Friday, September 14, 2012

Tony Brandenburg: Inclusion? What's That?

(Mod: I am reposting an article written recently by Tony Brandenburg and posted on his website. In order to better understand exactly what the issues are here I suggest that you first check out an excellent article describing the Brandenburg family's situation published by the L.A. Weekly [click here]. It supplies some great background information and perspective regarding what Tony writes about here. I find it interesting that the same people who worked to prevent Sierra Madre from having equal Board of Education representation until 2015 through Measure A, and pulled the recent infamous Measure TT school construction funding bait and switch, are also those who have done so much to deny the Brandenburgs and their autistic child basic educational rights. I have come to believe this is no coincidence and will continue to follow this story.)

In October, 2010, my family came under the attack of our neighbors at Sierra Madre Elementary School, and in the 23 months that have followed, we uncovered more and more evidence of the behavior of our community against our child, who has autism, and ourselves.

These attacks were cloaked in secrecy, were planned, and vicious. That is typical of bullying behavior; bullies learn to become more stealth in order to get away with their behavior, while others may have determined that there is some validity to what we say and have pulled back. But not a single apology.

So what happened, and why is this still a topic of discussion? There are a number of reasons. To begin with, we have been critical of the way Sierra Madre Elementary School handles its behavioral interventions. For more than ten years this school has funded a room called, “The Guidance Room.” It is a room that is utilized for students whose behavior does not meet the expectations of the teacher. There are a number of problems with this, however.

Funds were gathered for a time out cage, rather than a school library, for two years. To imply that this room is to “guide” student behavior, one must assume that there is someone in the role of “guide” who is examining the behavior that is negative, or undesired, and replacing it with a desired, positive alternative. That person, we should assume, is a psychologist or a teacher utilizing some form of behavior intervention technique that is consistent with state, federal, and teacher union guidelines. However, it is a classified teacher’s assistant who is the “guide.” Does that seem educationally sound?

If a student is being removed from instruction, to be placed into a counseling room with no counselor, and removed from the instruction of a highly qualified teacher into a room where there is no credentialed teacher - exactly where is the credentialed, responsible adult? There isn’t one. Does that seem educationally sound?

Where is the tracking sheet that is reported to the State of California to record in school suspensions? According to what SMES has stated in their SARC report to the state, there are little to no suspensions. If the student has a 504 plan or an IEP, removing them from instruction violates the student’s right to an education. Does that seem educationally sound?

This year 25% of the donations made through the SME Annual Fund were used to fund behavior aides. Part of that money funds this room. At a school that raises in excess of $125,000 through donations, we pose this question: Are you aware that your donations fund the punishment of children, that it is not tracked, that parents may or not be aware it is occurring, and that it most likely violates student access to an education? Does that seem educationally sound?

There is no code of conduct that distinctly identifies the behavior that results in a child’s placement into this room. In other words, it is subjective, and can vary from classroom to classroom. Does that seem educationally sound?

So. If the room isn’t guiding children, isn’t teaching replacement behavior, is being funded by donations, and doesn’t follow sound educational practices ..... why is it being employed? We assert it is simply because it was past practice, and that the people who make the decisions on budgeting those donations - School Site Council (SSC) - has been essentially the same team for the last few years, and until recently, was essentially made up of many of the same people who were in the hierarchy of the SMS PTA.

So what? Well, for a disenfranchised family (that would be a family who are outside of the decision making core or junta - whether by design, by choice, or by exclusionary practices) this means trying to negotiate with a group that is indifferent, apathetic, or hostile to the disenfranchised family’s needs. If there is a hostile force on the junta, the family has no voice, is seen as “trouble-makers,” “self-serving,” and accused of having a separate agenda - how can they ever be included in the decision making process?

Bylaws for the SSC do not allow for a teacher who has a child in the school, to serve as the Parent Representative on the SSC. However, bylaws do allow for the parent to serve as the Teacher Representative. At Sierra Madre School this is easily addressed. A husband and wife, from Pasadena, serve as Parent and Teacher Representatives in Sierra Madre, for their child- who is technically a guest on a waiver. This couple make up the most influential wing of the SSC. It simply takes the time to scroll through the SSC minutes to get a strong impression on where they stand on student behavior.

Is this a conflict of interest?

A guidance room that doesn’t guide; school rules that are not clearly, nor operationally defined; a leadership team that is self-serving and do not reside in Sierra Madre; donations used for removing students from instruction; record keeping that does not accurately reflect suspension. But wait, there’s more.

There is the inclusion issue.

Beginning in 2001 our (three) children attended Sierra Madre Elementary School, a school that boastfully claimed it was an inclusive school. Over the years, our children were sent for “guidance” and forced garbage pick up until we served the school with a cease and desist. This was interpreted by the school as arrogance on our part- as our refusal to play by the rules- that is, by rules that had never been explained, nor defined.

We asked for the rules to be clarified. The former principal could not even tell us which school rules our youngest child had broken; let alone what the rules were. That certainly didn’t stop her from implementing a program change that landed the school in a legal battle that still hasn’t been resolved. Perhaps some rules are changeable, such as those regarding testimoney to a Federal agency. Perhaps sacrificing a child and then covering for herself and her core parent cronies with her version of the "truth" was governed by a higher law? Bending the rules didn’t prevent her from being named principal emeritus, nor from having the Sierra Madre Elementary Auditorium named in her honor. Take a guess who brought the proposal to the Board of Ed?

Apparently, school rules weren’t the only thing that she hadn’t exactly clarified. She apparently wasn’t too clear on what the educational programs that were being implemented at her school actually were. Imagine our surprise when we learned that there is no definition of “Inclusion” in PUSD.

Our children, and hundreds of others over the years, and throughout the district- were being placed into classrooms identified as inclusion classrooms. There is one little problem, however. A hundreds of thousands of dollars paid in salary problem. One wasn’t resolved, nor addressed, by the exiting “Social Justice” and recently hired San Francisco Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Special Education, Elizabeth Blanco. How nice to be hailed by so many for doing so little. That’s right, there is still no definition of inclusion in PUSD.

Meanwhile, a group of professionals, most of whom have already demonstrated their incompetence, are now busy determining what inclusion is. Good grief.

So. The inclusion classroom my child was dumped into? Not defined. The “Blended Inclusion” programs at SMS? Not defined. The inclusion programs at other schools? Not defined. The “Inclusion Specialists” paid by the district? Not defined. The exiting Director of Special Education? Paid, and gone.

See ya, suckers.

There will be people who try to play down our influence in shaking things up in PUSD over the last 23 months. That’s fine. A former superintendent, a former principal, a former director, and an ongoing battle for a board member. Draw your own conclusions.

Just remember, when the smoke clears, that the cost was paid - pound for pound - on the reputation of a family who demanded a fenced, secured campus, and who refused to allow an educational system of confused, mis-informed, neuro-typical Sierra Madre bigots to arbitrarily punish children - your children - without exacting and requiring clear, operationally defined behavioral boundaries, rules, and consequences.

Shame on us.

http://sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

123 comments:

  1. Yeah, that's the kicker. PUSD as far as I know doesn't have a definition for Inclusion, yet has progams with that discriptor.

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    1. Politically correct lip service.

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    2. Maybe this is the reason for the high API?

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    3. Liz Blanco was an opportunist who used PUSD as a stepping stone to her next endeavor. She sacrificed all the special needs students of PUSD when she skipped out in the middle of the school year. Program Improvement? She didn't care, she had greener pastures to go to.

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    4. Gayle Bluemel was an ineffective principal that allowed bullying to go on at both the upper and lower campuses. BTW- both campuses have "guidance" rooms. You can imagine how much time certain squirrely middle schoolers could spend out of the classroom.

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    5. Was this the principal that was selected the 4th of July 2011 Grand Marshal over our hometown hero John Shear?

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    6. To this day I believe that was a result of the Mosca's trying to ingratiate themselves with the school board. That was back when Joe saw himself running for the Assembly.

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    7. Yes. Bluemel was heralded as the hero rather than John Shear! She doesn't even live in Sierra Madre.
      Besides, if she was in charge during the Brandenburg fiasco that same year, what the hell was she doing in such an honored role?

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    8. What Joe and Matt did, as directors of that 4th of July parade was shameful. They picked this woman at the last minuet when other people with more character turned it down. They desperately wanted to exclude a 90 year old man, John Shear, who saved a child's life at Santa Anita on March 12, 2011. John spent 35 days fighting for his life in Huntington Memorial Hospital.

      The efforts of Gary Hood, passing out 100's of post cards around town for signatures of Sierra Madre residents, asked that they request Mr. Shear to be our Grand Marshall of the 4th parade, getting 100's of signatures by residents, John would not have even been considered.
      The efforts of MaryAnn MacGillivray, a personal friend of John Shear, the city council, at that time, Mosca, Buchanan, Walsh and Moran would not have even honored John at all.
      I am very sure of this.
      The reason: Mosca, Buchanan, Moran and Walsh and all the rest of the dirts dislike, John Shear's wife, political volunteer, Diane Shear.
      Former fire volunteer, Michael Bamberger, a close dirt supporter and ally was the only person in town who accept one of Gary Hood's postcards supporting John. I know this because I was there when it happened. An astonished, Gary Hood, asked Bamberger, "why won't you support this hero, John Shear"? Bamberger's answer...."I don't like his wife". I think he failed to add "we really dislike John's friend, former Mayor, MaryAnn MacGillivray". I believe this to be very likely.
      A perfect example of Sierra Madre's dirty little secret....these DIRT people are anything but civil. Most of them aren't even DECENT.

      This is what happened.

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    9. Maybe they should name the Guidance room in Bluemel's honor?

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    10. Everything the Moscas did was for political gain. They didn't care about anything else.

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    11. @8:52- but if they were going to blatantly deny Shear, they should have at least found someone without so many nasty skeletons in her closet.

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    12. Good one 8:54. The BAG. Bluemel Autism Gulag.

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    13. Hey Tony, are you talking about the SSC team Richey? I always wondered about that too. So there's no bylaw regarding a husband (parent) and wife (teacher) team creating a position of influence on the school site council? I'll have to look into that. The SSC needs to consider all the students not just the "smarties".

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  2. Precisely, and when someone comes along that actually understands the concepts they so proudly hail, and tries to hold the practitioners responsible for the rhetoric they brag about, everything goes crazy. I spent an hour talking to the current principal this week. I am happy to say there has been some change since they rat packed my family, at least in theory. Practice is yet to be seen.

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  3. I understand the the parent of this special needs child is himself a elementary school teacher. I would like to hear from him what are the rules in the school district where he teaches that would better serve children such as his. Has he ever thought of getting an interdistrict transfer for his (three) children over the years where they might have been better served? Also, I never heard of ths condition of sensory overload (it was described in a previous tattler post) that his current son is overwhelmed by but I wonder how any 'regular' classroom can turn off the exhuberance and resulting overload that is normal for a elementary classroom bunch to be the calm, learning environment that his son needs.

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    1. you are referring to a PATCH post, and have followed us here, haven't you, 752? OK, well, i'll play. 1) why should my children have to go to school in another district? don't i LIVE is sierra madre/PUSD boundaries? Aren't you REALLY suggesting i take my kids somewhere else- as a "nice" of saying we don't BELONG HERE? i am reading you correctly, so don't start some whiny "i didn't mean that" because I know who you are and why you asked..... 2) Look up sensory processing, magellan. i am not your researcher...... 3) i work within a selpa called wacsep, who were a leader in special education and the district i serve uses rules that fall within those parameters..... 4) if PUSD fight against parents receiving those services in their own parameters, do you really think they'' hand that money to another school district? really? get real. if that was an option don't you think every family would sue for PUSD to send their kids to san marino or arcadia?

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    2. Oh, it's Lou Educe aka 7:52! Found a new place to bully the Brandenburgs? I don't recall another Tattler post re: sensory processing.

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    3. @7:52- why on earth should the Brandenburgs take their kids elsewhere? Maybe they'll kick the PUSD in the pants to finally make some seriously needed changes- including getting rid of Honowitz.

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    4. Getting rid of Honowitz should be top priority before he sells off more of PUSD.

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    5. Quite an operation Mr. Ed is running. Oversee declining enrollment at the PUSD, then do deals with developers with the now excess property.

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    6. Good point 9:38. How is it he's not being seriously called on it yet?

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    7. Nobody is watching. Most people buy into the inane PR the PUSD puts out and think everything is ducky.

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    8. Maybe some more exposure will get the right people interested in investigating this money making operation. Honowitz has way too much freedom to do as he pleases in PUSD and on the Board of Ed. Why does he get to do whatever he wants? Who's going to call him on it?

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    9. I believe its because Tony is the Front Man, for one of the most influential Punk Bands of all time Adolescents. And there taking it out on there child, because its not there taste in Music. Sad But true its called biggetry in Music.

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    10. And don't forget he lives in a purple house!

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    11. 8:07, you make a good point. The Brandenburgs come from a subculture that is not understood. Add to that the fact that they are outspoken, even in the face of bullying. They have to defend themselves, and their child- but no one else did, why? But to blame the child for the parents is beyond wrong.

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  4. Check out the SARC report for suspensions at Sierra Madre school 2010-12

    http://www.axiomadvisors.net/LiveSARC/Presentation/SARCAdministration/Portals/Portal1/Detail.aspx?CDS=19648816021737&LanguageID=1&Preview=False&Category=+&DivID=DCL

    They reported ZERO suspensions. I know for a fact of TWO documented suspensions. Where does that paperwork go?

    In school suspensions (aka Guidance room) should also be reported to the state, and clearly are not in this report from the state.

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    1. Not surprised re: the deflated reporting.

      PUSD is having some trouble with diparities amongst children of color and special education and their (reported) suspension rates. Here's a link to some interesting info re: suspensions. We shared this information at a PUSD Board meeting, and with the the Student Safety subcommittee- given they're also putting more police officers on the campuses. Talk about the school to prison pipeline? It's going quite well in PUSD.

      http://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/resources/projects/center-for-civil-rights-remedies/school-to-prison-folder/summary-reports/suspended-education-in-california

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  5. And here's the link to the support staff. There's 3 "inclusion" teachers at the school. Now if PUSD does not have a defined program for inclusion, what are the job specs?

    http://www.axiomadvisors.net/LiveSARC/Presentation/SARCAdministration/Portals/Portal1/Detail.aspx?CDS=19648816021737&LanguageID=1&Preview=False&Category=+&DivID=CSS

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  6. So glad to send my daughter to private Catholic school at St. Rita's. Absolutely zero tolerance for bullying, drugs, fighting, foul language, racial intolerance, indecent attire. You can observe the difference in quality of the students from St. Rita's to Sierra Madre elementary each day as they come into Kersting Ct. Its night and day. People around town boast how SM elementary is a good school and there may be many great kids from great families there. But then there are the others you have to deal with. At St. Rita and at Gooden there are no "others"to deal with. You either cut it or your out.

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    1. Oh yes very impressed with St Rita kids....like the one on our city council who took tons of out of town money and got in the pocket of SMPD union. Took pictures of police officers in uniform (which is against the law) so he could represent us..great role model

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    2. 8:30, sorry to say that more goes on at St Ritas than you seem to know about. There are some boys who have a fight club, and as everywhere else, there are drugs. The bad kids in Catholic schools just know how to hide better.

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  7. @7:52- Of course we've considered interdistrict transfers. Understand though, we pay taxes, just like everyone else in Sierra Madre- for our children to attend school in PUSD. Also, what school is going to take a child with a file filled with a pack of lies generated by hate and supported by a team of lawyers to support a cover up? We have just recently gotten what we think is the school file, although I've heard of a special locked filing cabinet in the district offices for "certain" reports......so now we can start correcting the damage to his reputation.
    If you really are interested in sensory overload, as it commonly is associated with autism, here's a link:
    http://theebrandenburgs.blogspot.com/2012/08/disobedience-or-disability-essay-on.html
    Given the fact of decreased funding for schools and an increasing rate of autism (1:88)- schools have to figure out how to serve these students, as well as all students with diverse learning needs. It can be as simple as having a "chill" zone for ALL students to go to regroup (not a time out/guidance room), get some peace, etc.

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    1. Lou Educe, aka Edugreat, has followed the Brandenburgs throughout the internet for two years. She, or her co-conspirators, started back in 2010 on facebook, by creating a couple of identities, posted some lies there and then screen saved them- and which were then attributed to the Brandenburgs. She then presented them to PUSD staff who passed it on to PUSD legal counsel as evidence to a Federal Agency, the Office of Civil Rights. She will, of course, start saying she is a man and that she is being bullied. She was front and center in the meetings with Honowitz, and orchestrated the removal of the Brandenburg child. Her biggest fear right now is that they will return to SME, and she is trying to "nicely" suggest SEGREGATED alternatives. When she doesn't convince you of her importance and how she has been wronged, she will then turn it on you and them (usually the nastiest Lou-isms happen on Friday nights after the kids are tucked in.)

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    2. Oh, does Lou like to imbibe? Maybe I'll run into him/her at the Buc.

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    3. I too would like to meet Lou. See what all the Ruckus is about!!!

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  8. There is an inkling at the back of my brain that says Principal Blumel's retirement may have been in part to avoid exposure as the Brandenburg family's complaints capture attention. Why isn't the FBI investigating this situation? Does a young child not have rights vested by the Constitution?

    Why are other members of SME resigning, transferring from the school as this whole issue of an autistic child's education goes forward? Education is not the same as warehousing, or is it?

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    1. Good questions 10:08. The Brandenburgs have pointed out the other involved PUSD staff have also left in the middle of all this: Diaz, Blanco, Petrossian. Why does Honowitz believe he's immune in all of this?

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    2. This might be way off base, but I'll ask anyway. When all those people showed up at SME to do their Bluemel flash mob dance, what was the source of their gratitude? Was it because she had segregated an autistic child from the general student population?

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    3. 10:34- not too off base. Think about how they were able to hide such a major production from her. She could just as easily kept her dirty little secret amongst her appointed group of parents.

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    4. check this out, mary and/or i went to that school every day as that flash mob (as opposed to petition mob) was planned, and live two blocks from the school. we were totally surprised when it happened, even though both police and fire depts were involved. this seems no big deal except for a couple of things- the school was WIDE OPEN TO STRANGERS and all this happened and it was done totally stealth - - - try to convince me that these same buzzards couldn't bully a kid out of school the same way...... it was the public docs, and LOU EDUCE'S BRAGGING that finally tipped us and gave up HONOWITZ, SME PTA, BLUEMEL, and DIAZ. thanks, lou!

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  9. i would also suggest you read the comments on the la weekly article and look at lollipop theif, then click on his previous posts, and then ask yourselves some questions: 1) doesn't this person have a lot of law enforcement knowledge? (funny, the lollipop thief is a kid's movie about a detective, something that would be appropriate fare for a parent with a...... i dunno.... NINE YEAR OLD) 2) more interestingly, doesn't this person have a lot of knowledge about PROPERTY LAW? 3) since the article he commented on was about the Brandenburgs of SIERRA MADRE, and ran buried in the MUSIC SECTION, what exactly, and why, did this person choose to read it and then post? it's ALL SO CONNECTED

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    1. Well, didn't the Brandenburgs already discuss the involvement of an LA city attorney? Doesn't Mrs. Honowitz hide the fact that she was a city attorney? Maybe that's why Honowitz isn't worried about getting caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar.

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  10. I am the person who posted at 7:52 this morning and have not followed this story for the past two years and do no know who Lou Eudice is. If I did not see this child's educational difficulties referred to in a tattler post it may have been something I saw in a Tattler reprint of the parent's posts or blogs. My questions and comments triggered an appalling response which is beyond non-productive.

    Just so you will know, I am a retired secondary school teacher from a district on the far side of LA. County (31 years) and I had my son on an inter district transfer for twelve years.

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    1. @11:05- I wouldn't take it too personally. Your comments were innocent enough, but given the situation the Brandenburgs have been faced with tend to trigger a knee jerk reaction from many. They've been told to leave town if they don't like the way their son was treated. They've been told their son doesn't belong.
      Besides the Brandenburgs, no family should feel forced because of sub par education, bullying, etc. to have to put their children on an inter district transfer, nor a private school, unless it's by choice.

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    2. The assault on the Brandenburgs on Patch was brutal. Hundreds of posts from a handful of operatives containing the most vicious personal attacks.

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    3. 11:05, was your child transferred to a school more convenient for you to transport and interact with since you were travelling to that area each day anyway? Big difference in motive. Not bad or good necessarily but different.

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    4. 11:46- nice observation. Can teachers get inter district transfers to make it more convenient for those with children?

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    5. 11:43, absolutely! Can you believe what Patch allowed to go on? They allowed anonymous posters to gang up and slag a family and their child. Pretty ugly stuff that could have been moderated if they weren't so concerned with readership.

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    6. dear 752/1105. watch this, and marvel: i made an assumption, added two+two and got twelve, and i apologize. i offer no excuses for my behavior, ask for no forgiveness because in doing so would postulate that you owe me forgiveness, which you do not. my behavior was uncalled for, out of line, and reprehensible. i accept full responsibility for it, and offer again, a sincere apology for the mistake i made in tone and rudeness. the information i gave, however, is accurate.

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  11. I like the Daniel Johnston art on Tony's computer.

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    1. 11:09- Me too. I wonder if Tony was able to channel Honowitz while sitting in his seat.

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    2. 11:25- no, that was just gas.

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    3. Tony Brandenberg, I like your honestly and appreciate your straightforward, no frills approach. I also can see how that may rub some people the wrong way. Keep up the good fight!

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    4. i hope mr. honowitz is aware that i am a habitual nose picker and wiper, and he cleaned his workspace accordingly.

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  12. I'm not understanding this "guidance room" concept. I thought more common practice was a "chill zone" inside the classroom, as well as controlled seating arrangements.

    http://www.redressthestress.co.uk/calm-classroom.asp3

    Or is this just another name for the Principal's office? A few kids always end up there a lot, and it gets handled with the parents. Back in the bad old days, anyway.

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    1. 11:30- this room is (or was?) called the Guidance room. It's separate from the principal's office. Students with major infractions like being suspended would be sent to the principal, while the guidance room is where to send kids to punish, or simply to get them out of the teacher's hair. I've seen kids being rounded up on those monthly "play days" for good behavior- and sent back to the guidance room, whether or not they had an infraction on that day.

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    2. @11:30- great point regarding the "chill zone" INSIDE the classroom. This guidance room, which is funded by donated money from the annual fund (I think) houses naughty children, kind of like the recess bench, but during INSTRUCTIONAL time.
      There's something very wrong about this, especially when the children are not being counseled as the name of the room would imply. Writing standards does not teach a thing, neither does separating the children that need the most attention from educators.

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  13. Sierra Madre being part of the Pasadena Unified School District, the way it's set up......this is yet another factor that keeps our property values down here in Sierra Madre.
    I feel sorry for people who can't afford to have their children in expensive private schools. They are forced to send their children to PSUD schools.

    What can we do to change this? I don't have children in school anymore, but I would be willing to have my tax dollars go to a better system....maybe a voucher system, where private schools could compete for students? Things are always better when taken out of the greedy and corrupt government statists, such as the people who run Sierra Madre, run Los Angeles County and run the State of California, and of course one other that is currently running the U.S.

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    1. You would be willing to have your dollars go to a better system? Easy, donate directly to the schools (PTSA or annual fund). They are in the best position to use those funds to help the kids. Or vote for prop 38. If passed, it would essentially do the same thing, but as a tax. Anyway, if you live in Sierra Madre, it's likely that your taxes pay for a lot more than just PUSD.

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    2. It's hard to watch as the Board of Education talks about all the cut backs in PUSD, but send the entire Board up to San Francisco, air fare, hotels, conference, etc. This is to go to the CSBA conference that will be showcasing Mr. and Mrs. Ed's community schools workshops. Hmmmm.......I wonder what Honowitz's kick back for this conference will be, while PUSD staff are layed off?

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    3. Navigio - yes, that is always the solution with you guys. More taxes, more bonds solves all problems.

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    4. 6:37, the poster said they'd be willing for their tax money to be used in different ways, so I provided some options.
      Nope, more money does not solve all problems, but it does solve some of the problems that are created by lack of money. Specifically, it does not solve the fact that our community does not care enough about its public school kids to even bother paying attention to the arguments.
      for the record, I HATE that honny blindly asks for more money. Let me repeat that: I HATE it. I think in the end he's shooting himself in the foot. That said, I understand why he resorts to that tactic and its because its difficult to impossible to engage community members in substantive discussions about school funding. Half the people just dont care about the kids in public education anyway. Most of the other half are too busy to bother. It will get interesting next year when the state starts defaulting.. maybe then people will start paying attention, but somehow I doubt it..

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    5. But Navigio, to many it appears that Honowitz is engaging in the fund raising efforts to help himself- politically, financially, whatever. If Honowitz really cares about education, why does he publicly attempt to discredit people who DO care about public education, but question his tactics? It happens time and time again. Just go to a subcommittee meeting with the guy- he's a bully.

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  14. Are they still forcing garbage collection as a punishment? Maybe OSHA should get involved, or the Dept. of Health. I bet those kids aren't wearing protective gloves.

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  15. I'm curious as to the justification of removing the school library in order to fund a non educational guidance room? How did that one fly by the school site council?

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  16. 7:52 a.m. here. I asked for and easily was granted an interdistrict transfer for purposes of before and after school child care and availability in case of emergency. After a few years PUSD wanted to know when my husband, the child's father worked, in case he worked close by and my request for the transfer was not completely necessary (he worked further away). After that early childhood criteria was less inportant the transfer continued because of continuing educational outcomes. All reasons for interdisctirct transfers have their own basis in what parents want. My "innocent" question was also in referrence in perhaps a mistaken understanding that one of the parents in the current controversy is in fact a special education teacher.

    As a retired high school teacher you can bet that I am not easily insulted but my comment on the reaction to my first post's questions as being "appalling and ...unproductive..." is this: I taught my students that if they wanted me to hear them, and expect a positive response, they had to go back to their desk, rephrase the question and ask me again the way they would like to be spoken to." I never listen to anyone who yells at me.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to reply, 7:52 am. I believe both of the Brandenburgs are special education teachers (I gleaned that from their posts over time).

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    2. Yes, we are both dual credentialed teachers. Keeping that in mind..... given all the parent pressure, PUSD tried to force our son into a non public placement in Altadena by filing due process against us. We instead asked that we be given authorization to teach him at home, with related services (speech, occupational therapy, etc.) funded by the district. It would have been much cheaper, but would have left the "problem" too close to the heart of the matter. The fact that I wanted my child to socialize in Sierra Madre, with children he should be growing up with was not going to be allowed.

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    3. yes, i have dual credentials, but right now i feel like the student

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  17. For some time I've been of the mindset that education is secondary to politicizing and posturing within the public school industry. Children, their educational facilities, and the body of work that demonstrates how best they can be taught given the challenges they present to their teachers, are sorted as if they were citrus travelling the grading belt in a packing house. The story of the Brandenburgs and their quest for a public school solution leads me to believe I'm correct. Our family has had students at Gooden School, St. Rita's, and Alverno as well as Sierra Madre Elementary, Wilson Middle School, and PHS. I resent the poster who thinks that public school students are inferior to private school students. Any school system can teach those who come to class presenting no issues. It's those youngsters and their families who buck the system to demand what they are entitled to by law that suffer. There are no do overs in a child's path through K-12. A year held back, a year swept along - a waste of intolerable measure.

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    1. resent my post or not. St. Rita's Gooden and Bethany students far exceed those of public schools like it or not. Its proven. Sorry to burst your bubble.

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    2. Proven in what way 2:12 pm? Better educated? Better deportment? Wealthier parents? More expensive extracurricular activities? Or a better socioethnic class of student?

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    3. 2:12, you are speaking in general terms about averages as measured through standardized testing.
      There is no child who hungers for learning that cannot do well in any school, there are no doors that are necessarily shut in a dedicated student's face because he or she went to a public school, even a bad one. It is a mistake to think that a student is entirely defined by a school.

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    4. I've worked at both St. Rita's and in public schools. All I can say is that I hope that things have changed since sister Patrice's reign of terror. The piling on of homework is probably heavier in the private school to make up for the lack of teacher training. Remember, they don't require credentials in private schools.

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  18. i agree. i am always a little torn when people from the private education sector/belief system point out that many of the elements that affect kids in public school don't affect kids in private school because private schools can just '86 them. i admire and applaud people who choose the private path for their children- i personally believe that individual rights to educational choice are critical- but that path isn't available for all, for whatever reason..... public education is. while i can certainly send my older two over to Alverno and La Salle, the option for parochial school is not an option for my youngest, nor relevant to him- but i suppose we could easily force the public system to pay out 100K a year to send him to a different private special school AND a parochial school, too. Ultimately, WE CHOOSE to send him to public school because we believe in public education. It is that simple. 12:50, you hit it straight on the head. we are where we are because we wanted a public education for him- and we got tangled up in a mess for it. we actually were saving THE DISTRICT money by asking for a design that was creative and specific to his needs. to PUSD it wasn't about saving OUR COLLECTIVE TAX MONEY, it was about a POLITICS. there are no do overs, and it is due to the kindness of friends, family, and strangers, that we have been able to adjust a very unique situation to help him have people to even TALK to. He has missed out on the holiday parties, the same age birthdays, etc. and wasted a year in a segregated classroom where he wasn't taught the two subjects he was there to learn, though we spent the better part of a year asking that it be done. since special ed segregated classes are generally in a vacuum with skills so splintered it is hard to tie instruction together, the likelihood that a teacher can reach all the learners is questionable. in our situation, it was a failure.

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  19. Why don't we have the Green Advisory Committee work on this with PUSD. Aren't they supposed to be the brightest people in the room?

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  20. @12:14 your just jealous that you cant afford to send your kids to St. Ritas or Gooden.Councilman Harabedian whether you like him or is very successful for his age. Your probably jealous that you dont have a good education and were stuck in a low end job your whole life. Harabedian went to St.Francis and excelled well enough to go to top universities and law school. I commend him for his academic excellence. cant say much of the loser's that come out of PUSD.

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    1. Oh, pleeze. Mr. Harabedian would have done well regardless of the school he attended. There is no question but that he is bright. But YOU do him a disservice by slinging s**t at 12:13 pm. Can you not command the words that come from your mouth?

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    2. There is no doubt that Harabedian is bright, but he is also a bit of a waffler. The impression he leaves is that he never says what he is thinking, but rather says what he wants those listening to do.

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    3. 2:09, elitism is the ugliest form of jealousy

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  21. Hey Mod,
    I'd delete the 2:09 post. Too hateful of PUSD students, wow.

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  22. Class warfare erupts on The Tattler.

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  23. Some of you folks need to find a less stressful level of entertainment. Take a deep breath, and then try and remember the last time you kissed your children. Would you have said any of this then?

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    1. thank you, 12:25. that sounds like a great idea. i will hug them, too, in your honor, and as a reminder to what is important in this world.

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  24. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Just when you thought things couldn't get worse ...

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    2. welcome to my nightmare

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    3. Wasn't that the name of an Alice Cooper album?

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    4. my favorite golfer

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    5. Or The Gin Blossoms' "New Miserable Experience"

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    6. I saw that tour. Alice ran around stage with a giant toothbrush fighting off mean teeth.

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    7. "have you seen lucky?" by the steves

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    8. Steve and the Missing Posts: "Where have All the Flowers Gone?"

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    9. REO Stevewagon, "it All looks like Joshua Tree from Mars"

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    10. The Rolling Steves, "I Can't Get No Tattlerfaction"

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    11. "I fought the Blog, and the Blog won."

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    12. little steve and the disciples of soles, "two steps from nowhere"

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    13. jan and steve, "steve city" and "little old steve from pasadena"

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    14. Surfin' Stevefari.

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  25. "our child, who has autism"

    I hate to tell you this, but you are also going to find yourself finding less and less acceptance amongst the autistic civil rights movement if you keep that up, too. I do not have autism. I am autistic. If you do not understand the distinction between these two statements, then please stop trying to speak for us. Because the curebies are the ones who are trying to create this illusion that our autism is something separate from us, and we are the ones who will suffer the consequences if they are allowed to succeed. If you think nothing of helping them, we do not want you speaking for us.

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    1. @5:50 am- there is strength in numbers and the in-fighting over owning it or having it is really just semantics. The goal is respect, not tolerance- from anyone. I, for one, am not looking for cures- and the assumption on your part re: the author is only that. Judging and disrespect is a two way street. Who says the author is looking for acceptance from anyone- he's clearly looking for justice for his son.

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    2. 5:50am- Are you trying to say that the placement of words/labels is the determination of whether or not you will demand equity and justice for others? Get over yourself.

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    3. my eyes ARE blue. I am a person WHO HAS blue eyes. the eyes do not define who i am, they are, however, something I HAVE. these are SEMANTICS. you also make a few assumptions. FIRST you assume that i am not autistic myself. if I AM a person WITH autism, or I AM a person who HAS autism, or I AM AUTISTIC is MY right to define. I understand that, but so should you. I don't tell you how to label yourself, your family, or your movement. .... but like it or not, we parents are on the line all over this world fighting a war that all of the semantics in the world aren't going to solve. SECOND you assume that the parents don't HAVE autism, or ARE autistic (you choose your semantic) themselves and have a hard enough time dealing with neurotypical bigots railroading their kids, AND THEN to have the autistic community kick them a second time over something as ill-defined as IS versus HAS. Are you following me? The THIRD assumption you make is that YOU can speak on behalf of MY CHILD, and advocate for MY CHILD from wherever in this world you happen to be sitting. This child we are discussing is mine, and you just coming in here and farting in the room and leaving us with the smell doesn't solve our problems. and FINAL assumption is that i am a cureby. i couldn't care less if a person HAS or IS or DOESN'T or ISN'T because i still have to go out there and deal with ALL OF THEM anyway. you would better serve OUR cause by worrying about the scientist who take out the HAS and make it IS because as they get closer to genetic markers, the closer they get to the final question/solution. i suggest you put your energy into THAT and leave THIS BATTLE to me.

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    4. i am going to wrap up this part of our dialoge with this story and comment. One day my child (don't assume which one, there are three) was screaming and screaming at the mall in the food court. it was hard enough to be there in the first place- the lights were super bright, the echo was confusing, and i am sitting with a toddler screaming and can't be comforted. a total stranger comes up, and she began scolding me for my child's cries, how it was ruining her delicious moby jack mcluncheon, and told me to quiet him down or go away. i told her to f/o and that my child was exercising his first amendment and self advocating. you see, my autistic (IS as oppsed to HAS) poster, self advocacy begins very young, and has to be shaped. oh, believe me, he has self-advocated. the result was that an army of neurotyps ripped his childhood to ribbons, chased him out of school, and then tried to destroy his family. self advocating has a price, my poster who IS, not HAS.

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  26. Just a few comments, a portion of which will probably be unpopular.

    Popular: First, I do believe that all children are entitled to receive a public education that includes reasonable accommodations for individual needs, so it is indeed imperative that children with behavioral issues - whatever the cause - receive appropriate assistance from the school district.

    Perhaps less popular but nevertheless true: I also believe that children who are behaving appropriately and are trying to learn should not be forced to endure the distractions and loss of teacher time caused by the disruptive few.

    So how does a school district with limited resources strike a balance between accommodation and inclusion?

    Now for the unpopular but nevertheless true part: Perhaps the problem is not in the "striking a balance" portion of the question but actually resides in the "limited resources" part. Maybe, just maybe, the elephant in the room is - brace yourselves - Prop 13, which undeniably eviscerated the funding of public schools in California. The simple answer is that if you want the service - in this case a reasonable accommodation that actually works - you must be willing to pay for it.

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    1. 7:50.......ok, so then we're talking about overturning Federal law, IDEA, etc?
      All because the school districts mismanage the funds they have?
      Shouldn't the funds go straight to the students?
      So why do the Chiefs of PUSD all make 100,000+?
      Why is it that Honowitz and his gang can sell properties and do whatever he pleases, but not necessarily for the benefit of the students?
      How about the amount of money PUSD is throwing at the Board of Ed to go on an all expenses paid trip to San Francisco to watch Mr. Ed and Mrs. Ed continue sharing their Community Schools propaganda?
      Have you seen the monthly purchase orders for PUSD?
      Besides, parents cannnot bring in their own agencies- it's a liability issue. PUSD forces agencies they contract with to indemnify so they can be dragged into court when there's a problem and PUSD is absolved of everything.
      So before suggesting parents foot the bill for what is guaranteed by law, consider what's really at the heart of the matter.

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    2. 8:12 am, BTW, it's closer to $150 K for the PUSD Chiefs.......some of whose time Honowitz can broker out to wheel and deal property sales with the city of Pasadena.

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    3. 7:50: The PUSD lawyers are running the district, and have been for a long time. Those figures that they post for the public are so off it's disgusting. Try and do a public records request for the figures, and to see how many law firms they retain. Why do they need to spend so much money on so many lawyers?

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    4. haha, great splitting it into a dichotomy. easy pieces for my saturday morning head. money has to come from somewhere, i concur. whether or not it is from me directly (out of my pocket) or indirectly (out of my paycheck) is moot in our case. Mary, a fully qualified specialist in the field, was willing to sit and provide direct support in school, free. she was told by staff and administration that she could not. she was told she could not volunteer. in any event, we pay for a number of services which are provided when other families' kids are playing soccer and little league

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    5. it's not that MORE money is needed, it is HOW IT IS SPENT that i believe needs to be examined. of course, there will be an accountant group that will be hired to do a report on that, and it will cost 80,000K to do.

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    6. And the accounting group will be hand picked by those who do the spending, right?

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    7. 8:12, i believe IDEA is discretionary, so states could opt out and refuse the money. in the special education case im not sure this would change behavior though because IDEA was designed to help states who had already implemented regulations pay for them. So there is likely state law that would provide the same requirements regardless. Perhaps Mary or Tony could correct me if Im wrong about that.
      Regardless, what money are they mismanaging? IDEA has never been fully funded. The feds promised 40% and thus far they have never provided more than 17%, except for the stimulus package, which raised it to 26% for a year or two. States dont fully fund their portion either. Districts have to fund this regardless and the money has to come from somewhere. Its stupid that this situation ends up pitting district-internal parent interests against each other. And btw, Title I has not been fully funded either, not that anyone cares.
      8:12, can you delineate the costs associated with the trip to SF? It would be interesting to see whether board members are picking up any of that cost themselves. FWIW, if I were a board member, I'd refuse to go if the district were funding it.. of course, I have a place to stay in SF so thats easy for me.. ;-)

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    8. No Navigio- no idea how much such a trip would cost. Should show up on the next PO, though.
      Given current state of affairs, board members should set the precedent by showing the district and the public, that they too would tighten the belt, and chip in what they can.

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    9. not sure navigio, funding models aren't in my knowledge base, but the state ed code and special ed code probably have some oragnizational information which may outline that info.....? in any event, to say no to federal money, yet being bound by federal law to suport educational guidelines would be counterproductive i am guessing because parents are still going to challenge site and local education based on federal guidelines. that the feds threw money they don't have to states following the laws seems like it should have been a given...... as for the rest: i don't know if i had said anything about mismanagement of funds, but i do believe that spending it wisely is more important that asking for more. i understand the feds don't fund what they say they will fund, and title 1 hasn't been fully funded either, but i also think it's a sad statement on us all that we have to be handed incentives by the state and federal governments to make sure that kids who are hungry get food- and books to learn- and that kids with different learning needs get materials that actually make sense to them so that they can learn...... and i toally agree that splitting heirs for money that doen't exist is totally counter-productive, but i'll never believe that ed honowitz is looking out for my children's interests, nor the interests of people of poverty with his, and his wife's presentations at the califoria state board of educator's good ole boys' and gals' barbecue, beer, and self congratulatory back slapping round up. that is designed to drum up business, it is another example of how he operates for himself.

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    10. Hi tony, yeah, 8:12 is the one who said mismanagement. to be clear, i have a lot of problems with some things the district does, funding or mgmt wise, but i dont agree that mishandling funds is what has caused the cuts the district has made. I wish it were that easy. I do agree that honny's interests often seem larger than the district. On one hand that seems wrong. On the other, public education is impacted by much larger societal realities. I dont know whether that's his angle.

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  27. Art, music, phys ed, languages, labs, shop classes etc. have been eliminated or cut severely for all. So more money is absolutely needed, especially if you want funds to go disproportionately to the needs of a smaller percentage of the student population. (And please don't read "disproportionately" as a negative comment. It's simply a fact about an essential service).

    Pay up people!

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    1. All that money that used to go to Art, music, phys ed, languages, labs, shop classets etc. have been redistributed to security, administration, consultants, and conventions. Students are an afterthought.

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    2. 9:58. Those things always existed, though, of course, newer laws requiring new approaches, such as accommodating special needs, often require more administrators for implementation, compliance, complaint handling etc. Expenditures for additional security is a function of the times we live in and fear mongering by elected officials and media. Consultants and conventions costs are driven by politicians whose corporate donors try to transfer every last cent from the public coffers to private profit.

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    3. funny you should say that 9:58. According to some other posts, 'decisions' similar to this were reached by at least one school's SSC. So this is a failure of PUSD administration? Or the board? Or district policy? The existence and makeup of SSC is part of state law. And the decision-making is done by members local to the school (parents, teachers, staff). That doesnt make their decisions right, but it does change who one should blame if they dont agree with them.
      Anyway, I'd love to see an outline of how this money has been redistributed. Most per-pupil ratios for support staff have been steadily rising. And california as a whole is about the worse-staffed state out of all of them. As someone else mentions, there are PO lists published about once a month that can be used to verify the numbers...

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