Special Education PTSA | South Seattle Emerald

by Ari Robin McKenna

A mix of more than a hundred teachers, parents and students showed up at the SoDo district headquarters on Wednesday, October 27 for a rally on a dark and drizzly evening. A number of speeches were made under the partially covered colonnade in front of a red wall. eyeing an estimated gap of $ 78 million for the 2022-2023 school year.

The rally was organized by Seattle Education Association (SEA) in collaboration with the Special Education PTSA (SEPTSA). The protest was in response to news that there would be 50 schools affected by special education staff adjustments – which SEPTSA reported on their Blog. With the slogan “Needs before numbers”, speakers at the rally criticized the impact of these movements in specific schools and the general lack of involvement of parents and teachers in staffing decisions. Participants also questioned whether a disproportionate amount of the 3,440 students left district since 2019 were receiving appropriate special education services.

Tess Bath, Special Education Teacher Assistant in Highland Park‘s Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Program, addressed the crowd warmly. “It’s really nice to be here with all of you. We cried a lot and it’s really soothing to share some space. “The 2021-2022 school year, in the wake of two years disrupted by COVID, was brutal on educators, and Bath read a letter she sent to the district about how staff changes can be disruptive to her work. “SEL is built on consistent and trusting relationships. Breaking them would change the very foundation of our program and our ability to do our work and serve our students… They deserve to have enough support to achieve their IEP. [Individual Education Program] objectives, access their LRE [Least Restrictive Environment], and be considered a priority by their school district.

The disruption that occurs when only one educator has to leave their school and the relationships they have forged is incalculable. But given the context of a pandemic, a massive budget deficit, and a special education system that favors white students, some have expressed doubts about the timing of this rally, and the information that catalyzed it.

continue reading Questions about fairness in the south of the country after the protest highlighted movements of personnel for special education →

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