.

LETTER: North Kingstown Educators Ready to Face Issues

A letter to the editor from the National Education Association North Kingstown.

The teachers of NEA North Kingstown would like to recognize and thank the parents, guardians, and students of our town for the effort and support in working with teachers as a team, which have resulted in excellent math and reading NECAP scores for the district.  NK students have improved a great deal, and it is further proof of the belief that it does “take a village.” In this case, all of us together.  Every day, it is this interaction between educators and families that fosters the success of our schools while enabling students to learn what it means to be an active member of their community.

During this school year, educators have been faced with a number of issues and challenges that have made the effective delivering of instruction more difficult than in the past.  One such change includes the way in which special education IEP meetings occur. Recently, a memo to all teachers stated, “no longer will the team of regular education teachers attend IEP meetings”.   No longer are all educators who instruct a child able to participate; further, “they (the TA) are not part of the team making decisions about the student”, so this process will not include teacher assistants at all.  IDEA special education regs. state that “at least one regular education teacher” be part of the IEP team.  This was put in the regs. to ensure that those delivering instruction were included, since they have the most expertise  in the classroom.  We would like to remind parents that we are here to help, and that parents ultimately have the power to request who they want to have at their child’s meeting.

Another issue is education initiatives such as the rush to give a PARCC test to students before the new common core is fully worked out in this state and in this district.  It comes at a time when our district is working and struggling to master new common core standards before materials and texts are even available, and have resulted in a mad dash to create proper materials to instruct effectively and lead to frustration for the students. 

We, the educators of North Kingstown, stand ready to do our part to move forward, and we invite parents and the rest of the school community to join us in facing these issues as a community for the best interest of every child.

Sincerely,

The Executive Board, NEANK


Dark star April 02, 2014 at 07:45 AM
Teachers and TA's responsibility is to execute the IEP, not influence the verbiage to their liking.
Joe Smith April 02, 2014 at 10:05 AM
recently, a memo to all teachers stated, “no longer will the team of regular education teachers attend IEP meetings”. No longer are all educators who instruct a child able to participate; further, “they (the TA) are not part of the team making decisions about the student”, so this process will not include teacher assistants at all. Makes one hope that these teachers are not instructing children in the areas of critical reasoning and logic. The regulations state "at least one" regular teacher. If you have a child with one, you know that many times it is hard to coordinate "all" teachers involved. The law is written that way not to prevent *all* teachers from participating, but (1) recognizing the difficulty -- including the contractually negotiated item that you can't force teachers to stay or attend if such participation (2) recognizing that if the area being discussed does not involve the "regular" teacher's area of expertise or curriculum area, then it is not necessary for that person to attend (3) recognizing that all members of the team if not participating can still provide written input prior to the meeting Nothing prevents the last point..and nothing prevents the NEA from perhaps modifying their agreement to put in more *required* physical time in exchange for ensuring that all members are present. It is also curious that if you read the state's evaluation of NK spec ed program from a couple of years ago https://www.ride.ri.gov/Portals/0/Uploads/Documents/Information-and-Accountability-User-Friendly-Data/Accountability/reports/North-Kingstown-SSS-Report.pdf you note a less than stellar finding in terms of IEP plans and yet it seems back then the union did not complain but now that a new person seems to be trying to fix those issues, the union now has complaints! As for testing, well, you have to "test" the tests, right? I would agree if the results are being used in any way other than to assess how the tests are being administered, how students perform in the actual "taking* of the test, any kinks in administering, etc.. So, are the tests being used in any teacher or district evaluations? If not, what is the issue?

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »