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RE: SH forced out

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  • Jennifer E. Felix
    Dear Kevin: This kind of act is not surprising to me. It has been going on a long time. When portables went in at Mira Vista, reg ed parents complained about
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2006
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      Dear Kevin:

      This kind of act is not surprising to me. It has been going on a
      long time. When portables went in at Mira Vista, reg ed parents
      complained about their kids using them and some even suggested spec.
      ed kids be assigned to them instead. Last year at this time a
      letter was sent home to all DeAnza spec ed parents. Enclosed is the
      body of the letter:


      As a parent or legal guardian of a special education student at De
      Anza high school, you need to be aware that the school district
      might change the special education program for RSP and NSH students
      at De Anza in the 2005-06 school year. The administration is
      considering the elimination of all special education core,subject
      classes for these students. Your child would be required to take
      general education core classes in English, Mathematics, Science, and
      Social Science, with up to 35 students per class. General education
      teachers who have little or no formal training in special education
      would teach these classes. Special education teachers and teacher
      aides would only have contact with your child on an occasional basis.
      If this program is implemented, your child would be required to take
      classes that are substantially more difficult, with a faster pace,
      more lecture, more homework, longer assignments, more written tests
      than special education classes. These classes use textbooks written
      at reading levels that may be substantially higher than your child's
      reading level. There would not be enough time available during the
      school day for your child to take these courses and receive adequate
      tutorials, small group instruction, or individual help from special
      education teachers or teacher aides.

      Many special education teachers at De Anza have serious concerns
      about the ability of such a program to succeed, without substantial
      support from the administration. Currently there are not enough
      special education teachers and teacher aides to help in all general
      education core classes. The district has provided little or no
      additional training to the general education teachers on how to work
      with special education students. Many of the De Anza general
      education teachers do not offer adequate help to special education
      students who are already in their classes.

      Parents of special education students have the right to demand an
      appropriate education for their children through the IEP process.
      The IEP is a legal document that states how your child must be
      educated. It is written as a team decision and cannot be overridden
      by the administration. Your child's current IEP may state that your
      child will be taught in a small, special education environment by a
      special education teacher for
      , some or all core classes. If you believe that special education
      core classes in English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Science
      should remain available for your child and other special education
      students, please let us hear from you. Your right to be heard
      , and your child's right to a free and appropriate public education
      may be at risk.
      The administration will meet with the De Anza special education
      department at De Anza on April 26 at 3:30 p.m. to discuss this
      program. We invite you to participate. If you wish to express your
      opinions, please call or write the special education case manager
      for your child as soon as possible. The special education teachers
      will be happy to talk or meet with you and bring your concerns to
      the administration. You may also call or write the district
      superintendent and the school board directly.

      Concerned De Anza Special Educators

      Many of us did call the district to complain and were assured that
      this would not happen. As you know I moved out of state exhausted
      from many years of this kind of behavior from school and Bissell
      Ave. administrators. In Oct I received this email from a teacher
      who will remain un-named. I have removed the teacher's name and
      course taught to avoid retaliation, but as you can see the teacher
      is already facing that kind of behavior:


      Mon, 17 Oct 2005 21:03:45 -0700

      Dear Jennifer,

      Nice to hear that things are finally going well. Things are not so
      great here. You left just in time. I have not heard of the
      administration attempting to fire anyone, but if they were, I would
      probably be first on the list. The beginning of the year has been
      gut wrenching here. Almost all students were mainstreamed or given
      schedules without any attention to their IEPs or planning done by
      the special ed teachers. Most 11 th and 12th graders were forced to
      take high school exit exam courses for the first quarter, again
      without consulting parents or paying heed to IEPs. I made a formal
      complaint to the Calif Dept of Education Procedural Safeguards
      Division. When the district got the letter from them, they began to
      make changes, but the site administrators still have not fixed the
      situation. In the mean time, most special education students have
      had their schedules changed three or four times since the beginning
      of school and many of those changes still didn't fix their programs
      to match the IEPs.
      .-/ The site administrator also removed all students from my -------
      classes and had me teaching four general education high school exit
      exam prep classes. This left no one to teach ------- so students who
      need it are not getting it. I had to file a grievance with the union
      to get them to change things, but I still don't have all my students
      back. Many of them are still in inappropriate programs. I have been
      fighting for all these students, and am gaining enemies along the
      way. I may not be here by the end of the school year if certain
      people have their way.

      Again, I'm glad you moved when you did. You would probably be here
      daily trying to fix things for your kids. Thank you also for ------
      `s email. I will write too.
      Talk to you soon,

      This was all done even after the courts again postponed the exit
      exam for yet another year. Until/Unless the state basically takes
      over/replaces all administrative positions, I don't think any
      changes will take place. No one from site administrators on up
      wants to change the status quo. I've even known a few teachers that
      follow that pathway. I am saddened to see that as I left and
      thought that there appeared some wanted to change the status quo,
      that it is true that power ultimately corrupts. The new board
      members have disappointed, Ms. LeBlanc appears to have
      disappointed. I have now been here in NC for over 6mos. and I have
      observed a totally different attitude all together. Even the news
      is handled differently, less sensationalized. Good luck and I will
      pray for all of you still battling for a solid education for the

      Jen Felix
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