you denied services? There are many students who complete algebra in 8th grade that have dyslexia. They can take all AP level math in high school.

If you have an IEP for dyslexia the school can not prevent your child from taking those classes and must follow the IEP allowing the accommodations spelled out. If they are only offering advance math to HC students then that is a violation against all students not just those with IEPs. Is your school doing that?

I'm not sure what HC services in math would be? Care to explain more?

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

TruthB,

Correct. Students with disabilities are permitted to take any math classes they are able. And they already do in SPS. HC status is irrelevant.

Legal

Melissa Westbrook said...

TruthBTold, this is not a political blog. We follow public education and that includes the elections for those who govern our schools and their funding, graduation requirements, etc.

Director Pinkham and I have a good relationship and he knows my support for him. So your pot stirring is not going to work.

It would be tough to choose between Blumhagen and Pinkham as they both have strengths. One thing I like about both of them is their lack of ego and quiet, thoughtful natures.

SPED Parent, I am not angry; I'm irritated. I have reported previously on several high-cost Sped students. I'm not making this up but I also don't have the time to go back and find all those posts. You and Sam are welcome to do so OR check the Board meeting minutes from last year OR call up Wyeth Jesse of SPS who heads those services. You don't have to believe me but the evidence is out there.

Anonymous said...

And yet - they can't.

HCC just means you're doing a curriculum 2 years ahead of schedule. It's not really "gifted ed" in SPS, we just have acceleration. Call that "golde-plated" if you will, but it's the same curriculum, same teachers, no extra money, larger class sizes in fact, it's nothing special. More like fake gold spraypaint over plastic. It's the same board-approved curriculum (or, in the case of Amplify, non-board-approved curriculum) as everyone else, just 2 years ahead.

One common scenario looks like this - If you're 2 years ahead in math, but not ahead or behind in ELA due to dyslexia, you can't get into HCC. Period. SPS doesn't allow grade skipping. Walk-to-math is not allowed at any or almost any elementary schools, and in those rare cases a principal allows it, it's only one year ahead, not two. So not the same as HCC. Neighborhood schools are not set up to give 4th-5th graders a 6th-7th curriculum, so no acceleration is available realistically for math after 3rd grade in a neighborhood school. Same problem in middle school, can't usually take algebra2 or calc there. So, no, a student with a disability who needs a high level of math does not have access to it. You have to be in HCC to get it. But a 2e student can't get into HCC usually because of how they test and what they test for.

Another scenario - HC kids don't make sense when teachers and counselors see them, teachers and counselors rarely have PD in HC. They think something else is going on because a disability looks different in an HC kid. An HC kid with dyslexia is often diagnosed late because of this. An HC kid with dyslexia can compensate for the dyslexia maybe through grades 4 or 5. If diagnosed at all, the IEP supports don't even become available until middle school or high school, because before that requests for IEP's are denied, even though there is a disability. By middle school and high school, the kid is missing years worth of material, has never developed study habits, and they are a mess academically and sometimes emotionally. That is the reality of HC kids. They are not straight A students. They are just as often the "screw-ups." They start ahead in K-1st, stay at grade level through 5-6, and end up behind in the teen years. This is a classic pattern of 2e. It's not uncommon for kids like this who get no or late support to flunk out or school and not go to college. We're not talking about Yale here. That is a mythology. We're talking much more basic concerns: will my child even graduate, will my child be able to get a job. The data SPS has is misleading because they aren't identifying their 2e population, and so many switch to home school, private (although these kids are hard to get into private because they have low grades and a history of behavior problems due to unmet needs), or drop out.

Another scenario: A child undergoes years of therapy and treatment for a disability they don't have, and ineffective academic supports, or for a disability that is different from what they really have, again with ineffective academic supports, all because the child is also HC and misdiagnosis of 2e children is a crisis because teachers and counselors lack even basic PD for it (https://books.google.com/books?id=NQrtt-peg5AC).

One more scenario: If you're lucky enough to get a 2e kid into HCC, the HCC elementary schools don't offer full ACCESS services. That means a kid who needs more sped support than our HCC schools can provide has to choose: do I give up acceleration and social-emotional supports for HC, or do I give up support for my disability? If you move to a school for better sped support, you loose access to HC services like in the first scenario above. If you stay in HCC, you may not get full or any support for your disability.

Come to a 2e Seattle meeting sometime and meet us, talk to us and learn and understand.

United We Stand

Anonymous said...

United,

Like all other kids with a disability, your HCC student in special ed, is not entitled to a special education Cadillac. They get the Ford, the resource room, like all the other students with disabilities. If they put Access in HCC, every family in HCC would demand it, to maximize their kid’s potential, not because there’s something special in it. They would demand Access because of its luxurious staffing ratios.

Legal

Anonymous said...

But Legal,

Point taken, well except for the part about HCC parents demanding higher staffing ratios because that's a slur with no basis in reality, but what I'm also saying is 2e often don't get EITHER. Or, if they get sped they get it way way too late. 2e kids are not getting the Ford. They are getting the horse and buggy, minus the horse.

HCC kids who are not 2e do get HC services, and those with mild disability do get the Ford, and most are happy with that. But 2e kids are often not getting anything at all because they are misdiagnosed, diagnosed late, or the HC masks their disability and allows the school to ignore it for a long time, while the sped keeps them out of HCC so they're left with beans. The reality is many 2e don't get either set of needs met by public school.

Honest to gosh, set aside the slurs and just come join us a couple times and learn. It will be eye-opening for you. No monsters, no evil villains, no schemes, and no one will bite.

United (truly)

Anonymous said...

So Untitled. You want random people to join you at some meeting because they might not know their kid is HC and not getting HCC, or their kid is disabled and not getting sped. Or, more to the point, both at the same time. Nobody is slurring their words here. But most of don’t have the time or inclination for a dog and pony show to prove monster or villain status. It simply isn’t even slightly interesting.

No Thanks

Anonymous said...

P.S you also have back some real doozies like Geary who tried to bail after 1 year and DeWolf who has bailed after less than two years. Peters also only served one term after screaming the sky was falling due to the Re constructionist were coming ect and she would protect us.

The fact is that little has changed in the last 12 years. People and boards come and go with broken promises abundant.

JS

Anonymous said...

When it comes to SPED only the squeaky wheel gets the services or should say the filer gets the services. Go to the IEP meetings with cookies and tape recorder so you can disarm the SPS legal team and administrators, they are the ones calling the shots not the IEP team.

I like to record the meeting then get up and use the restroom just to see what is said when Im not there and what is said is shocking.

Someday I will post all the crazy illegal things caught on tape. Oh and be aware that its common for SPS legal to listen to IEP meetings via a supervisor's cell phone. They also text IEP team members and tell them what to say while listening.

Another SPED

Anonymous said...

Legal Eagle is either intentionally trying to be misleading so that anybody who tries to get their student's IEP recognized, much less implemented, in an IEP context, is just another overreaching parent, or, Legal Eagle isn't an eagle at all, but rather, probably, a pigeon or some other lowlife trying to demean special needs parents. Sent by SPS Legal no doubt.

This person is trying to imply that asking for sped services in hcc contexts equates in some de facto or automatic demand for "maximizing opportunities". Nice. Doesn't that say it all. Ever tried to get your IEP implemented in *any* context in SPS? Seriously. All of our students are subjected to the lowest possible expectations and any effort expended by parents is to get the minimum IEP accommodations noticed, acknowledged, and in a distant aspirational land, implemented, whatever the curriculum level. Legal Eagle is just another talking mouth for SPS which is constantly trying to demean parents who expect the minimum level of compliance with IEPs.

sr

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS, considering who was running at the time, DeWolf and Geary were good choices. That they have turned out to be people - ambitious people - who would abandon a post that they got elected to is not something I could have predicted.

Also, "Peters also only served one term?" And how many have you served (or even ran for office)? School Board is a tough gig.

I'll ask you to keep a more civil tongue. I deleted one remark of yours because of that.

Anonymous said...

Yes I see you deleted the comment where I quested your comment that this is not a political blog. "this is not a political blog. " OK that's mostly true however there are 100s of times where you let your politics be known. You have also mentioned that you believe you and this blog helped elect persons of your choice.

I'm I wrong?

JS

Melissa Westbrook said...

JS, and so what?

Again, part of public education is the election of people who oversee it.

Because of the longevity of this blog, I do vet candidates for different offices and sometimes I endorse and support them.

So what?

Move on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for confirming that.

JS

Anonymous said...

"The dilemma is when a student seems capable yet can't achieve at grade level results. Those just looking for at grade level get irritated with those that claim that their child is being shortchanged because they should be 2-3 grade levels ahead of other students of the same age. It's like a person complaining to a person living in car that they should have a vacation home to go along with their first home. "

Uh, no, it's not. If a child's verbal IQ is at the 99.6th percentile yet they are barely managing to achieve at grade level (and are often only managing that due to extensive outside support from parents and/or tutors), it's often a sign that there's an SLD and/or other health impairment. Putting that child in a program designed to help get them to grade level provides zero benefit, and denies that student any service for their legitimate, IDEA-qualifying disability. How is that fair?

Someone "just looking for at grade level" is going to be someone for whom the disability is keeping the student from operating at grade level--and you need to get up TO grade level before you get ABOVE grade level. Someone looking for services that help their child operate above grade level will be doing so because their child clearly has the intellectual capacity to be doing so, but the disability is the barrier. Not all students, special ed or not, have the potential to be working 2-3 years above grade level. But some students who do, or would, qualify for special ed do have that potential. Those are generally the 2e students.

You seem to not understand equity. Equity is relative. For a student of average intellectual capacity with a disability, equity would mean special ed services that can help them achieve at the average (aka grade level) ability. For a student with an atypically high intellectual ability with a disability, equity would mean special ed services that can help them achieve at an above average level. It's complicated to provide, but not that complicated to understand logically.

The argument that a few are putting out there re: 2e students "not being able to handle" HC services so thus not being deserving of them is bizarre and cruel. By the same logic special ed students who are NOT HC should also be denied services if they can't handle GE work. That logic implies that no student should get any additional supports--they should simply be able to "handle" regular classes, and if they can't, too bad for them.

The comment that every HCC family would want Access services if they could get them is also absurd.

all types

Anonymous said...

To note, many parents of HC students with learning disabilities don't bother to request IEPs, so their students are not officially considered 2e...even thought they are. Since the district, like some of the sped parents here, think it's fine and dandy to deny sped services that also consider the student's HC status, parents opt out of sped altogether, because what's the point? Instead, they go the HCC route, obtaining 504 plans and seeking outside services to address the disability. It's easier to get some accommodations and find a way to provide the disability supports on the side than it is to overlay a sufficiently challenging curriculum on top of one that isn't.

I'm always puzzled that sped parents have such a beef with 2e parents, when really these groups should be allies. Do you not want students to get disability services in line with their disabilities and intellectual abilities? Is it a "if we aren't happy with our services you shouldn't be either"? Is it a misguided belief that a student working at grade level can't have a disability? I don't get it. To the best of my knowledge, parents of 2e students aren't asking for a bunch of costly services, so it's not like they're "stealing" funds from what you would consider "real" sped students.

Under a "whole child" approach, both "e's" of the 2e child would be considered simultaneously, since both are essential to that child's well-being. Why to some sped parents seemingly not care about the well-being of all students with disabilities? I truly don't understand. And if your issue is that you want more people advocating for better sped services, why abandon 2e students and their parents? Parents of 2e students have a different perspective to add, and can, in theory, work with you to help advocate for better sped services all around.

all types

Anonymous said...

@all types

Who are yo ranting at?

SPED parent

Melissa Westbrook said...

I hear no rant; no need to be hostile. You might save that for people who are charge.

Anonymous said...

@SPS parent who stated "How can a white man with a large salary living a upper middle class lifestyle be better for the district than a Native American who is a UW educator? ...... He clearly can't relate to most of the Northend families. We already have a white male engineer from the UW who also lives in Ballard in an expensive home....."

Wow you have a limited view of a person's worth as a human being, as well as diversity that seems limited to appearances and race exclusively. I really don't know where to start and I will not get into an argument with you about it because frankly you seem very closed minded. I would encourage you to remain open-minded and learn as much as you can about other people. Perhaps you could spend some time in multiple different communities outside your own. At the UW we used to do a classroom exercise with students in which various life experiences would place them a step (or several) ahead or a step back. It gave a snapshot that went beyond visible race & gender into a person's life experiences and advantages or disadvantages. Granted being visibly white and considered white has many large advantages and privileges in the US. However it is not the only one. By the end of the exercise there were often many "white looking people" sometimes behind others who were a different race.

HS Parent

Anonymous said...

"We already have a white male engineer....."

@SPS Parent If you made that same argument and inserted "Native American" instead of "white" would you view things differently? For example, we have Scott Pinkam who identifies as Native, as well as DeWolf who is part Native & Superintendent Juneau who is part Native on the board as well. However just because they all happen to share being Native American in common, does not mean their life experiences have been identical. Do they also view issues identically? I highly doubt it. DeWolf as well as Juneau identify as part of the LBGTQ community, Juneau is female etc etc. DeWolf is younger and also has worked extensively with homeless people. They are different people and I am certain they have all also had a diversity of life experiences.

Also, just because someone has obtained the status of UW professor, or UW engineer and lives in a certain neighborhood etc. does not assume you would understand their exposure to economic or educational diversity in their background. Perhaps someone is the first in their family to obtain a high school and/or college degree? Perhaps they grew up in poverty and broke a a cycle etc. You cannot assume someone's entire background and life experiences from the surface.

HS Parent


Anonymous said...

"I'm always puzzled that sped parents have such a beef with 2e parents" This is subjective and false statement.

I have no beef not do any of the parents I know with children receiving services.

There has never been a statement made in any SPED PTSA of SEAC meeting that 2e students are stealing funds. Where did you get that?

HCC and 2e are completely separate issues. There is no justification for a SPED parent to claim 2e students are taking monies from SPED.

SPED parent

Anonymous said...

One thing for sure is I don't need lectures by commenters here. I have stuck my neck out so many times trying to induce change for children receiving services and have had all sorts come out of the weeds to attack me. I have spent 10s of thousands, attended endless meetings, file complaints, won complains and received legal threats from SPS lawyers.

Others have done similar efforts over the last decade behind the scenes, but many have simply moved on with their life.

Now comes some group for some reason is starting a public organized effort to bind HCC to SPED. For gods sakes stop it!

SPED parent

Owler said...

Student journalists write an editorial after being barred from DeVos event:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/04/22/student-journalists-were-barred-betsy-devos-event-so-they-took-her-task-an-editorial/

Melissa Westbrook said...

SPED Parent, what group are you referencing? I'm baffled.

Anonymous said...

@ SPED Parent

That is a baffling comment. There is no such group nor any such effort. You have bad information or are confused about something.

Cho

Anonymous said...

I think there must be two SPED Parents. One gets what HCC and 2e are, one does not? Because otherwise someone is self-contradicting themselves.

Hmm

Anonymous said...

I think there are several HCC blogs where it would be better to take your partisan rhetoric to. They will have plenty of Gray Poupon there.

Watcher

Anonymous said...

@ SPED parent may be referring to the 2e parent group? This is a group of parents of students who are both HC-eligible and who have special needs and/or disabilities. As I recall, a district HC person even attends.

Nobody is trying to "bind HCC to SPED." But the fact is, some HCC students also have disabilities that would qualify them for SpEd if they were assessed. Similarly, some SpEd students might qualify for HCC if tested, or if their SpEd services and accommodations were effective. But since it's rare to get both services in SPS, families choose one or the other.

HCC and SpEd may be completely different services, but some of the KIDS involved have both HC and SpEd needs. There are HCC students and HC-identified students who end up in study skills classes--so effectively getting both services. The services may not be bound together, but the NEEDS in the KIDS often are. A 2e kid has both needs. A parent should be free to go to a 2e parent support group without someone freaking out that this is somehow trying to "suck of SPED funding."

Wasn't "ranting" and still am not,
all types

Civil Rights said...

Students with disabilities have the right to access accelerated programs. Here is a "dear colleague letter" from the U.S. Dept. of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) on the subject:
https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-20071226.html

And here is OCR information on how to file a discrimination complaint. "Discrimination against persons with disabilities is prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance). This includes discrimination against individuals currently without an impairment that substantially limits of a major life activity, but who have a record of or are regarded as having a disability."
https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/howto.html?src=rt

Anonymous said...

And people with disabilities can be and are enrolled in HCC, AP, and IB all over the district. Accelerate to your hearts content. They receive special education through Resource Room which is staffed with special ed teachers and instructional assistants based on enrollment. They also have full access to all related services providers the district has. BFD. If you don’t like it, sue me. And,

Good Luck

Anonymous said...

It is very unlikely for a single subject gifted student in, for example, language arts who has dyscalculia to get HC services since SPS has a "program" during elementary, and HC entry requires high achievement in both language arts and math. Entrance is denied to single subject gifted.

In most resource rooms, you would find a range of disabilities, with a range of LD being the most predominant.

Let's be clear: that is not what you find in HCC/HC resource rooms. Dysgraphia would be more like it in terms of LD.

Also, you may find plenty of IEP services in HCC like speech and OT/PT, but these are the most common disabilites to be exited from.

A range of LD would not be predominant disability, as it is in most schools. Let's not pretend by conflating under a global umbrella of disabilities.

While attempting to make a good point, Good Luck, you are not acknowledging that SPS is shortchanging single subject gifted (with a disability or not), and it seems especially egregious when a disability is involved.

TruthB Told