Just days before reporting to work, 26 of the Oakland school district’s 76 special education resource teachers have received major assignment changes — most, if not all, involving at least one new school, according to the Oakland teachers union’s new president, Trish Gorham.
Linda Grayson, who has worked with special needs children in general education classes at Brookfield and Markham elementary schools — some of them, for three years — said she received a letter Saturday informing her she’d be moved to Global Family, Korematsu and Esperanza.
The letter came as a shock, she said, as she’d been told in June that she’d be returning to the two schools; she’d already held a meeting with the principal of Markham about plans for the year.
“Now we have our most vulnerable children coming back to this,” Grayson said. (She also noted that nearly all of the families at her new schools are Spanish speaking, and that she doesn’t speak Spanish.)
I’ve been getting emails and calls about this development from people concerned that it will undermine the relationships and trust built between families, general education teachers, resource specialists and other staff members. Some, I’m told, will turn out to tomorrow night’s school board meeting.
Here’s what OUSD spokesman Troy Flint reported last night in response to my query about the special education department, whose official name is Programs for Exceptional Children, or PEC. When he has a more detailed response about why this happened, I’ll post that too:
There were an unusually high number of reassignments involving PEC staff. Letters informing staff of the reassignments were sent last week. I’m still gathering information on the rationale for the change, the number of people impacted and some of the details involved with this process, so I can’t give a comprehensive explanation at this time. Suffice to say, there were some major shortcomings in the way this was handled.
Has this shift affected your school?