Saturday, November 21, 2009

Message To My Attacker

I'm a button pusher. My whole life I've pushed the buttons of family members, colleagues, friends, enemies and even my cats. I can't help it. I love finding the little things that irritate (like the here link I often use) and then do whatever it takes (as long as it is harmless) to get them going. That is one of the things this blog lets me do. I might have started writing about special education issues for this reason, but that is not why I am continuing to write. I taught special education at Packemin HS for my first three years here. I loved working with that population and only left to teach math when the ISS AP decided to do a department cleansing and had all the mainstream teachers (there were 4 of us in various licenses) removed and sent to our own departments.

Under Assault has a great post on why schools are depriving kids of their IEP rights. It all boils down to one thing--MONEY!!!! Mainstreaming and violating IEPs is saving the schools money. As teachers, we need to be aware of our students needs to try to stop this from happening. Maybe I didn't care before, but these violations never were so rampant before. (At least not at Packemin.)

I'll admit that I never had much use for IEPs in the past. The information I have garnered from the ones I have received this term just confirms their useless. Yet, suddenly I am obsessed with reading them. As much as I fought against data and ARIS and all that other stuff I thought was nonsense, I can't stop trying to use it to find ways to help my students. (s is the first time I have had 14 IEP kids in my class.) Anyone who has really been reading this blog knows that I am in this for the kids, period. They also know that when I take on a job, I take it very seriously and do whatever I can to insure it is well done.

This whole IEP discussion that I started has really got me thinking and wondering about the anonymous commenter who keeps attacking me. The commenter is right. I love having an issue. I love fighting for the unpopular cause and for the underdog. And, the commenter is also right in saying that if it wasn't such a big issue now, I might never have taken it up. But, it is a big issue now. The UFT is fighting for the kids. Isn't that what everyone outside of teaching has been saying is wrong with the union for years? Haven't they complained that the union only cared about teachers, not about students? Shouldn't the commenter be happy that I jumped on the bandwagon and am no championing an issue that is student oriented? Should my motivation really matter much? Except for a few, this blog is anonymous. It contains no advertising and I gain nothing except stress relief and enjoyment from writing it and from knowing that it is read by quite a few people. Wouldn't it be better if the commenter stopped attacking me and starting attacking the people that are messing up, the people that are making excuses? Wouldn't it be better if the commenter stopped making excuses and started doing what was necessary to protect the rights of the student?

By the way commenter you aren't the only one attacking me. This week, during a meeting of the executive board of the union, I was attacked by a vicious little secretary when I mentioned the IEPs were e-mailed without any statement of the confidentiality of the plan. She claimed she did me a favor by e-mailing them to me. The date of the e-mail was 11/2, almost two months after school started, but, she did me a favor, imagine that! She told me I was wrong and if I really wanted to see them I could have made the trip to her office. As of today, I am still missing a few IEPs. One student is supposedly decertified and no longer entitled to special modifications yet no one in that department is willing to put this in writing. My D-75 student still arrives without a para or has a para he shares with a student in different room. I am told that he doesn't need one although the UFT special complaint person tells me he does.

Commenter, I am willing to bet you are an administrator, a school psychologist or even the vicious little secretary. (Actually, I think I know who you are.) I'll admit to jumping on the bandwagon now and making this my issue for whatever self serving reasons you want to assign to me. You on the other hand are still making excuses for not doing your job. It is not my job to chase after you for these things. It is your job to get these documents to me. I have 120 students in addition to my 14 IEPs kids. You might not be a mathematician but do the math anyway. I don't have time or energy to do your work. And, if this blog ruffles your feathers, so be it. A few ruffled feathers might actually help the students.


Anonymous said...

Look, most gen ed teachers I know pay insufficient attention to IEPs. Makes many admins happy, since no one wants to know about them, no one needs them, etc.

But the law says we are supposed to have them (that's not just from last year). And the more we speak about them, the more we get gen ed teachers interested in what is in them, what goes into them.

In some schools many IEPs are almost exactly the same. These idiots realized that no one would necessarily check to see that they are actually "individualized."

In other places they are not written or updated, not distributed, not implemented or only partially implemented.

How to fix this? Make more people aware. More parents. More teachers. More gen ed teachers, especially.

You were wrong not to care in the past. I really think so. And it is good, very good, that you have started paying close attention.

Of course the people not doing their jobs are outraged - they're getting caught. But these are compliance issues, and they have teeth. You've been relentless. Do not stop. It's for the kids.

Schoolgal said...

Why would a secretary have access to the IEPs?? It is usually assigned to someone with Special Ed background--even a teacher can get time within the program to run the program. Those files are supposed to be under lock and key. We are not even allowed to include SETTS on the cum records under "Special Programming".
Only AIS, Reading/Math pullout, ESL and Tag get listed.

I don't know who your attacker is, but it was really not a smart thing to attack because it makes whoever it is seem incompetent.

I also blame Klein because when he removed the Districts the "go-to" people for Special Ed where no longer available to help teachers and special ed teachers. The person who from my district was very helpful to me when it came to writing up a referral. Then when my district when "regional" it was one of the regions reported to not be servicing special ed.

Anonymous said...

First, let me apologize if I came off as attacking you. Certainly that was not the intent. I respect you and what you have to say otherwise I wouldn't even bother to read your blog.

If I was attacking anything, it is this new UFT initiative.

My point is, there was never an Excuse.

If I know I have IEP students in my class, I would simply walk up to the ISS Dept. and ask for the IEPs. I would look at the student's schedule and see who some of his teachers are. I would speak to my colleagues about what was in the IEP.

You see, there is NO EXCUSE to use whatever available data you can get on a child to help you help them.

I applaud the UFT of bringing the issue to the forefront because it is in the best interest of our students with disabilities.

I have taken issue with people who have used this issue to embarrass people. I equate it to fighting divorcing parents who use their children as pawns in their fight.

Leave the kids out of it.

If your principal is inept and is fool, holding his feet to the fire to make sure something gets done is appropriate. But when people are trying and calls being made are generating embarrassment and starting to create casualties and unneeded friction among innocent bystanders, then I think people are using this issue just to "bust chops."

I have seen people parading around with this "No Excuse" button and probably have yet to even look at the IEPs they were given.

What's their excuse.

Again, I apologize - no disrespect was intended. Your fighter, so I know you could take a little push back.

P.S. I am sure you know who I am, but I rather remain anonymous for the sake of a better argument.

Pissedoffteacher said...

It is not as easy as you say it is to walk up and ask for IEPs, talk to colleagues, etc. I have over 150 kids on my rosters so giving this much individual work to 14 is not possible. Many of my students are more needy than kids with IEPs, I have college bound senior which means the requests for recommendations is never ending. There are lessons, exams to write and mark, homeworks to check, parents to call,etc. Kids constantly want extra help. I'm still working with last year's group in addition to the new ones I have this year. There is no time in the day to just walk up to ISS and ask for IEPs. There is no time to talk to my colleagues. Most of us are on different schedules and almost never even see each other.

I asked about IEPs election day. The answer I got was "we're working on them." I've continuously asked about the few that are missing and there is still no answer.

A parent told me her son's IEP said he must sit in the front of the room but I hadn't seen it. I don't want to be in violation of a federal law for something that is not my fault. Another parent told me her son's medication wears off by afternoon, the time he has my class. She told me the information is on the IEP (which is missing.) I thought the kid was just lazy. Now I know better and am working with him.

Maybe others have not read the IEPs but I can assure you I have. I have found conflicting information and incorrect information. Mostly I have found useless information. I was instrumental in getting a resource room for a child when none was on his program (and it should have been.) I found this by checking ARIS, the same way a guidance counselor or an ISS person could have.

The principal is not inept but some of the people working for him are. As for a secretary doing me a favor by giving me information two months late, well, there is no excuse for that.

I'm sorry if phone calls and buttons are an embarrassment but sometimes it takes that to get things rolling. I won't even write here some of the stories I've heard and the things I have seen because I don't want to embarrass the people that did them.

I know my words, and the words of a few others have been a major push to getting things right for the neediest kids in the building.

Schoolgal said...

Well it's up to PoD to accept your apology, but you indeed did attack.
I don't know how your school works, but the teacher shouldn't be the one tracking down IEPs and other teachers. And, they shouldn't just be given out w/o a special ed person/supervisor to present to review the plan. Meetings could have been made available on Election Day or during Department Meetings. You work on a semester schedule, and this semester is almost up, so shame on those in charge. Also how are triannuals being conducted at your school??

Now, why are you attacking the UFT for being proactive in this matter?? And this is not the first time they have gotten involved due to complaints. It seems to be a never-ending battle.

Anonymous said...

I love watching people call others imbeciles, ridicule them, and then claim they meant no offense.

Basically, it lets you know they have no integrity and can't be trusted at all.

Suit Lover said...

it seems I'm no longer the most hated one on here!!

Anonymous said...

"No one should take the words of a blog like mine serious. Words written do not always convey the meaning they were meant to have. Very often they are misconstrued and interpreted in a manner far different than the writer intended. Blogs are just diaries, places where people can share anonymously (for the most part) their innermost and often darkest thoughts.

Before judging the blogger, look at the entire picture, try to understand what caused the words of anger to be put down. Don't throw away the blogger and all the good because of some meaningless words.

Be careful when reading a blog and think of the material as an interesting work of fiction meant to do no harm.

When it is all about the kids, and the kids are being hurt, sometimes words are all we have to do battle with."

- Pissed Off Teeacher
October 23, 2009

Remember folks... although we can guess who people might be... we don't know. Don't hold anything against anyone when things are anonymous, you might be wrong.

You know what they say about assuming.

Pissedoffteacher said...

Suit Lover, Suit is more more hated than you will ever be, but you still top all the negative commenters here.

I actually understand some of the points made, even the ones attacking me, and I have to say they are on the money. I know I can be vicious and I deserved some of the attacking comments.

Something was done to a couple of my students a while back, something by one of the people involved in this controversy, something that hurt them and they could not do anything about. I tried to help, but nothing I did made a difference. I might have begun my vendetta as a way to avenge them. I can assure you that is not the case now.

Under Assault said...

Hi, PO. Am reading with interest, but what amuses me is that I too have been drafting some posts in this general area for the past couple of weeks. I have to deal with this in parts, though.

Does every teacher get to this point when they reach a certain seniority?

I just put up: "Reaching for the whistle", if you have time to check it out.