The initial proposals to be presented — or “sunshined” — to the Oakland Education Association at Thursday night’s board meeting don’t mention any numbers. (The meeting is on Thursday, rather than Wednesday, because of the Yom Kippur holiday.)
Instead, they call for a restructuring of the step-and-column system, a career ladder for teachers, revamped evaluation systems and an agreement to give “school governance teams greater voice in determining the composition of their school staff teams.”
Here’s the text from the memo the Oakland school district administration circulated yesterday with its rationale for the recent last-minute special education resource teacher reassignments. Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos told the school board that nine of the 26 teachers were reinstated to their original schools. It sounded as though more might follow.
OEA President Trish Gorham said this to the administration, noting that actual student numbers won’t be known until school starts: “It’s OK to admit you were wrong. Accept it, own it, hit the pause button. … For the sake of over 500 of our most vulnerable students who are affected by this outrageous proposal, do the right thing.”
August 22, 2012
Memo on Program for Exceptional Children (PEC) Staff Reassignments
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. Continue Reading →