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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Some Districts Exempt Students in Special Ed from Vaccination Law

“We are not holding anyone to vaccination requirements that would interfere with access to special education programs,” said Dr. Kimberly Uyeda of the Los Angeles Unified School District."

"“The broadest way the law can be interpreted is that special education students get access to everything, regardless of immunization status,” said Jennifer Nix, an attorney with School and College Legal Services of California. In terms of the risk of lawsuits from special education parents, “it is the safest route, but I don’t know if it’s the right route,” Nix said."

Read full story here

States With Religious and Philosophical Exemptions From School Immunization Requirements

immunization-exemption-state-laws 

nagalase

 

Chickenpox Vaccine Reactivates in Two Boys, Causing Rare Meningitis more Commonly Seen in Unvaccinated Kids

"Doctors described what they believe are the first known cases of meningitis due to reactivation of chickenpox vaccine in two 14-year-old boys who received both recommended doses, according to a paper published Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics.
Experts say the varicella vaccine -- licensed for use in the United States nearly a quarter century ago -- is exceedingly safe, though it is not recommended for people who are pregnant or immunocompromised."

MRC5  nagalase

The chickenpox vaccine is grown in cells originally derived from fetuses aborted in the early 1960s. Vaccines may contain nanofragments of DNA from the fetal cells, which are used because human viruses do not grow well in animal cells, according to a statement the vaccine’s manufacturer, Merck, gave to ABC News

Many people do not want to EAT genetically modified foods, but have no problem letting a doctor INJECT genetically modified organisms into their body or worst their child's body.

SCHOOL DISTRICT'S DOUBLE STANDARD


The Washington Education Association, which represents public school employees, said every single district in the state would need to be individually contacted to get an idea of the local policy involving teachers.

Seattle Public Schools, which is the largest school district in the state, said it encourages vaccinations, but there isn’t a push to track vaccination records of teachers and staff.

Things like that have been talked about, but we don't have a policy in place and…in the foreseeable future doesn't look like we're going to have one,” said Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Tim Robinson.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

A Landmark Lawsuit Aimed to Fix Special Ed for California's Black Students. It Didn’t.

"My dream is to be able to pick up a book and read it by myself."Darryl Lester, lead plaintiff in landmark special education lawsuit in California



"The letter delivered good news: Lester would be getting disability benefits after blowing out his back in a sheet metal accident. But he crumpled it up and threw it in the trash.
Why? Because he couldn’t read it. From first through seventh grades, Lester had attended three public schools in San Francisco. At each, he struggled with reading and didn’t get the help he needed for it."


"Whether Lester has dyslexia is unclear. What is clear is that instead of getting help with his reading, he got teased, into fights and suspended.
“I would get frustrated, agitated, upset, and then I’d get sent to the principal's office,” he said.


"Lester’s mom, Lucille Lester, didn’t learn that the school district had labeled her son “mentally retarded” until one of the black psychologists visited their home to evaluate Darryl and go through some tests.
“After he talked to Darryl, he turns to me and says, ‘Well, there is nothing wrong with this child,” she testified in court in 1977."





Read complete story here.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Squaring State Child Vaccine Policy With Individual Rights Under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act: Questions Raised in California

Parents should closely examine the new WA state vaccine requirements and how it may be possible for school districts to revoke your child's IEP over failure to meet the school district's vaccination  requirements.

"Districts may interpret the parent's refusal to vaccinate as a consent to exit an IEP and revoke services"

" The district must give advanced notice to parents informing them of the possibility that their actions will result in revocation of services .Parents must be afforded a reasonable amount of time for parents to fully consider the consequences before schools discontinue special education and related services.2"

Read the full discussion here

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Please Vote for Liza Rankin

 


Liza reached out to those of us advocating for special education and then spent the afternoon listening to the parents', teachers' and advocates' issues. Liza is the only candidate running who organized a meeting for special education and that's an important tell.

I honestly believe that Liza will work to improve the education experience for all students .

For over 14 years parents special education issues have fallen on deaf ears, Liza will listen and work to address your concerns.

Vote for Liza Rankin -Seattle School Board    http://elizasrankin.com/
Endorsement for Liza

Monday, September 30, 2019

Box of Shame Makes a Comeback in Seattle Public Schools






In the late spring of 2019 a Whitman Middle School student asked me to watch a video she had taken in her math class. The video showed a 3x3 square made of tape located on the classroom floor.

The square had written on it "Box of Shame".

The student was upset because the teacher was forcing students who the teacher thought were disengaged to sit on the floor in the Box of Shame for the remainder of class. The student described how the teacher would ridicule any student forced to sit in the box and said all the other students were embarrassed that they did not stop the teacher from abusing the students. Most of the students forced to sit in the Box of Shame have IEP's and are in the class to learn math not to be humiliated.

On June 6, 2019 I emailed the district and reported the abuse. The regional supervisor responded as asked if he could view the video.

I sent him a link to my cloud storage,

https://my.pcloud.com/publink/show?code=XZMNkN7Z9vA63VIfHw8pyry42YhMrymgobty.


As you will see in the emails that the School Board Director for District 1 did not bother to engage.
The abusive teacher used the tried and true "it was a joke" lie and the district very quickly circled the wagons to protect the teacher and principle who was made aware of the practice months earlier.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Who really chooses the Seattle Times Education lab stories?


Education Lab is a Seattle Times project that spotlights promising approaches to persistent challenges in public education. It is produced in partnership with the Solutions Journalism Network and is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Amazon and City University of Seattle.

The Times ran a story on Monday 9/9/2019 about teachers quitting a private religious school  over policy differences. The Times published the story in the Education lab section. This seems strange because it clearly states that the education lab is a project that spotlights public education. The school in the one sided hit piece article is a private religious school in Shoreline. I wanted to find out if the sponsors condoned the anti-christian comments that the Seattle Times moderators allowed to appear in the comment section. These comments contained threats against the school staff, threats against the students and threats against the companies that have donated to the school.

I first spoke to the Gates Foundation and was told that they did not write or suggest the religious school story. They confirmed they do submit stories and stories ideas that they want published in the Times in the Education Lab section.

Next, I spoke with City University which conformed that they did not sponsor the article nor did they want their name associated with the article and they only sponsor stories they submit.

Amazon has yet to return my phone call.

Given the tendencies of violence by various social justice groups it was reckless of the Times to publish this story. Any incident of violence against the school's property, students or staff will be the responsibility of the Seattle Times.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Seattle School Board Distrct 1 candidate's pages.




Christophersen - district 1 link

Thank you for your votes. We didn't make it to November but we are going to continue to fight for students and tax payers. Please check back for new post and great information. We will be making our recommendations for Novembers election sometime in September.


Kline - district 1 link


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Where's the Seattle Public Schools funding going?


                                          Seattle Public schools budget process.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Strange Case of USDE OCR and Seattle Public Schools.

The United State Dept of Education recently released a new statement:

 

“From day one, our approach has been clear and unwavering: vigorously enforce civil rights laws, treat students as individuals, and resolve cases both efficiently and effectively,” said Secretary DeVos. “The backlog of cases we inherited should have troubled everyone, as we know justice delayed is justice denied. While many have tried to distort the nature of our approach, the numbers don’t lie. Our approach has been more effective at supporting students and delivering meaningful results.”

 See full statement


How is this statement relevant to Seattle Public schools?


Friday, July 12, 2019

Seattle Public Schools - Special education funding conundrum

From reading this blog you should be able to infer that we are interested in education with an emphasis on Specific Leaning Disabilities (SLD), which includes dyslexia. We believe that if the district would use better methodologies and curriculum designed to mainstream dyslexic students then that effort would result in better outcomes for students along will significant cost savings.  Freeing those funds to use elsewhere.

We are pleased to see the following statement on the SPS website:

Special Areas of Attention

 

"Special Education: The state’s Special Education budget increase is a down payment on a much-needed long term solution. Next year, Seattle Public Schools will receive an additional 2 million dollars for special education. Annually, the district spends 70 million dollars of local levy funds to provide the services our students need. While we appreciate the increase for Special Education, we continue to have grave concerns about the State’s slow pace in fully funding Special Education as is required by law."

 source :  https://www.seattleschools.org/district/calendars/news/what_s_new/budget_update_for_2019-20

However, I have great concerns that SPS would not use all the funding for special education or would not use the additional funding properly.  More on that in a future post!

SPS provides little to no explanation on what they would do with more funding, they just continue to blame the poor academic outcomes of SPED students on lack of funding. It's not a funding issue that's for sure.

Here's the break down and remember these number do not include the general education funding that is allocated on top off the special educational funding. This is only the available SPED funding data.


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Where do your Seattle property taxes go?

The chart below was calculated using the King county tax calculator.

Most Seattle home owners don't look at their property tax breakdown, but you should especially when bureaucrats keep asking for more and more property taxes for education.

Funding education is important and that's reflective being 49% of your property tax bill. Seattle Public Schools yearly operating budget is approaching $1.5 Billion.

 It is also significant to know that when you vote on Building Excellence levies (BEX) that the district consistently uses those funds for other purposes. Our school buildings average age is 48 years. We fully expect for the Seattle Public Schools to use those BEX funds to rebuild schools, especially the buildings that are over 65 years of age.

Seattle property values are at historical highs and there has never been more taxable housing units....So why is the Seattle School District struggling with funding? Where are all the funds going?

Monday, July 8, 2019

The IDEA

The spirit of the IDEA (Individuals With Disabilities Educational Act) was to protect FAPE (Free And Appropriate Public Education). Or was it?


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

USDE OSE rates WA OSPI as "needs assistance" with IDEA

June 20, 2019

 

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICE OF SPECIAL EDUCATION

Honorable Chris Reykdal Superintendent Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Mail stop: 47200. Old Capitol Building P.O. Box 47200 Olympia, WA 98504


Thursday, June 27, 2019

Is it time for the Seattle public school district to be split ?

  • When a district closes ALL its schools due to snow in only one portion of the city does it make sense? 
  •  When school buses are continually late due to long routes, is that efficient? 
  •  When the districts priorities don't align with all communities, is that fair? 
  • When schools aren't equally funded, is that equity?
  • When a parents concerns get buried in a large bureaucracy, is that listening? 
  •  When it takes 4 out of 7 school board members to effect change, is that expedient?
  •  When one area has multiple new schools and another has 60 year old buildings that have poor heat, leaking roofs and peeling paint, is that equity? 
  •  When a fairly new building needs a $5.5 million roof repair, is that stewardship? 


Whether a parent has one or more students attending public schools you will experience a lot of frustration attempting to understand why the same type of issues seem to become circular problems that remain unsolved. At some point you might think the district is just too large to be effectively managed.

One of my frustrations is how the district seems to shuttle its problematic employees from a distant school to another school hoping the parents at the new school are in the dark about the past issues with their new principle, AP or teacher. Special education is particularity problematic perhaps because of a long and frustrating interaction for over a decade with the department.

So do you think the district is too large?
If it were to be split what would the new district look like.
What should happen to JSCEE ?     Should it be sold to pay off the debt?

I found an interesting site you should look at to see some of the issues with splitting districts.


Fracturing school districts

reorganizing-school-district-boundaries.pdf

New-report-blasts-colorado-for-allowing-tiny-districts-to-net-more-school-funding-by-breaking-away-from-larger-districts/


Friday, June 21, 2019

Congratulations Seattle Public Schools class of 2019

Take pride in your accomplishments - you did it!

Are you interested in finding out what's really going in the district ?

The district keeps a document called the PRR or Public Records Request log. It's an excel spreadsheet listing the FOIA request received by the district.

Here is a recent 2019-2020 copy : Seattle school district PRR log

If you would like to obtain your own PRR just email : publicrecords@seattleschools.org
and ask for a copy of the PRR log.   


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

How can Seattle schools move forward when the school board is stuck in the past?

As most school board observers know, the critical work of the board is performed in the work committees outside of the view of only the most die hard parents, those who can skip work to attend. Board decisions are usually made before the public board meetings are held. The public board meetings are not very useful but for the illusion that public testimony might cause change. Does that method really work?

I found a site that has a new approach for school boards that you might find interesting;

"New Roles for Board Members

Assuming such a role is taken on by the superintendent, what, then, becomes the role of the school board?
Traditionally, few boards ever have meetings without the superintendent physically present; they are much like children relying on a parent—or students relying on a teacher. Just as we see with kids in a classroom, when excellence is not demanded, when thoughtfulness is not valued, and when self-directed meaningful work is not required, then apathy and mediocrity result. Is it any wonder trustees have abdicated their responsibilities over the years? Or that they spend board meetings debating the merits of selling candy bars at fund raisers? They've come to believe that they can't do much, don't know much, and shouldn't do much—and act accordingly."

more

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The district has an operating budget of nearly $1.5 billion

Most voters have no idea of the yearly cost to run the Seattle school district and to be honest it's very difficult to find the real cost buried in budget reports when there are many non budgetary expenditures that the school board never sees because the cost falls under the required $249,000 amount that triggers needed board approval. In most school districts the threshold is $10,000 not a quarter of a MILLION dollars. 

WA state recently approved a two-year budget funding Washington’s 2,400 K-12 public schools $27.2 billion,  a increase of $4.4 billion. Most school districts are now receiving $16,000 per student. $16,000 per school year is above the average yearly tuition of most private schools in Seattle.

 Below is the recent email from SPS disclosing a staggering $1.5 BILLION budget,

"The Seattle School Board will be appointing a new Board Director on August 28 for District VII (see map here) representing schools and students in Southeast Seattle.
Seattle Public Schools is the largest district in the state, home to 53,000 diverse students that attend 102 schools. The district has an operating budget of nearly $1.5 billion. The seven-person Seattle Public Schools Board of Directors governs the district and plays a critical role in the education of our students and stewardship of public investment. Each director, while responsible for oversight of the entire district, also represent seven distinct “districts” across the city.
The District VII board seat has been vacated by Director Betty Patu, a two and half-term board director and community leader of Southeast Seattle.  Washington state law (RCW 28.A343.370) guides the transition process. When a board seat vacancy occurs outside the regular election cycle, the current board appoints a candidate to finish that term. In this case the appointed term will last for two years and reopen for public election during the 2021 campaign cycle.   
It is the intent of the School Board to engage in a transparent process, with community assistance to solicit candidates and gather feedback from families, students, partners, and staff.
More information about the appointee process, criteria, timeline and engagement opportunities can be found on the School Board webpage.
If you have questions about the School Board appointment process please email schoolboard@seattleschools.org.
School Board Office"

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Parents Prevail in D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ Decision Reversing Use of New USAO Matrix for Calculating Prevailing Attorney's Fees

On May 21, 2019, parents prevailed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in D.L., et al. v. District of Columbia, A Municipal Corp., et al., which reversed the district court’s decision to apply a new matrix from the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) instead of the historically used LSI Laffey matrix as urged by parents’ counsel for calculating prevailing attorney’s fees following a successful fifteen-year complex IDEA class action.  The district court’s use of the USAO’s new matrix reduced parents’ counsels’ fee award by over three million dollars. 
In reversing the use of the USAO’s matrix, the Court of Appeals found that the USAO’s matrix did not incorporate rates for the applicable type of practitioner—in this case, those who practice complex federal class action litigation.  Instead, the USAO’s matrix incorporated rates from all types of lawyers, such as real estate, family, and insurance lawyers, all of whom do not provide the same kind and quality of services as parents’ counsel provided in this complex class action litigation.   In addition, the Court of Appeals found that the USAO’s matrix compiled data from practitioners in a wide radius—covering three states and including rural counties.  Obviously, rates from lawyers in more rural areas outside the District of Columbia are not applicable in determining the reasonable hourly rate for experienced complex federal litigators within the District of Colombia, where this litigation took place.   

Accordingly, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held that the USAO’s new matrix did not accurately reflect that of similarly experienced attorneys practicing within the relevant population, and therefore, it reversed and remanded the issue back to the district court for appropriate fee calculation. 
This litigation began in 2005 The named plaintiffs in this lawsuit—former preschool-age children in the District with various disabilities—allege that defendants have systemically failed to provide, or failed to timely provide, special education and related services to them and other children, in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq., section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794(a), and District of Columbia law. Margaret Kohn, long time COPAA member has represented the plaintiffs along with Todd Gluckman, Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP. COPAA filed an amicus group with other amici including: CITIZEN, INC., HOWARD UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF LAW CIVIL RIGHTS CLINIC, NATIONAL HEALTH LAW PROGRAM, WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND URBAN AFFAIRS, COUNCIL OF PARENT ATTORNEYS AND ADVOCATES, INC., ANIMAL LEGAL DEFENSE FUND, THE JUDGE DAVID L. BAZELON CENTER FOR MENTAL HEALTH LAW, DEFENDERS OF WILDLIFE, LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, NATIONAL WOMENS LAW CENTER, AND AARP. Michael Kirkpatrick of Public Citizen wrote the brief for amici.
Read the decision in D.L., et al. v. District of Columbia, a Municipal Corporation, et al.


Sunday, March 3, 2019

Seattle school board Director Jill Geary opens up about IEP violations.

I have to say I just about fell out of my chair when watching the February 27th Seattle school board public meeting. First off, during the public testimony portion a parent Anne Sheeran gave powerful testimony outlining the ongoing discrimination against 2E students and the invisibility of Special Education student's, their realities and the effects the proposed Policy 2024 regarding online learning.

I expected little to no response from any of the board members since for the last 3 years they have said little about the subject but then towards the end at of the meeting Director Jill Geary made the following statement,


"It is really important to me that we as a district offer specially designed instruction as part of our special education.  And I fear that too much of what we offer is an accommodation and that accommodation is more time which puts students who are in special ed farther and farther and farther behind in any type of challenging curriculum and so it’s really important that if we are going to offer challenging curriculum we make sure that our special education teachers have the time to modify the curriculum to the point that it serves the students and I heard today that we are not doing that, so from my perspective I don’t want to make any legal conclusions but it seems to be a problem. So I would hope that we have someone who is working diligently on that. It’s not like the curriculum is a surprise, it’s not like the accommodations around getting to core concepts and reducing volume is something we would have to do for every single student individually necessarily that is something that should just be done and here’s the point that I think I’d like to make, before we buy that curriculum from somebody we should be asking the question about whether or not they offer it done. Because if we’re doing it for one student it has been done for thousands of students across this country. So why is that not part of what we are talking about when we buy into, these people get a lot of money for the test that we have our kids do. So please lets be more savvy in terms of negotiating on behave of our students. Perhaps we don’t have the resources, but they’re taking our money , they can use that money to do that".     


Jill Geary,  (2019, February 27). Seattle school board public meeting.

https://youtu.be/oif7By_Srsw?list=PL4qDca8XEC4NIaRJ27inlNvSeUaS33Aso