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  • Monday, August 25, 2008

     

    A Special Education Call to Arms!

    Metro VIEWS ______________
    A community service of the Greater Orange Communities Organization
    Giving voice to the Greater Orange Communities

    A Special Education Call to Arms!
    By Ron Lackey, EdD

    It has come to the attention of the Califonrnia Special Education Reliance Task Force that the California School Board Association formed an Education Legal Alliance (ELA) in 1992, with a Motto of "We fight better when we stand together."

    The ELA goals are written as such:

    "The Education Legal Alliance of the California School Boards Association initiates and supports legislation on behalf of public schools. This consortium of school districts and county offices of education voluntarily joins together to impact education issues and case law."

    The ELA boasts: "...the Alliance continues to be successful in pursuing and defending the broad spectrum of statewide public education interests in the courts and before state agencies."

    The ELA process: "Process for submission of cases to the Alliance: When a district/county office is involved in an issue of statewide significance, requests for assistance may be submitted to the Alliance. An Attorney Advisory Committee , consisting of experts in the field of education law, reviews the case and makes a recommendation to the Alliance Steering Committe. The Steering Committee, consisting of board members, superintendents and representatives of education groups, makes the final determination as to whether the Alliance should become involved in the case."

    This orgainization should sound familiar to Orange County parents and educators. In Orange County, we have the Orange County Special Education Joint Powers Agreement "Alliance", and the decision-making bodies are the "Review Committee" and the "Executive Committee"

    Since we have discovered the origin of the Orange County "Alliance" concept--the California School Boards Association--we feel the necessity to establish & publish a statewide newsletter, with content provided by "parent-friendly" attorneys and advocates, as well as parents themselves, to keep each other posted on current events especially in Special Education, particularly in matters related to due process.

    Upon reviewing the content of the Legal Alliance newsletters, with her permission, we quote from Attorney Leejanice Toback, Esq, who writes, "The more I read, the scarier this gets. They are putting in amicus briefs, it seems on every case that goes to the federal Courts. Perhaps I should write an article on our side being more prepared and working as a team too, perhaps creating a "due process filing" bank, brief bank, decision bank, etc; as the only way to combat this."

    We need volunteers to review one of the 8 Legal Alliance newsletter, as the content of the Legal Alliance newsletter relates to Special Education, and to provide a commentary for inclusion in our future editions of this statewide online newsletter.

    You are being invited now to participate as a member of the California Reliance Newsletter Editorial Board. If you are not able to participate at this time, please nominate one/more replacement(s) by providing, with their permission, their name, category and email address.

    Our Reliance Motto is, "We Help Kids Better When We Work Together"

    Ron Lackey, EdD,
    Editor
    California Special Education Reliance Task Force Newsletter
    drrlackey@cox.net

    Opinions expressed in Metro VIEWS are not necessarily the opinion of the networks that post it.

    Metro VIEWS
    is a community service of the
    Greater Orange Communities Organization
    :GoCo:

    Comments:
    Just read the Greater orange news and saw the article. I have been on the Special Education Alliance website over the last few years and it makes me sick to know that these people do what they do. I have read meeting minutes where you have spoken up. I am a parent of a child with learning disabilities in OUSD. Yes I have even filed for DP against them for not educating my dyslexic, ADHD, SID son. My case was well documented by an advocate that I eventually hired and was settled shortly after resolution. Again the next year they failed to implement my son's IEP and they settled after submitting the issues and letting them know I was a mom on a mission and I would not back down. They have copies of letter I have written to politicians in my son's cum file and perhaps they think I am a loose canon. Of course the hint I would file did put a fire under them. These people think they are above the law and fight us with our own tax dollars. Hundreds of thousands in my district alone each year spent on attorneys instead of appropriate services. I was fortunate enough to have been chosen to participate in the SEAT classes put on by COPAA and am still working on my practicum hours. I also have some learning issues myself and it drives my passion in this area like nothing I have ever felt. I do not want kids to enter adult life uneducated like myself. I can not tolerate
    the stonewalling districts. I have been collecting data on my district which shows the AYP scores in the OUSD high schools for learning disabled kids has a downward trend. That is those who are actually tested. Each time the goal is not met the new goal is set at a lower level than the year prior.
    What compelling reason do they have to teach our kids if each year they are expected to perform less than the year prior. The trend here is to get the parents to accommodate so the scores don't have to be counted which continues to leave the district unaccountable. The same programs provided to each child even it they are not proven to provide progress on disabled kids. Grades here are heavily pumped to make unsuspecting parents happy.

    My son has received most of the services he has needed by my stubborn diligence but most parents are completely oblivious to pumped up grades and faulty testing measures. $40 K of district money spent on one child(mine) to teach him to read instead of training teachers how to teach hundreds of kids. Those that are in the know who can't afford to fight are just plain screwed...Parents need to crawl out from under their rocks and get their kids educated.
     
    Thank You Dr. Lackey.
     
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