Saturday, October 23, 2021

Seattle Schools' Special Education on the Rocks

 October 22, 2021

The Seattle Education Association is the voice for educators and our students, standing united to address the needs of our community and to transform our district into an anti-racist school system where every student thrives.

Via an SPS parent,

Special Education Students Need Structure and Stability- Not Disruption

Last week, special education staff in about forty different schools were informed that special education positions would be cut due to lower-than-projected enrollment in special education programs. Many of these educators raised concerns about how the district determined these cuts and reached out to their supervisors and/or administrators to ask questions. Their supervisors and administrators did not respond or they directed educators to contact Dr. Torres. There appears to be significant confusion within SPS administration about what is going on with special education staffing.

This week, SEA hosted a Know Your Rights session for special education staffing impacted by the proposed staffing cuts. At the meeting we reviewed current contract language that pertains to special education staffing. We also met in small groups to discuss the district’s proposed staffing changes and the impacts those changes would have on programs. Many educators shared clear examples of how the district is not following the contract staffing ratios for overages and under-enrollment.

While we understand budget decisions need to be made, they must be made in accordance with our contract. Further, our students with IEPs have been disproportionately impacted these past 18 months, so any decision that will cause any disruptions to their services should not be done without educator and parent engagement. For that reason, SEA leadership sent an email to Dr. Pedroza and Dr. Torres to demand the district not proceed with any staffing changes until after the joint Special Education Task Force meets to provide input and until we mutually agree the staffing ratios are in alignment with our contract.

If you are an educator working in Special Education and you have not been receiving updates from Vice President Uti Hawkins regarding special education staffing changes, send us your personal contact information to sea@washingtonea.org.

Seeking Educators/Parents to Share their Stories about Special Education

We are seeking educators and/or educator-parents to share their stories about the full impacts of proposed changes to special education services within our school communities. Are you an educator who provides special education services? Are you a parent/guardian of a student with an IEP in SPS? If so, do you have a personal story you’d be willing to share with our school community about how you or your child have been impacted by all of the changes (inclusive of proposed changes to special education) this school year? Please email your story to sea@washingtonea.org.

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