Top on the agenda in Maryland and in Baltimore is moving ahead with the privatization of public schools and that takes place in Baltimore in the form of the school rebuilding plan of Alonzo. I have gone on and on about the attachment of public schools to the Wall Street financing scheme but today I want to address the infrastructure that Alonzo with the help of Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Governor O'Malley is set to create.
I spoke today with a woman passionate about education for children with disabilities. I love to see parents fighting for good things for children. What I heard at the same time was an example of how words are being used to skew meaning in this Race To The Bottom education reform. We talked about the term 'mainstreaming children' which was one of the main tenets that came from Brown vs Board of Education. THESE PEOPLE PUSHING THE BILL GATES/ARNE DUNCAN EDUCATION REFORM ARE TRYING TO ELIMINATE BROWN VS THE BOARD OF EDUCATION! It is happening in Maryland as hard as they can move it and confusing Mainstreaming is a start to that goal.
Mainstreaming children in schools was always about having public schools in neighborhoods that could meet the needs of all families...poor, disabled, and advanced students all in the same neighborhood school. This was meant to end the marginalization created by warehousing each sector in schools that always were tiered in funding and quality of service. Schools just for the disadvantaged were atrocious as they simply offered very basic job training that tracked these children for a life of poverty employment at best. We wanted schools that had the capacity to offer these same children with disabilities the opportunity to attend mainstream classes but have special education classes that met all these student needs. THIS MEANS MORE TEACHERS IN SCHOOLS AND MORE ADULTS IN CLASSROOMS. THE INVESTMENT WAS IN TEACHERS AS RESOURCES AND THE TOOLS THEY NEEDED TO SUCCEED. What we saw was a slow defunding of these special needs classes within schools and an influx of underserved students tracked into these classes and out of the mainstream classes.
THE ATTEMPT AT MAINSTREAMING ALL CHILDREN WAS NEVER FULLY IMPLEMENTED AND NOW THEY ARE CALLING IT A FAILURE AND RETURNING TO THE WAREHOUSING OF DECADES AGO.
Remember being a mom in the 1960s and 70s shouting to fund schools not wars.....make the military have bake sales!!! That was the recognition that we never received the funding we needed to make our community schools work for all families. WE CAN STILL DO IT WE SIMPLY NEED EACH SCHOOL FUNDED EQUALLY AND STAFFED WITH PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS. I keep hearing 'that isn't going to happen'.....why would we accept that tenet?
In Baltimore, Alonzo is here to do just the opposite. We are seeing with this new rebuilding scheme an infrastructure that will rebuild existing public schools and reopen them as one of these charters that specialize in one product or the other. Product meaning job training, disability, or advanced placement and the funding of each will be totally decided upon by the private non-profits in place to fund as they choose. ALONZO IS BREAKING UP THE CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION THAT ASSURES EQUAL ACCESS AND OPPORTUNITY AND CREATING THE SYSTEM THAT WILL CONNECT SCHOOLS TO BUSINESSES AND CHANNEL CHILDREN INTO SPECIFIC TRACKS. For those families thinking that will happen only to lower-class children.....they are coming for middle-class schools too! Think about who can afford health care and insurance.....will you be able to afford to send your child to a special private school for disabilities if you don't like what you see as public schools for the same purpose? NOT MANY FAMILIES WILL BE ABLE TO AVOID A BAD DEAL FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
Maryland is busy creating this tiered system of education with private non-profits that build the charters that have the vocational track, private schools that have quality teaching for disabled students, and Advanced Placement schools just for those testing into them. This school rebuild will expand this tiered system throughout the city. The closing of so many schools will necessitate tens of thousands of families move and what will be their access when they do? THAT'S RIGHT.....THEY WILL FALL INTO THESE WAREHOUSED, UNDERFUNDED SCHOOLS!!!
THE FIRST WAY YOU SELL PEOPLE ON THE LOSS OF DEMOCRATIC EDUCATION IS TO MAKE THEM BELIEVE THEY ARE GETTING SOMETHING BETTER. FOR SOME THEY WILL, IF YOU CAN AFFORD TO GO THERE. IN BALTIMORE THE GROUND FOR WAREHOUSING THE DISABLED IS SET BY MAKING PARENTS BELIEVE THESE SCHOOLS WILL REMAIN QUALITY AND FOCUSED ON THE STUDENT'S BEST INTEREST. WE KNOW FROM THE PAST THAT THE GREAT MAJORITY OF DISABLED STUDENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES COULD NOT AFFORD PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND FELL INTO A TRULY DISMAL SYSTEM OF WAREHOUSED PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOR DISABLED. THAT IS WHAT THIS ORGANIZATION IS CREATING.....THE BEGINNING OF THIS WAREHOUSING.
THEY MAKE IT SOUND GOOD DON'T THEY.....
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!
Who We Are The Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF) is a not-for-profit organization of nonpublic special education facilities approved by the Maryland State Department of Education.
These facilities, throughout Maryland, promote quality services for children and youth with disabilities. They serve more than 4,500 students between 3 - 21 years of age. What We Do MANSEF unites a diverse community of educators, professionals and parents into an accessible, visible and effective organization that champions the continuum of services for special needs children and adolescents. MANSEF works in partnership with, and reaches out to, private/nonpublic special education facilities, families, parent groups, state and local education and government officials and related service professionals. Who We Serve MANSEF schools provide services for children and youth between 3 - 21 years of age who have at least one of the following disabilities:
Who We Believe MANSEF is committed to creating optimum educational opportunities in the least restrictive environment for all Maryland children and youth with disabilities.
Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities
P.O. Box 6815 • Baltimore, Maryland 21285-6815
410-938-4413 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Below you see how other major Third Way democratic cities are slowly eliminating access for the disabled just as they are now in Baltimore. Whereas private schools for the disabled are growing in numbers because they know public schools are phasing mainstream access for the disabled students, the public charters that are being created to warehouse these children are already showing the lack of intent in quality schooling.
THEY KEEP TELLING US THIS EDUCATION REFORM IS ABOUT MAKING THINGS BETTER.....WHAT THIS REFORM IS ABOUT IS MAKING THINGS CHEAPER AND THE DISABLED AND THE UNDERSERVED FAMILIES WILL LOSE OUT......ENDING BROWN VS THE BOARD OF EDUCATION!!!
Health & Disability Advocates Challenges the Chicago Public Schools for Failures to Provide Early Childhood Special Education Services
January 08, 2013 6:21 PM
National Health, Education and Employment Nonprofit Files State Class Complaint for Violations of Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) January 08, 2013
Health & Disability Advocates, a national health, education and employment nonprofit based in Chicago, filed a formal class complaint alleging that the nation's third largest public school district, the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), fails to properly transition children turning three years old from Early Intervention (EI) services to early childhood special education. The complaint was filed with the Illinois State Board of Education after 2½ years of work to improve the system stalled.
For over 20 years, Health & Disability Advocates (HDA) has conducted program, training and advocacy work on behalf of people with disabilities and special health needs. Successful litigation includes landmark class actions such as Memisovski v. Maram, No. 92 C 1982*, which established better access to health care for more than 500,000 low-income children in Illinois. Yesterday's challenge aims to improve systemic barriers to access to education for very young children with disabilities.
The first five years of life are a critical for brain development. During this time, Early Intervention (EI) is vital to improving social, cognitive, communicative, physical, and adaptive abilities of children with developmental delays. Interruption of services can result in lost gains. “Early Intervention improves kindergarten readiness as well as long term health and human potential of children with disabilities. Families who successfully obtain EI for their deserving child can be irreparably harmed when services suddenly stop on a child's third birthday,” says Amy Zimmerman, an attorney and director of HDA's Chicago Medical Legal Partnership for Children.
Zimmerman and other stakeholders worked collaboratively with CPS to improve accountability and coordination of specialized services for young children with special needs. Guided by the Mayor's Early Childhood Task force, they sought to create a system in which children with disabilities could avoid gaps in services when they turn three. The group worked with CPS' Office of Special Education and Supports to develop a plan of action to remedy the violations and made key recommendations to CPS Early Childhood Evaluation Advisory Group. CPS recognized the problem and made tangible headway to solve it, including securing an additional $4.5 million to fund ten dedicated early childhood evaluation teams. But since summer, progress stalled.
In writing about the complaint, the New York Times notes thousands of children are in the same boat. The named class members represent the interests of approximately 2200 eligible children residing in Chicago and their families who age out of EI services at age three each year. The filing alleges myriad ways CPS fails to take the steps necessary to work with families to support timely transition of toddlers with disabilities to preschool or other specialized services. Alleged examples include: CPS maintains bureaucratic loopholes, repeatedly fails to conduct timely special education evaluations and service provision, and has yet to implement planned improvements to systemic barriers. This situation denies countless students their legal right to a free and appropriate public education, despite a desperate need for specialized instruction and related services that could help them to advance academically and get on the path to wellness and economic security in later life.
“As a former teacher, I've seen firsthand the value of early learning and early interventions,” notes staff member Dan Hausman, now a first year attorney and University of Virginia Powell Fellow placed at Health & Disability Advocates to work on issues faced by children seeking early childhood special education and services. “Plus, if we don't solve these problems early, we'll see them again down the road, when they're more intractable and harder to solve.”
Zimmerman's program at HDA, the Chicago Medical Legal Partnership for Children, works with some of the most medically complex children and their families in the city. One of the first medical-legal partnerships in the country, the model program has a successful track record for using law to improve children's health and education outcomes. Zimmerman, who has spent her legal career focusing on issues that impact children, rues the necessity of filing the complaint. “Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of parents, advocates and staff at Child and Family Connections offices in Chicago, CPS has failed to put a workable system in place,” she notes, “Sadly, these children, who are some of the most at risk children, fall even further behind.”
Health & Disability Advocates is a national organization, based in Chicago, Illinois, that promotes income security, work and educational opportunities, and improves healthcare access and services for vulnerable populations, including children, people with disabilities and low-income, older adults. Its team of legal and policy experts provides a range of services including individual legal representation and custom trainings and technical assistance to consumers, businesses, service providers and state agencies.
- U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division
Read more: http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/13/01/p3226090/health-disability-advocates-challenges-the-chicago-public-schools-for-f#ixzz2HV4PVyR7
Charter Schools Fall Short On Students With Disabilities
Posted: 06/19/2012 10:14 pm Updated: 06/20/2012 7:46 am
Advocates, lobbyists and celebrities including Bill Cosby are rubbing shoulders in Minneapolis this week to celebrate 20 years of the charter school movement. But a report released late Tuesday confirms a flaw that charter critics have raised over the last two decades: charter schools don't enroll students with disabilities at the same rate as traditional public schools, despite federal laws that require all publicly funded schools to serve disabled students.
The Government Accountability Office report, commissioned by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), found that 11 percent of students enrolled in public schools during the 2009-2010 school year had disabilities, compared with 8 percent of students in charter schools. The report is the first to quantify this gap.
"We have known for several years that students for disabilities were underrepresented in charter schools," Jim Shelton, the U.S. Education Department assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement, told The Huffington Post. "The report puts a fine point on issues we were concerned about," said Shelton, the U.S. point person on charter schools. In a letter attached to the GAO report, Shelton wrote that the Education Department is working on new guidance to help charter schools meet federal standards for enrolling special-needs students. Shelton also noted that his agency's Office for Civil Rights is conducting four compliance reviews into charter schools that appear to have underserved students with disabilities.
While 34 percent of traditional public schools had populations with high concentrations of students with disabilities, only 23 percent of charter schools had similar compositions, the report said. To help explain the data, GAO investigators visited 13 charter schools and concluded "some charter schools may be discouraging students with disabilities from enrolling."
Charter schools originated in Minneapolis to increase flexibility in rigid public schools -- and to give students stuck in failing public schools an alternative that isn't determined by where they live. Charter schools receive public funding, but can be privately run by non-profit organizations and for-profit businesses. Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools can choose how to hire, fire, and pay their teachers, escaping union rules and school district regulations. They can also have more specialized curricula, extended hours and a longer school year.
More than 5 percent of America's school children now attend charter schools. All but nine states have laws allowing charter schools.
Charter school critics assert that rather than improving the overall quality of public education, charters create a two-tiered education system with different resources that cater to different populations. They have pointed to cases where charters allegedly discouraged the enrollment of special-needs students, or kicked them out once the school year started. The GAO report suggests that the number of special education students enrolled in charter schools may be lower because parents are drawn to traditional public schools with more resources for such kids. And, in some cases, state laws around charter-school funding might
The report comes as charter advocates edge into their third decade of operation, trying to convince politicians and school districts that the schools are worth the money. Advocates realize that in order to sustain that momentum, they need better results. While some charter schools perform exceptionally well on standardized tests, a steady trickle of research has shown that overall, their students perform neither better nor worse than those in traditional public schools.
Miller told reporters that bipartisan charter school legislation the House of Representatives passed last year may help curb any discrimination.
Read highlights of the report below:Charter School SWD Highlights_ June 2012
CHOICE BASED SCHOOLS IS A POLICY DESIGNED TO MOVE CURRENT STUDENT POPULATIONS OUT WHILE MOVING A NEW POPULATION INTO THE SCHOOL. IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND IT INSTILLS A FEELING OF DISCOMFORT ON THE CHILDREN INTENDED AS THE ONES MOVING OUT. THESE ARE THE SAME STUDENTS NEEDING THE BEST ENVIRONMENT FOR SUCCESS AND THESE POLICIES SHOW THAT ISN'T THE MISSION.
Power Speaks Truth
Jul. 31, 2012
by Jackie Bennett EdWize Blog
Watch the NY1 story »
For years, Bloomberg’s high school admission policies have been concentrating the city’s most at-risk students in certain schools. What with complex, market-driven enrollment policies on the one hand (which favor the families best equipped to negotiate the system), and high-stakes accountability systems on the other (which reward schools that teacher fewer at-risk kids), students have been disenfranchised by Bloomberg’s policies.
The UFT and others (see here, here, and here) have been pointing this out for years, and for just as long, the DOE has denied it. But now it turns out that even as Bloomberg makes his denials, he and the DOE have been scrambling for cover. NYS Education Commissioner John King has put on the pressure, and in May, the DOE sent him a letter claiming they would address the problem, noting that “concerns about situations where our choice-based system may be leading to an over-concentration of students with disabilities, English language learners and/or students that are performing below proficiency in certain schools.”
See an exposé on the issue here. As far as the changes themselves, well, as a parent advocate explains later in the report, it’s too little, too late.
WHEN THEY TELL YOU THEY ARE WORKING TO CREATE BETTER SCHOOLS JUST ASK WHY ARE YOU FIRING ALL THE TEACHERS IF THE GOAL IS BETTER SCHOOLS? THE PEOPLE WHO REPLACE THESE TEACHERS WILL BE TEACH FOR AMERICA AND OTHER NON-UNION STAFF WITH LITTLE EDUCATION BACKGROUND. IT WON'T BE ABOUT QUALITY...IT WILL BE ABOUT CHEAP. HOW DO YOU THINK THE UNDERSERVED STUDENT OR THE DISABLED STUDENT WILL FARE IN THIS MIX......THAT'S RIGHT......THEY WILL BE MARGINALIZED!!
Teacher Layoffs Make Way for School Privatization By stuartbramhall on January 8, 2013 10:55 pm
As he begins his second term, Obama’s school privatization agenda is chugging along at full steam. Citing the Department of Labor’s monthly employment report, the World Socialist Website reveals that 11,000 public school teachers were laid off in December 2012. This brings total teacher lay-offs since 2008 to 300,000.
The layoffs are consistent with Obama’s decision to target public education for privatization and downsizing under Race to the Top, an expansion of Bush’s No Child Left Behind program. The Obama version provides financial incentives for school districts across the country to use accountability and “efficiency” issues to lay off thousands of teachers every month. This is on top of hundreds of public schools that are being closed to make way for private charter schools.
Philadelphia, for example, is preparing to shut down more than thirty schools – a move that would virtually eliminate public education for many neighborhoods. Washington DC has enacted a mandate that will allocate all new public facilities to private charter operators on a first come, first served basis.
Despite all this, the article points out, the National Education Association (NEA), was one of the first union’s to endorse Obama’s re-election. Obviously they aren’t looking after teachers’ jobs and welfare. So exactly whose interests do they represent?