I'm posting two links to an article in today's Gazette about the evaluation of special education in Amherst. The special education evaluation was briefly presented at the most recent Regional SC meeting, but there will be a longer discussion of this evaluation at a future meeting. I was struck (and commented at the time) that this evaluation, while relatively thorough, didn't include virtually any examination of our special education costs (which I believe was asked to be completed by the SC last spring), and in particular whether our staffing levels were appropriate in terms of our population. I am struck that the Amherst Regional schools employ four special education administrators (all making over $95,000), which seems odd to me since we employ (as of last year) not a single person whose job is to focus on curriculum/evaluation/instruction (and even now, we have only one person -- the Curriculum Director). I have met and talked with many parents who are involved in special education in Amherst, and, as noted in this article, satisfaction is not particularly high, which concerns me. I believe we need to set developing recommendations for improving special education in Amherst a high priority for the upcoming year. Here are the two links: http://gazettenet.com/2010/07/02/mixed-reviews-special-ed-amherst, and http://gazettenet.com/2010/07/02/key-findings.
One more note: there is also a front page article stating that the DA has NOT issued the expected ruling on blogs, but has sent the concerns raised by School Committee chairs to the Attorney General. Here is that link: http://www.gazettenet.com/2010/07/02/da-shifts-blogging-query-attorney-general.
My Goal in Blogging
I started this blog in May of 2008, shortly after my election to the School Committee, because I believed it was very important to both provide the community with an opportunity to share their thoughts with me about our schools and to provide me with an opportunity for me to ask questions and share my thoughts and reasoning. I have found the conversation generated on my blog to be extremely helpful to me in learning community views on many issues. I appreciate the many people who have taken the time to share their views. I believe it is critical to the quality of our public schools to have a public discussion of our community priorities, concerns and aspirations.