Charters, LAUSD in special ed tug of war

Charters, LAUSD in special ed tug of war

There are 104 comments on the LA Daily News story from Jan 6, 2010, titled Charters, LAUSD in special ed tug of war. In it, LA Daily News reports that:

A battle between Los Angeles Unified and charter groups could be decided today when the State Board of Education is expected to rule whether charters statewide can take complete control of educating their special needs students.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at LA Daily News.

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Marc

Northridge, CA

#1 Jan 6, 2010
Just a few comments:
I would not really put much credence in anything that the Independent Monitor says. Remember that this is the 'watchdog' that just kept watering down the Chandra Smith Decree everytime LAUSD could not come close to delivering on its mandate. Instead of taking the legally recommended action, the 'monitor' just repeatedly stripped down the requirements until they ended up having nothing to do with actual delivery of services to kids adn the improvement of those services but are much more related to reporting and the have really helped to create the 'Special Ed/Due Process Quagmire' that is now the status quo at LAUSD.
I would also state that my experience as a parnet is that the 'district' tells parents that they will 'lose their services' if they move to a charter school so that could be why, when a school is converted, the statistic show that parents may not stay--perhaps it is the desire to avoid taking on the legal fight again to secure services that they already have. Since LAUSD has the 'go to due process' mentality'(which is validated by the much larger ratio of due process cases in California than special ed students-- as well as by the previously mentioned 'Monitor'), perhaps there are more facts to the number that just distrct vs. charter.

I would propose that any fiscal analysis of LAUSD's special ed budget will reveal that LAUSD spends an absurd amount of the special ed budget on administration and 'fighting over services ( including Due Process) and that if Charter Schools could access the funds directly. The amount of money spent trying to avoid providing required services could easily be better spent.
Julia Vargas

Chino Hills, CA

#2 Jan 7, 2010
Would you be interested in being a parent advocate for myself , and my son he's 6 years old and has an IEP which intitles him to special ed services. please let me kno if you can find the time to help me. even if it means just pointing me in the right direction.my email is [email protected]
Marc wrote:
Just a few comments:
I would not really put much credence in anything that the Independent Monitor says. Remember that this is the 'watchdog' that just kept watering down the Chandra Smith Decree everytime LAUSD could not come close to delivering on its mandate. Instead of taking the legally recommended action, the 'monitor' just repeatedly stripped down the requirements until they ended up having nothing to do with actual delivery of services to kids adn the improvement of those services but are much more related to reporting and the have really helped to create the 'Special Ed/Due Process Quagmire' that is now the status quo at LAUSD.
I would also state that my experience as a parnet is that the 'district' tells parents that they will 'lose their services' if they move to a charter school so that could be why, when a school is converted, the statistic show that parents may not stay--perhaps it is the desire to avoid taking on the legal fight again to secure services that they already have. Since LAUSD has the 'go to due process' mentality'(which is validated by the much larger ratio of due process cases in California than special ed students-- as well as by the previously mentioned 'Monitor'), perhaps there are more facts to the number that just distrct vs. charter.
I would propose that any fiscal analysis of LAUSD's special ed budget will reveal that LAUSD spends an absurd amount of the special ed budget on administration and 'fighting over services ( including Due Process) and that if Charter Schools could access the funds directly. The amount of money spent trying to avoid providing required services could easily be better spent.
Tim Stout

Mandaluyong, Philippines

#3 Jan 7, 2010
Where's the evidence that charters do a better job than public schools in educating children? No where! And this is AFTER they cherrypick their students. This is all about the (hopefully) dying trend of privatizing everything from prisons to wars!
escapefromLA

Beverly Hills, CA

#4 Jan 7, 2010
hang on, theyre saying 11% of LAUSD's population is special needs?!? i find that hard to believe. i used to teach special ed in LAUSD and there wasn't even close to that amount! unless since then (just a few years ago) they started dumping everyone in special ed!
Anamouse

El Segundo, CA

#5 Jan 7, 2010
LAUSD is a horendous failure so we have practically nothing to loose by allowing charters.

If any private company failed to accomplish their primary business goal half the time they would be shuned by customers and deserve to go out of business fast. LAUSD fails to get about half their students to graduate High School.

If any private company regularly paid their employees twice as much as their competitors they would go out of business fast. LAUSD compensation packages, including pensions make them twice as highly paid as private school teachers, and taxpayers are sick and tired of paying the difference and getting nothing of value in return.

If any private company failed to cater to the specific communities they service, they would be driven out of business by competitors who do. LAUSD's one size fits all educational approach fails to get the job done, and charters offer individual communities educational options that those communities want. Of course many communities want the charters, and they deserve to get them; after all it's their money their spending.

If any private company refused to fire rotten employees in key positions they would loose their customers fast. LAUSD refuses to even consider getting rid of the most rotten teachers they have, since they have tenure. Any school that refuses to allow rotten teachers to keep teaching at their school will be better for kids than LAUSD.

LAUSD has made itself into an unwanted white elephant and the smarter people are taking their kids out of LAUSD and placing them in charters whenever they have that opportunity. It's morally wrong to force anyone to keep their kid in a school that is exorbidantly expensive and fails to provide the educational opportunities that they could get if they were allowed to select another option.

LAUSD GET USE TO IT. The same great union that has made it possible for good teachers to be laid off while rotten teachers with more seniority are kept, and got all their members compensation packages that make them twice as expensive as competitor's has finally started to put it's members in the un-employment line, and they have no one to blame but themselves.

None of you complained as the quality of the services you provided fell to the point where taxpayers revolted, so don't bother wining now. I suggest you keep you eye on the charter schools and if you think you can make the grade, see if you can get a job at one of them. Of couse if you're one of the tenured but rotten teachers you have lots of time to do it because you're going to be the last ones left as LAUSD slowely goes out of existance and the charters would kick you out even if you did swich.
HAROLDW

Los Angeles, CA

#6 Jan 7, 2010
ATTENTION;ALL NON-TEACHING EMPLOYEES DO NOT COME TO WORK MONDAY
1-11-10. SAY NO TO THESES ROBBERS WHO ARE ABOUT TO TAKE 12% FROM YOU
SAY NO TO THEM AND THE LYING UNIONS WHO ARE IN BED WITN THEM,TAKE A VACATION DAY, LET THE PEOPLE OF LOS ANGELES NO WHAT THESE LYING
SO-CALLED EDUCATORS ARE REALLY UP TO SELLING YOUR JOBS TO CHARTER.
TAKE A STAND NOW OR FALL LATER,NO,NO,LAUSD PAY CUT.
Ann Edwards

Perris, CA

#7 Jan 7, 2010
My son has been in special education his entire school life in California. He is 16 now and i tried home schooling him in 8th grade and i thought i was doing something wrong when i saw how little my son was actually educated by 8th grade.When he went to high school i thought ok it will get better because of this no child left behind crap it got worse, he became angry and violant because others were making fun of him. So they tried sending my son to a problem school for kids on parole(i didnt know this at the time) and it got even worse. So a friend told me about Desert Sands Charter High School, and my son is making a effort, he wants to graduate from high school now where before he didnt care, he loves being able to have all kinds of help with his reading and his school work. My daughter went there as a regular student no special ed and she graduated early from high school and is now inrolled in college at age 17.I say give the charter high schools what they want, they have alot more resources to teach our children better than regular high schools today.
Kilgore Traut

North Hills, CA

#8 Jan 7, 2010
LAUSD's special education is a joke. "There is no research that shows how (the charter) plan will better serve students with disabilities," said Sharyn Howell. There is no proof that LAUSD serves their students with disabilities. I would rather a charter school has the ability to use funds to implement proven modalities rather than continuing with LAUSD's, all too familiar, band-aid approach.
Sue

Honolulu, HI

#9 Jan 7, 2010
The State of New York is dealing with the same issue. They have found similar problems with numbers of special ed and ELL students in charters. http://www.uft.org/news/issues/press/elected_...

In LAUSD, the actual dollars spent can be argued from each perspective, but one way or another, charters MUST be representative of the general school population. If charters have less numbers and less severity of disability, then this affects the comparison between charters and traditional public schools. It most certainly puts a bigger financial burden on the rest of the district. Also, one thing left out of the article is the fact that special ed students on average score lower on the tests, so there is already an incentive for charters to keep them out. As for Birmingham, did anyone ask their administration to provide an explanation as to why their program for the deaf was eliminated?
Wow

United States

#10 Jan 7, 2010
Charters are cherry pickers. If a school district gets to choose it's students then of course they wll do better. Like at birmingham. Close the program down and the problem will slowly dissappear. Charters are not mandated to accept all children even those with special needs. They are then forced into traditional schools without lawsuit. Public schools would be sued the firtst Fay therer
chd was denied FAPE
Tim Edwards

Perris, CA

#11 Jan 7, 2010
HAROLDW wrote:
ATTENTION;ALL NON-TEACHING EMPLOYEES DO NOT COME TO WORK MONDAY
1-11-10. SAY NO TO THESES ROBBERS WHO ARE ABOUT TO TAKE 12% FROM YOU
SAY NO TO THEM AND THE LYING UNIONS WHO ARE IN BED WITN THEM,TAKE A VACATION DAY, LET THE PEOPLE OF LOS ANGELES NO WHAT THESE LYING
SO-CALLED EDUCATORS ARE REALLY UP TO SELLING YOUR JOBS TO CHARTER.
TAKE A STAND NOW OR FALL LATER,NO,NO,LAUSD PAY CUT.
Yes, That is the solution. Take away as many School personell as possible for a day. Lets hurt our school children even more than LAUSD has already done. This answer to this problem is a load of crap. If you truly believe that LAUSD can do a better job than charter schools with our special ed students. Then let your voice be heard. Do not punish our kids, and screw over our schools by not showing up. My son who is a special ed student has been in a Charter school for less than a year, and he is kicking butt. When he was in traditional schools, they failed him. His teachers were giving him the answers to his work instead of teaching him. He was being bullied by other students daily and somehow, the educators hardly ever knew that there was any problem. He has probably learned and retained more during the short time he has been in the charter school than the whole time he was in traditional school. So I say to all school personell, if you are more concerned about money than the education of our special ed students, then take the day off. While you have that day off, go look for another job, because our schools need to get rid of people like you anyway. If you are truly there to help the youth that will be running our country in the future years, educate yourself and find out what charter schools can do to help you, such as reducing the already overcrowded classrooms so you may better teach our children. Feel free to contact me via e-mail at [email protected]
old guy

Van Nuys, CA

#12 Jan 7, 2010
how about ending bussing it is a failure anyway sell most of the buses geet rid of most of the drivers and now you have all that money to use for teachers....
Tech_Daddy

Los Angeles, CA

#13 Jan 7, 2010
Let's hear it for the United Thumbtwirlers of LA! Way to go, yo! 47th in the nation! 50% drop out rate!
Anamouse

El Segundo, CA

#14 Jan 7, 2010
Wow wrote:
Charters are cherry pickers. If a school district gets to choose it's students then of course they wll do better. Like at birmingham. Close the program down and the problem will slowly dissappear. Charters are not mandated to accept all children even those with special needs. They are then forced into traditional schools without lawsuit. Public schools would be sued the firtst Fay therer
chd was denied FAPE
I'd say the more accurate description of why charter schools have less scum is that a large portion of their students are there because their parents wanted them to go to a good school and the public schools in their area clearly were not as good.

And yes, those public schools do have more scum, students and teachers. Charters have less scum students because less of them have parents who are willing to do anything to get them in a decent school. They have less scum teachers because they don't have to keep them even after they figgure out that their scum.

So why would any parent not want to see charters that they could take their kids to, knowing that the teachers and even student populations were much more likely to be superior than what they get if they just send them to the nearest non-charter public school.

Are you arguing that we'd all be better off if we shared the scum equally, or do you just want to fight for LAUSD to continue operating substandard schools?
ejay

Cleveland, OH

#15 Jan 7, 2010
charters typically will only accept the special ed students who have the least amount of needs for services and supports which leave the most severe cases having to remain with the public schools, so if the charters end up getting a big piece of the special ed $ yet only serve the least involved students, the fact remains that the public schools have the most severely affected students and even less funding to deal with providing mandated services. Where is that money supposed to come from if it's being taken by the charters who refuse to take the more difficult cases? Public schools can't refuse to serve those kids, but charters can find plenty of reasons not to.
If charters are mandated to take all students and provide a free and appropriate education to all students like a public school must, that's one thing, but they aren't and they won't.
this article should have spoken to families of students w/IEP's who have been unable to get their kids into charters because they are special ed students. I'm not saying there aren't problems with LAUSD special ed, there are. But this is not going to make things better for special ed students or the district, it's going to make things even worse and create more situations where the district is going to be taken to due process to provide services.
You all complain about the state of LAUSD, but this will make things even worse.
Speaking from a parent's perspective, I can vouch for what Sharyn Howell has said concerning the cherrypicking that charters engage in.
Charters do better

Gardena, CA

#16 Jan 7, 2010
1) charters pay LAUSD 30-40% of their specifial ed funding to run specialize programs like non-public placement, fro dealf, special day class etc. So, 11% as a camparision is mesleading, because it includes programa that charters are paying. Some charters have offered LAUSD to host someof this specialized porgram for a share of theirm enroachment of 30-40%.
2) In contrast to LAUSD, charters do not overidentify kids as they care about the eefect of the overiddntifucaton on the budgte. In fact, I heard that Birmingham cut a number of 1;1 TA from 80 to like 40. Why? Staff see first hand the effect on the budget.
Have teacher salaries tied up to school budget, you may see a change.
3) charters simply asking fo an opportunity to receive 100% of funding and serve 100% of kids. Charters then wll be abe to pull together resourcs to serve to offer a variety of specilized program and Not really on LAUSD that fials these kids left and right.
Mother of 4

United States

#17 Jan 7, 2010
Tim Stout wrote:
Where's the evidence that charters do a better job than public schools in educating children? No where! And this is AFTER they cherrypick their students. This is all about the (hopefully) dying trend of privatizing everything from prisons to wars!
Cherry Pick? My children were selected by a lottery. Yes a lottery their grades were never a factor. My daughter was failing 4 of 6 classes, and now She is an A & B student, and a happy student that loves her teacher and enjoys going to school. If you want facts talk to real people that are living the LAUSD & UTLA nightmare.
Charter school are the answer, every parent who has a student in a charter will agree.
really

Los Angeles, CA

#18 Jan 7, 2010
IF charters are public schools why do they require 5 pages applications for students.

CHARTERS are cherry pickers period. They get rid of students they feel are not learning fast enough after a months time and still keep the funding for the student they no longer have.
bad boy

La Quinta, CA

#19 Jan 7, 2010
Mother of 4 wrote:
<quoted text>
Cherry Pick? My children were selected by a lottery. Yes a lottery their grades were never a factor. My daughter was failing 4 of 6 classes, and now She is an A & B student, and a happy student that loves her teacher and enjoys going to school. If you want facts talk to real people that are living the LAUSD & UTLA nightmare.
Charter school are the answer, every parent who has a student in a charter will agree.
really? what is the name of the charter school?
Murrow

Whittier, CA

#20 Jan 7, 2010
A couple of things. First, as a teacher I reject the notion of "scum" students and "scum" teachers. Any educator worth his salt would never begin a class with the idea that some of his kids were "scum." As for teachers, unless we're talking aboud child abusers, I don't think the "scum" classification is going to contribute anything positive to this conversation.

Second, I left a celebrated charter high school to teach in LAUSD. At least 50 of my colleagues from that school have done the same during the past three years. This was due in no small part to the charter school's inability to fund our health retirement benefits. This despite the fact that it has more money than any school in LAUSD and that these benefits were promised in the original charter document.

If we were "superior" teachers because we taught at a charter, are we still "superior" even though we've relocated to an LAUSD high school? Or have our skills now suddenly weakened because of the transition? The reality is that there are good teachers and bad teachers at any school, charter or otherwise.

Charter schools have every right to run their own budgets anyway they see fit, provided their priorities place their students at the top. Should they get more state funding than a public school? I don't think so. If they can generate income from private donations and other outside sources, good for them. But charters should not be entitled to any more funding than any other public school in the state. Their distinction should not be that they receive more money than non-charter schools but how they disburse their funds.

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