Friday, December 18, 2009

ACTION ALERT: FLORIDA - Public Hearing Jan 19, 2010 to Discuss Excluding Alternative Schools From Accountability

Forwarded Message from Attorney Rosemary N. Palmer:

Please forward this email as widely as possible, asking your friends and friends of those who oppose discrimination to write the Board of Education in opposition to excluding alternative schools from the same accountability as other schools.

FLDOE has just announced its differential accountability rule, which is set for public hearing January 19, 2010 in Tampa (unknown time and place, contact The rule sets out what schools where students aren't learning have to do to fix it. The rule excludes alternative schools, including special education day schools, second chance schools which are disproportionately populated by students of color and students with disabilities, whether or not identified under IDEA or 504, who have typically been sent there because school districts have failed to provide research proven interventions in less restrictive environments, and similar schools, from full accountability when they continue to fail students .. (See )

Apparently school districts have argued that the populations are too fragile and and too mobile for school districts to be required to close them when they cannot fix the problems after 1 year in Intervene status (which follows multiple years in prevent and correct status --- most of the ESE schools are now in Correct or Correct II status throughout the state).

However we know that students with disabilities whether or not identified and students of color ought to be equally entitled to the benefits of differentiated accountability. After years of knowing that such schools do not implement research proven interventions with fidelity and do not produce results (not to mention assigning personnel to such schools after they have failed in some way in non-alternative schools), we all know that school districts will NOT have any incentive to fix the problems until they know that they must implement interventions that actually educate in those schools too, and they are subject to ultimate sanctions of disbanding the schools if they cannot find a way to successfully educated the students there assigned, just like other schools are. Indeed, exempting alternative schools gives districts additional incentives to throw away students with disabilities rather than educate them, and also continues practices of using more restrictive environments that clearly don't work any way, which are also in violation of the law..

I say that students with disabilities (and students of color to the extent that they are disproportionately represented in alternative schools) deserve to be in schools that teach. Let's tell FLDOE and the Florida Board of Education that passing a rule exempting alternative schools from Intervenor status is discrimination, pure and simple.

People you need to contact
Dr. Eric J. Smith Commissioner of Education
Office of the Commissioner Turlington Building, Suite 1514
325 West Gaines Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Phone: (850) 245-0505
Fax: (850) 245-9667

(850) 245-9661
325 W. Gaines Street
Suite 1520
Tallahassee, Florida 32399

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League of Greater Miami, Inc.

PETER BOULWARE, Vice president of Legacy Toyota, Tallahassee FL
DR. AKSHAY DESAI, President, CEO and Chairman of Universal Health Care, St. Petersburg, FL
ROBERTO MART├ŹNEZ , Colson, Hicks, Eidson, Coral Gables FL

Thank you for your help. It will take us all writing and calling to make a difference.

Rosemary N. Palmer
Attorney at Law
FBN 070904 UBN 005004
5260 Pimlico Drive
Tallahassee FL 32309
850 668 9203

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