Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Congress Must Ensure a Reauthorized #ESEA Protects Children and Civil Rights.

  • Accountability for student outcomes, especially subgroup performance, is not strong enough in the bill. State accountability systems must be required to identify, intervene in, and support schools when all students or groups of students are behind or are not making academic progress.

  • Additional data about groups of students are needed to help us understand how all of our students are doing and what their needs might be.

  • The equitable distribution of critical educational resources is foundational to ensuring equal educational opportunity. The bill does not require action to address reported disparities.

  • The Secretary of Education’s role is overly limited in the bill, which will undermine the implementation, oversight and enforcement of the law.

    For more information:

The Lost Tools of Learning

"It is in the highest degree improbable that the reforms I propose will ever be carried into effect. Neither the parents, nor the training colleges, nor the examination boards, nor the boards of governors, nor the Ministry of Education would countenance them for a moment. For they amount to this: that if we are to produce a society of educated people, fitted to preserve their intellectual freedom amid the complex pressures of our modern society, we must turn back the wheel of progress some four or five hundred years, to the point at which education began to lose sight of its true object, towards the end of the Middle Ages."     Dorothy Sayer, Oxford, 1947


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

From Utah: What is Common Core?

 By Christel Lane Swasey



Common Core mandates that elementary students read no more than 50% classical/imaginative literature, making room for  more and more “informational texts” –and by twelfth grade, the percentage of allowable classic literature is further reduced– to only 30%.
Informational text has, prior to Common Core, been taught in history classes, journalism, science, or other disciplines.  Although Common Core’s creators, David Coleman and Susan Pimentel, have stated that the 70%-30% split has been misunderstood, and is to be across all disciplines (not just in English class) it seems that most English teachers didn’t get that memo.
Neither did the Utah State Office of Education, which says that under the new Core, schools will promote “more ‘informational’ text at every age and grade—text that gives information about the world rather than simply telling a story.”  That worries me.
Students are being pushed to write technically more than they are being inspired to write creatively.  Common Core-aligned assignments focus on increasing “informational” readings and writings, to the exclusion of the kinds of readings and writing assignments that inspire students love to read/write.
My bachelor’s degree is in English literature and my master’s degree in Communications focused on informational texts (ethnographic literary journalism) so I do value both classic and informational texts.  Still, the Common Core Initiative’s decreasing of classic/imaginative literature– or, if Pimentel and Coleman  are to be believed,  the Common Core’s redistribution of the responsibility of teaching English language arts across the subjects and classes  –either way, this is a dangerous transformation of American schools.
We become human by passing on our stories.  Souls are enlarged by their exposure to the characters, the imagery, the rich vocabulary, and the endless forms of the battle between good and evil, that happen in all classic literature. Classic stories create a love for books and reading that cannot be acquired in any other way.  Dickens, Shakespeare, Hugo, Orwell, Dickinson, Whitman, Dostoevsky, Rand, O’Connor, Dahl, Carroll, Marquez, Cisneros, Faulkner, Fitzgerald– where would we be without the gifts of these great writers and their writings? 
The sly and subtle change to education made by the Common Core Initiative, that cuts out so much to make room for informational texts, will have the same effect on our educational system and on our children as if Common Core had mandated the destruction of  a certain percentage of all classic literature.  How much does this differ from book burning in its ultimate effects?
While there are equally serious affonts by the Common Core to students in the diminishment of high quality math, my special passion is English and that’s why I mention it particularly here.

What is Common Core?

Quentin Skinner - Belief, Truth and Interpretation

This lecture pertains to intellectual historians but listening to it I understand it to be relevant to anyone reading literature, watching a film, or in conversation. It has become common to assume what an author has written, what a director has directed or what a person has spoken, reflects their personal beliefs. This lecture is the case against such assumptions. Our intention on this blog is to provide information and to listen and consider the citizen's voices on education.

The Times recommends: Michael Christophersen for Seattle School Board District 1

"Christophersen, a software engineer, would review the central district’s staff and spending to look for savings. He wants incentives for teachers who take on low-performing or special-education students to attract high-quality educators. His background managing information-technology systems could be useful for the district as it strives to effectively use technology." 

See full editorial recommendation here 


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Third Circuit Issues Important Opinion Reinstating Ability to Recover for Continuing Violation

COPAA joined in, and contributed to, the Amicus brief in the G.L et al., v. Ligonier Valley case in the Third Circuit last year. Jenny Rosen Valverde of the Education and Health Law Clinic at Rutgers University drafted and filed the brief on behalf of the Clinic, COPAA, Disability Rights New Jersey, the Education Law Center of New Jersey, Innisfree Foundation, the New Jersey Special Education Practitioners and Statewide Parent Advocacy Network.
In a Third Circuit precedential decision issued today the court adopted Amici's position (with a footnote thanking Amici for their assistance) and reinstated the ability to recover for a continuing violation in the Third Circuit, if you file within 2 years of the date the parents knew or should have known of the violation.  Amici reasoned that the issue before the court was one of statutory interpretation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), and arose in the context of a request for compensatory education by Appellee-G.L. and his parents.  Appellant-School District, in effect, asked the court to articulate the retrospective temporal scope of redressable injury under the IDEA.  Amici defined this term as the retrospective period of time that a child was deprived of a free and appropriate public education (“FAPE”) for which a court may grant compensatory education in the adjudication of an IDEA claim (hereinafter the “scope of redressable injury”). 
Some notable quotes from the opinion:
            Thus, the IDEA “needs common sense revision,” Morgan, 466 F.3d at 279, reflecting congressional intent that a due process complaint must be presented “within 2 years” of a parent’s reasonable discovery date, not that remedies be limited to injuries that        occurred “not more than 2 years before” that date.
            This is a profound responsibility, with the power to change the trajectory of a child’s life. Thus, the corollary to D.K. is that when a school district has failed in that responsibility and parents have taken appropriate and timely action under the IDEA, then that child is entitled to be made whole with nothing less than a “complete” remedy. Forest Grove, 557    U.S. at 244. Compensatory education is crucial to achieve that goal, and the courts, in the exercise of their broad discretion, may award it to whatever extent necessary to make up for the child’s lost progress and to restore the child to the educational path he or she would have traveled but for the deprivation. See D.F., 694 F.3d at 498-99. In this way,the courts too have an essential function in fulfilling Congress’s mandate in the IDEA and enabling each child with special needs to reach his or her full potential.
And finally:
            For these reasons, we hold today that, absent one of the two statutory exceptions found in § 1415(f)(3)(D), parents have two years from the date they knew or should have known of the violation to request a due process hearing through the filing of an administrative complaint and that, assuming parents timely file that complaint and liability is proven, Congress did not abrogate our longstanding precedent that “a disabled child is entitled to compensatory education for a period equal to the period of deprivation, but excluding the time reasonably required for the school district to rectify the problem.” D.F., 694 F.3d at 499 (quoting M.C., 81 F.3d at 397).
            G.L.’s claim was filed within two years of the date his parents knew or reasonably should have known of his injury, and thus his right to compensatory education upon proof of a violation was not curtailed by the IDEA’s statute of limitations. Accordingly, we will affirm the District Court’s decision that his claims for remedy prior to March 2010 were not time-barred and will remand to the District Court for proceedings consistent with this Opinion. 

Read opinion here.
Original Brief Gl v. Ligonier Valley SD, 3rc Cir, 2014

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tell U.S. Congress to Support Stronger Federal Education Funding for Students With Disabilities

The U.S. Congress has not passed a single funding bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 which begins October 1, 2015. The Congress has not acted, in part, because the discretionary caps established in 2011 under The Budget Control Act are extremely low and do not provide adequate funding for important health, education, research, and human services programs. Additionally, Republicans and Democrats do not agree on where to provide increases and where to stay the course. 

 Important programs impacting children with disabilities include health, education (e.g. Title of ESEA, IDEA) and other disability programs that help people stay or become independent and self-sufficient. If Congress does not act to raise these caps, these programs may face devastating cuts due to sequestration. After a closed-door meeting last Wednesday, House Republicans have concluded that they are not ready to make a decision about what to do come September 30th – the last day of the government’s fiscal year.

This week, they are conducting listening sessions with Members, and the House Freedom Caucus (which is comprised of 42 Members) has publicly stated that they will oppose any Continuing Resolution (CR) that includes funding for Planned Parenthood. Remember with a CR: 1) They are just stop-gap measures and sequestration requirements still apply due to the Budget Control Act. Negotiations will still need to be made down the road, depending how far they kick the can; 2) They don’t include policy riders, funding or program cuts or increases; therefore, no program really wins (except the programs that were on the budget chopping block, such as i3.) IDEA and Title I, for example, due to The Budget Control Act, will receive a required cut even under a CR. 

Due to timing, the House must pass something this week in order for a CR to pass through the Senate before the September 30 deadline. The clock is ticking and President Obama has said publicly that he will not support a long-term CR that locks in sequester levels. Please help us put pressure on our elected officials to do something about this!  

We want our leaders to raise the discretionary caps and prevent impending sequestration cuts.  Any deficit reduction plan should be more balanced and take into account revenues, not just spending cuts. 

TAKE ACTION: Call 202-224-3121 and ask for your Senators and Representatives to lift sequestration caps and pass funding bills that provide adequate funding for research, education, employment and training, and other programs that support people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. 

Help us encourage Congress to act quickly and responsibly.   Here are some talking points you can use:
  • In the last 5 years, critical services and supports have been cut significantly.  If Congress doesn’t act before October 1st, the full effects of sequestration will return, and America’s children and their families will pay the price. For example: Federal funding for Title I of ESEA—the major federal assistance program for high-poverty schools—is down 12% since 2010, after adjusting for inflation, and funding for education for students with disabilities is down 11%.
  • Sequestration resulted in approximately $579 million in federal funding cuts to IDEA special education services for children ages 3 to 21. 
  • After sequestration, Congress is only meeting 14% of the extra cost for educating those in special education, the lowest level since 2001. 
  • When PL 94-142 was passed in 1975, Congress committed to covering 40%.
  • Sequestration could de-fund preschool programs in 18 states, causing 60,000 children to lose access to preschool entirely.
These are just a few examples and it is likely you have your own local story to share regarding the impact of such cuts.  Thank you for supporting a stronger funding agenda for students with disabilities.

Aaron Swartz 1986-2013

District Leadership Team RE: Reorganization

To: District Leadership Team
From: Larry Nyland
Date: August 13, 2015
RE: Reorganization
Providing schools and families strong systems that support academic outcomes and meet student needs is central to our district mission. As superintendent, I am committed to make the necessary changes to support our students, schools, staff and families.
As I and previous superintendents have noted – Seattle has many silos. We also have many policies which require multiple handoffs between divisions. Due to the complexity of our silos we sometimes fail to make the handoffs between silos in a fluid and transparent way. My intent is to clarify division roles in a way that makes it easier for staff and the public to find support.
Earlier this year I asked for two reviews: one for the legal department and one for the other divisions. Between these two reviews, more than 50 central office employees were interviewed regarding: organizational structures and functions, strengths and challenges, and perceived administrative needs. Recommendations suggested that we continue to align functions and provide clear pathways for decision-making and provide needed support to the Instructional side of the organization.
To that end, as superintendent, I am organizing the administrative team to:
 Support the strategic plan
 Build further capacity in central office to support schools
 Provide greater possibilities for succession
 Reduce silos
 Increase coherence
 Minimize added cost
 Support and clarify key initiatives
 Work toward customer service improvements
 Systems clarification
 Simplifying collaboration
1. Make the shifts (re-org) for the 2015-16 year (now).
2. Evaluate results (Spring of 16).
3. Then, make necessary adjustments (June 2016)
Specifically, I will be making the following changes:
Increasing Teaching and Learning Support by elevating the existing Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning to an Associate Superintendent role and adding the new Chief of Schools position. This new Chief of Schools position will provide more coordination between schools, greater implementation of district goals, and increased support for parents and schools. The Chief of Schools also retains responsibility for leadership development. In addition, I will transfer to the Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning (from Operations) the Executive Director of Coordinated School Health and Positive Climate and consider added support for MTSS-B and Closing the Opportunity Gap. This will align those
functions with Teaching and Learning. Finally, the Director of Grants will transfer (from Business and Finance) – again to align categorical grants with the direction and focus of Teaching and Learning.
Consolidating Facilities and Operations by elevating the existing Assistant Superintendent of Facilities to Associate Superintendent of Facilities and Operations. The Assistant Superintendent for Operations (Logistics, Transportation, Food Service, Safety, Security, Crisis Team, Threat Analysis and Media Center) will become part of the Associate Superintendent team. This move combines the work of Facilities and Operations under one leadership team as is the case for most districts of our size. This will also allow for greater communications between enrollment services and enrollment planning.
Family and Community Engagement: is one of the three major goals of the district strategic plan. However, those functions remain scattered between Director of Equity, Director of Community Partnerships, Communications Office, the Ombudsperson and Customer Service. In order to strengthen our Family and Community Engagement efforts:
 The Ombuds role will evolve to include customer service
 The Chief Partnership Officer (renamed position) will be asked to further develop and coordinate the family and community engagement work
Creating a Student Civil Rights Compliance Office that will report to the Deputy Superintendent. This will allow us to better comply with the OCR, Title IX, Title II, and HIB requirements that we are currently working on. This entails the hiring of two positions (Student Civil Rights Compliance Officer and Accessibility Coordinator); reassigning the Title IX position and one investigator position from HR and Student HIB from Operations. This change is driven by the field trip settlement of $700,000, the recommendations of the Title IX task force, OCR/ADA settlement agreements and increases in student HIB complaints.
In other moves:
 Purchasing will move from Operations to Business and Finance where it will align with Finance functions
 Customer Service will move from Operations to the office of the Ombudsperson
 Audit Response manager will move to the Deputy Superintendent office where there will be district-wide oversight in concert with the strategic priorities of the district
 Continuous Improvement and K-12 School Operations will merge to better serve schools.
 The Executive Director for Strategic Planning and Partnerships will be retitled as Chief Partnership Officer and be asked to bring clarity and coherence to:
o Teacher partnerships, evaluation, support and development, including Career Ladder Coordinators
o Family and Community engagement as outlined above
 Legal department adjustments will await the final determination of the administrative leave for the General Counsel
Finally, I will appoint an Implementation Team to address any concerns or feedback you have as we implement these changes. On my behalf, they will work out details, collect feedback, make necessary adjustments, and help with transition plans of new roles.
Our schools are doing great work and we want to support that momentum. It is my hope that these changes will increase our ability to meet the needs of our 53,000 students, their families and our dedicated staff.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Document ID: ED-2012-OESE-0018-0160 RIN: 1810-AB16 Federal Register Number: 2015-20736 Agency: Department Of Education Document Type: Rule Posted: Aug 21, 2015


The Secretary amends the regulations governing title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) (the “Title I regulations”), to no longer authorize a State to define modified academic achievement standards and develop alternate assessments based on those modified academic achievement standards for eligible students with disabilities. In order to make conforming changes to ensure coordinated administration of programs under title I of the ESEA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Secretary is also amending the regulations for Part B of the IDEA. Note: Nothing in these regulations changes the ability of States to develop and administer alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities or alternate assessments based on grade-level academic achievement standards for other eligible students with disabilities in accordance with the ESEA and the IDEA, or changes the authority of IEP teams to select among these alternate assessments for eligible students.


These regulations are effective September 21, 2015. 

An Ethical & Psychology-Based Analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s Change in Common Core Testing Policies for Divergent Learning Children in Public Schools by Dr. Gary Thompson

"We encourage public school districts across the nation to disprove our well researched and disturbing hypothesis, that not one district website in the entire nation has notified parents of the experimental nature of Common Core high-stakes testing, nor has a single one of the government - funded test makers ever completed independent, peer reviewed validity studies on these assessment."

An Ethical & Psychology-Based Analysis of the U.S. Department of Education’s Change in Common Core Testing Policies for Divergent Learning Children in Public Schools
by Dr. Gary Thompson
10757 S. Riverfront Pkwy. #275 South Jordan, Utah 84095
Phone: 385-900-4020


A message from Executive Director of Special Education

September 10, 2015
Dear Parents and Guardians of a SPS student with special needs,                               

On behalf of the Special Education team at Seattle Public Schools, it is our pleasure to welcome your family to the 2015-16 school year.  We are looking forward to a productive and rewarding year for your students.

I want to share with you, an update on the work that we have done over the past year and let you know about the direction that we are going this school year.

Over the past year, combined efforts have led to significant achievements, including, among others:
  • Proactive recruitment (from across the nation) of highly qualified special education staff. By the start of school we will have filled 96% of the FTE (full time equivalent) special education certificated staff positions. We have 19 full time FTE cert positions to fill and hope to fill ten more by the start of school. Last year there were 42 FTE SPED certificated positions open at the start of school.
  • The successful completion of all 40 activities listed in the Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan with the Washington State Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction (OSPI).
  • The publication of a Special Education Family Newsletter and an internal special education procedural guide. We will continue to work with the Special Education Advisory and Advocacy Council (SEAAC) to complete a parent companion to the special education procedural guide.
  • The creation of a three-year special education professional development plan for the District in collaboration with the University of Washington. As part of that plan, this summer, we held the first annual Special Education Professional Development Summits for principals and instructional staff.
  • The hiring of two new supervisor positions to help transform Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Transition Services in Seattle Public Schools.

As we reflect on the past year and prepare for the year ahead, our focus is shifting from the creation of new structures and tools to their thoughtful implementation within schools. In a new agreement with OSPI, we will build off of the work completed in the Comprehensive Corrective Action Plan. In this next phase, the special education central office and schools will collectively improve services for students with special needs.
Beginning this fall, we will support our school sites through a process of ensuring that services are delivered in accordance with district, state, and federal expectations. OSPI will work with us through a verification process which includes on-site activities to assess regional service delivery standards, including file reviews, staff reviews, classroom observations, and parent focus groups. School visits to verify that special education services are meeting standards will occur one region at a time over the course of the coming year.   
We will continue the Special Education Family Newsletter and Special Education Regional Meetings this year, some of which will coincide with the Seattle Special Education PTSA.  We look forward to seeing you at the Regional Meetings! We are incorporating more community members into SEAAC and plan to work with the Council on a District mediation process as well as develop communication for families in clarifying the continuum of services and placement for children with special needs in Seattle Public Schools.  
The progress we have made in the past year gives us great confidence in our ability to further ensure quality special education services. We are looking forward to working with you toward positive outcomes for you and your children/students.

Wyeth Jessee
Executive Director of Special Education      
Seattle Public Schools

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Emergence of the ‘market-oriented Teacher’


On the Consequences of the Marketisation of Public Education in Sweden: For-Profit Charter Schools and the Emergence of the ‘market-oriented Teacher’

European Educational Research Journal 06/2009; 8(2). DOI: 10.2304/eerj.2009.8.2.299
ABSTRACT The entrance of for-profit charter schools into the public educational system is one of the most recent manifestations of market-based reforms in public education. Previous studies raise concerns over the marketisation of education and suggest that market reforms clearly change teacher attitudes and behaviour. Taking a public administration theoretical approach, this article discusses how for-profit schools influence the behaviour of teachers. This article develops an index (the Market Orientation Index) for measuring market orientation among teachers. Analyses of differences in scores on the Market Orientation Index among a sample of Swedish teachers working in public schools and for-profit charter schools also shows that charter school teachers are more market oriented. The result indicates that for-profit school ownership led to the emergence of the ‘market-oriented teacher’.

On the Consequences of the Marketisation of Public Education in Sweden: For-Profit Charter Schools and the Emergence of the ‘market-oriented Teacher’. Available from: [accessed Sep 12, 2015].


NASUWT Teachers' Union Briefing on Free (Charter) Schools in UK

The Teachers' Union
The largest Teachers Union in the UK

Charter Schools and Swedish Free Schools

"NASUWT believes that schools should be working collaboratively within their communities rather than operating in a pseudo-marketplace."

NASUWT Briefing

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Estimates of the number of youth with disabilities in prison run as high as 70-100% (Leone, Zaremba, Chapin, & Iseli, 1995; Russell & Stewart, 2001

Disability Studies Quarterly
Summer 2005, Volume 25, No. 3
Copyright 2005 by the Society
for Disability Studies

"There Is No Treatment Here:"
Disability and Health Needs In A State Prison System
Phil Smith, Ed.D.
Eastern Michigan University
Special Education
110 Porter
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197 

Prisoners With Learning Disabilities: "I Am Illertereate"
Nationally, 70% of federal and state prisoners fell in the lowest two of five literacy skill levels, putting them substantially lower than the literacy skill level of the general population (Haigler, Harlow, O'Connor, & Campbell, 1994). According to this national report,
These prisoners are apt to experience difficulty in performing tasks that require them to integrate or synthesize information from complex or lengthy texts or to perform quantitative tasks that involve two or more sequential operations and that require the individual to set up the problem (Haigler, Harlow, O'Connor, & Campbell, 1994, p.xviii).
....According to the Vermont Department of Corrections (2000), 95% of youth under the age of 22, incarcerated in adult facilities, lacked high school diplomas. Of these, about half (48% of the total) had some kind of special education history in school. And incarcerated youth rank in the bottom 20% when tested in basic skills, including reading, written language, and math. In spite of these statistics, the number of student hours in organized instruction programs through the Vermont Department of Corrections actually dropped between 1995 and 1999. Nationally, 75% of inmates in state facilities had not completed high school (Harlow, 2003).
In the study reported here, inmates throughout the Vermont correctional system said they had learning disabilities, describing them in a variety of ways:
- I was in speshal education since I was 6 years old and even was placed in a speshal JR hie scool
-My IQ is not very high.
-I have dyslexia... I was doing really good with those problems in writing and speeking.
-girstmen's syndrom or discraphia.
-I was diagnosed with a learning disability when I was tested at age 11.
-dislexia/mind thinks backwards.
-Yes I am dislexic wich stops me from learning normal. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Relating to dyslexia; declaring an emergency.

2015 session

Senate Bill 612 RSS feed for this bill

Directs Department of Education to designate dyslexia specialist and develop list of training opportunities related to dyslexia.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Oregon’s first dyslexia bills have passed!


Listen with webreader

We are excited to announce…

Oregon’s first dyslexia bills have passed!

The goals of these bill are:
SB 612
Requires school districts to ensure that at least one teacher in every K-5 public school receives training related to dyslexia. Training must comply with the knowledge and practice standards of an international organization on dyslexia; (b) Enable the teacher to understand and recognize dyslexia; and (c) Enable the teacher to implement instruction that is systematic, explicit and evidence-based to meet the educational needs of students with dyslexia. School districts have approximately three years to train a teacher. Allows school districts to receive funding for training through Network of Quality Teaching and Learning. A school district that does not comply with the requirements of this section and that does not secure a waiver from the department within the time required by the State Board of Education by rule is considered nonstandard under ORS 327.103. The board shall adopt by rule the criteria for a waiver from the requirements of this section to address instances when noncompliance is outside the control of the school district. We will keep you updated on the progress of rulemaking for this section.
Directs Oregon Department of Education to develop plan to ensure that every student who is first enrolled at a public school in this state for kindergarten or first grade receives a screening for risk factors of dyslexia and guidance for parental notification. The plan must be developed collaboratively with experts on dyslexia, including representatives of nonprofit entities with expertise in issues related to dyslexia and the ODE dyslexia specialist.  The department shall submit a report on the plan and any proposed legislation, to the interim legislative committees on education no later than September 15, 2016. The plan must look at cost effective ways to screening for (a) Phonological awareness;  (b) Rapid naming skills; (c) The correspondence between sounds and letters; and (d) Family history of difficulty in learning to read.
Directs Oregon Department of Education to designate dyslexia specialist to support school districts and develop a list of training opportunities related to dyslexia. Training opportunities must be developed in collaboration with the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC) to ensure that the training opportunities also satisfy professional development requirements; and (b) Include at least one opportunity that is provided entirely online. Training opportunities related to dyslexia must: (a) Comply with the knowledge and practice standards of an international organization on dyslexia; (b) Enable the teacher to understand and recognize dyslexia; and (c) Enable the teacher to implement instruction that is systematic, explicit and evidence-based to meet the educational needs of students with dyslexia.
HB 2412
Educator preparation programs for early childhood, elementary, special education, and reading must provide instruction on dyslexia and the instruction must be consistent with an international dyslexia association knowledge and practice standards.
RULE CHANGE NOTICE FROM TSPC: “On June 23, 2015, the Teacher Standards and Practices Commission voted to refer the following proposed rule changes for public comment.  The proposed rules will be open for public comment from July 10, 2015 to October 1, 2015.  Public comment on the proposed rulemaking will be accepted until 5.30 p.m. on October 1, 2015. Comments on the proposed rules should be emailed to during the public comment period.”
Click here for list of all rules. Specific language relating to dyslexia are found in the sections below.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

School in the Cloud, is this the gestalt moment for public education?

"My wish is to help design the future of learning by supporting children all over the world to tap into their innate sense of wonder and work together. Help me build the School in the Cloud, a learning lab in India, where children can embark on intellectual adventures by engaging and connecting with information and mentoring online. I also invite you, wherever you are, to create your own miniature child-driven learning environments and share your discoveries." - Sugata Mitra

The plan

Recruit partners in the areas of technology, architecture, education and strategy to help design and build Schools in the Cloud of varying bandwidth and resources. Create the Granny Cloud, a global network of educators and retired teachers who can support and engage the children through an online School in the Cloud learning platform. Engage communities, parents, schools and afterschool programs worldwide to transform the way kids learn, by sharing the Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE) toolkit with them, along with how-to videos and educational resources.

Research in education in 1968 on dropout rates and need for differentiated education

Consider the following paper:

Research in education in 1968 on dropout rates and need for differentiated education

AUTHOR Flanagan, John C.

TITLE Individualizing Education.

INSTITUTION American inst. for Research in Behavioral Sciences,

Pg 6
Before proceeding to a discussion of the problems and research opportunities confronting educational psychologists it is important to make a distinction between the title of this paper, "individualizing education," and the more commonly used term "individualizing instruction." The distinction made here is that a program of instruction is one which imparts knowledge and skills with respect to specific well-defined goals. A program of education includes, in addition to instruction, assisting the student to become acquainted with the many opportunities, roles and activities which life offers and assisting the student to gradually develop convictions as to the relation of his own unique talents, interests, and values to these possible roles. In simpler terms, individualized education includes guidance and individual planning. Individualized instruction does not include such a formulation of individual planning.

Friday, September 4, 2015

2019 Seattle school board candidate for director district 1 - Michael Christophersen

2015 race - Seattle times-recommends-michael-christophersen-for-seattle-school-board-district-1

Why are you running?

We need drastic changes to insure the district can hire and retain the best teachers plus maintain our schools without taxing people out of their homes or taking on massive debt. Cutting teachers and librarians or forgoing building maintenance is not the answer to a financial crisis. Once in office, I would conduct a review of all possible cost savings including elimination of central administrative positions and unnecessary expenditures. I would like to see an expansion of the Running Start program and more online learning options, especially for credit recovery.

What is your biggest priorities?

Making sure our schools are properly funded without taxing people out of their homes and that the majority of funds reach the individual schools.

Empowering neighborhood schools 

Our schools are central in creating thriving neighborhoods so fully funding each school plus empowering neighborhood schools to serve their distinct resident's needs is critical and an important endeavor to work towards. Cookie cutter approaches tend to leave students, parents and residents feeling removed from decision making and just don't work well in solving problems across a district with diverse populations. I support a new funding model that focuses on schools being funded over a district being funded. I support empowering schools the flexibility to provide the best education possible to each student. 

Improving Outcome For Students With Learning Disabilities

With nearly 5,000 Seattle Public schools students having been identified as having some form of learning disability and an estimated 5,000 more students still unidentified, it is critical that we implement scientific approaches in our classrooms to address these challenges.

Lowering Central Administrative Cost

Once in office, I would conduct a review of all 800 + central administrative positions then work with the board and the superintendent to redirect  unnecessary administrative expenditures to our classrooms.

Changing Board Policy 6220

Per Board Policy 6220, Procurement, all contracts for more than $250,000 initial value, excluding sales tax and contingencies, and changes or amendments of more than $250,000, excluding sales tax and contingencies, must be approved by the School Board. 

I would push to lower the dollar amount to $25,000 for non-budgeted expenditures.

My partner and I both attended Seattle public schools and we have 2 children who have graduated from SPS , one in 2017 and the other in 2019. Our third child is entering high school this fall.

I'm ready to do what is needed to provide an equitable, meaningful, and fundamentally sound education for all students and I need your vote to do it and your support over the next 4 years.

Please vote for me.


Michael Christophersen

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Special Education Students Swell Civil Rights Docket

A recent surge in complaints to the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights involving students with disabilities and other alleged discrimination likely stems from ramped-up outreach efforts and broader awareness of the agency's willingness to address such complaints, according to advocacy organizations, school administrators, and department officials.
Advocacy groups for students with disabilities welcome the increased vigilance outlined in an April OCR report, which found that nearly half of all complaints to the civil rights office continue to involve students with disabilities, with sex- and race-discrimination complaints making up a lesser part of the caseload.
But some organizations representing school districts and administrators, while maintaining they are committed to equity in education, complain in some cases that the federal government is overreaching its authority, underfunding services, and failing to consult with education leaders on the best way to resolve concerns.
Assistant Secretary of Education Catherine E. Lhamon said the record 10,000 complaints in all categories of discrimination filed in each of the fiscal years 2013 and 2014 send a clear message that her office is aggressively enforcing civil rights laws designed to end discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age in all programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance.

Ensuring a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

Students with disabilities have the same right to K-12 public education that students without disabilities have. In order to receive and benefit from that education, students with disabilities may need special education and/or related aids and services. OCR works to ensure that public elementary and secondary schools, including charter schools, provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all qualified students with disabilities (generally, students with disabilities who are of school age), regardless of the nature or severity of their disabilities. Section 504 and Title II require public schools to provide appropriate education and aids and related services free of charge to students with disabilities and their parents or guardians. The “appropriate” component means that this education must be designed to meet the individual educational needs of the student as determined through appropriate evaluation and placement procedures. However, students with disabilities must be educated with students without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate.
Additionally, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law that provides federal funds for special education, also has FAPE requirements. IDEA is administered by the Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). To the extent that disability harassment adversely affects an elementary or secondary student’s education, it may also constitute a denial of FAPE under the IDEA, as well as a violation of Section 504 and Title II.18


In FY 13–14, OCR resolved 3,725 cases involving allegations that FAPE was denied.

The Business Plan to Liquidate Public Education?

November 30, 2014

“Reformers,” as we all know, want to raise standards and improve education. Or so they say. To reach their goals, they say our schools are failing, our economy and national security are at risk, and our educators are rotten apples. their propaganda war against public education is relentless and has the financial support of the U. S. Department of Education, the Gates Foundation, the far-right Walton Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the Dell Foundation, the Arnold Foundation, the Helmsley Foundation, the Fisher Foundation, and many more.
“Reformers” close community public schools, fire teachers and principals, insist on tests that most students fail, and create constant disruption. Eventually the public realizes that they must choose a charter school or voucher school because there is no neighborhood school or its best students have been lured away by charters.
What’s going on?
Brett Dickerson explains that there is a carefully orchestrated plan to liquidate public education.
He writes:
“Plans are under way for investment corporations to execute the biggest conversion – some call it theft – of public schools property in U.S. history.
“That is not hyperbole. Investment bankers themselves estimate that their taking over public schools is going to result in hundreds of billions of dollars in profit, if they can pull it off….
“There are very clear plans being made for just such a thing.
“The plan has been and still is to execute the complete conversion or liquidation of public schools property built up at taxpayer expense for generations.
“It involves raiding pensions that have been hard-won from years of legislative work by teachers and their unions. I reported on ideas being floated in Oklahoma along these lines in this piece that I did for Red Dirt Report earlier this year.
“It will all be done through the control of legislatures that have been mostly compliant with lobbying efforts due to the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that allowed huge corporate money, mostly unidentified, to flow into elections. The Andre Agassi Foundation is just one of many who have worked this angle for their own return on investment….
“Offer to buy out a profitable company that has little or no debt.
“Silence the work force by tricking them into thinking life will be better with the new owners.
“Once the purchase is complete, fire the workforce.
“Liquidate the pension fund.
“Liquidate the company for the cash value of its paid-for property.
“Leave the host community in financial ruins.”