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Special education families want their kids in school as soon as possible. The unions don't.

Original post made on Aug 12, 2020

Parents of students with disabilities are approaching the start of a new online school year with deep apprehension, pleading with the district to find a safe way to offer in-person instruction to their children.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, August 12, 2020, 9:30 AM

Comments (22)

13 people like this
Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 12, 2020 at 10:57 am

What Will They Do Next is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


43 people like this
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Aug 12, 2020 at 11:29 am

Kathy is a registered user.

It would be nice if the teachers' union put the interests of students and their education above the interests of its adult members. But that's not realistic.

Teachers are considered essential workers.


40 people like this
Posted by Teachers Union Deserting Special Ed Students
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2020 at 11:48 am

Teachers Union Deserting Special Ed Students is a registered user.

@ Union president: 'I really hope we put healthy and safety above everything'

If the Teachers Union President were putting "health and safety above everything", she and her union member teachers would bring the PAUSD Special Ed students back in person to address the health and safety of the special ed students. Not bringing special ed students back in person is a TRAVESTY and CRIMINAL. I do not have a special ed student, but I agree we need to "prioritize and value the need for educating these students in a way that they can access it and using whatever means necessary to get that done". I can't even begin to imagine how crushing this experience is for these families of students with special needs and how desperate they must feel. I'm thoroughly disgusted with our Teachers Unions and any teacher who says the union speaks for them. A sign of a compassionate society is one that takes care of those who need it the most when it counts the most - and that is our special ed students who need in person instruction now more than ever. Thank you Elena for bringing this to light. The PAEA makes me ill.


28 people like this
Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2020 at 11:51 am

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

If it’s not safe for Regular Education teachers to return, then it is not safe for Special Education teachers to return. This has nothing to do with the teachers union “not caring about students.”

[Portion removed.]

Obviously, as the article states, the parents have been dealt a tough hand. The silver lining in this when things do return to normal in person instruction, is that there should be a new found appreciation for the job that regular education and special education teachers do on a daily basis. These parents are somewhat understandably verbalizing their desperation( I have empathy for them) of wanting a return to in person services. Granted, these parents aren’t expected to be special education experts, but by the same token these are their own children and they are dealing with one child. If they are struggling this much at home with their own children, just think of the incredible job these Special Education teachers are doing on a daily basis for about seven hours a day, with about 12 students that have completely diverse special needs if these parents are having a hard time getting their own child to sit in front of a computer unattended for 15 minutes like the article states. Maybe the pandemic will lead to less talk about teacher lay offs and teacher pay cuts in this forum and lead to more teacher appreciation as this unfortunate time has shown how teachers have been taken for granted and possibly underpaid for the services they provide. You often don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone.


18 people like this
Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2020 at 12:02 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

“Teachers are considered essential workers.”
Please stop posting misinformation.

Teachers are essential. Yet during the novel coronavirus pandemic, they have not been designated as or treated as essential front-line workers in the United States.

Here is the link for who has been deemed an essential worker in California. Teachers are not on this list.

Web Link

[Portion removed.]
Please list your thoughtful suggestions on how you would keep school safe for children and staff to help everyone out so that Special Education can return to campus for in person instruction as quickly as possible.


21 people like this
Posted by Paly Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Aug 12, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Paly Teacher is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


33 people like this
Posted by New Parent
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 12, 2020 at 12:36 pm

New Parent is a registered user.

What is stopping PAUSD from temporarily hiring instructors to teach special ed kids in learning pods? The county has already said learning pods are legal (or at least that they aren't illegal). Judging by the daily posts I see on Facebook and Nextdoor, other groups are having success staffing their learning pods with young, enthusiastic teachers who are willing to teach in person. Many of the learning pod teachers (while perhaps lacking teaching credentials) are recent college graduates and appear, at least by their resumes, to have fantastic backgrounds.


36 people like this
Posted by Teachers Union Deserting Special Ed Students
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Teachers Union Deserting Special Ed Students is a registered user.

@ The Voice of Palo Alto
@ Paly Teacher

[Portion removed.] The U.S. Surgeon General stated: "Generally, when fewer than 10% of COVID-19 tests are returning with positive results in a community, it's safe to resume school, said U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams in a July 24 tweet. Others have suggested a lower rate — 5% — is a safer threshold for starting in-school learning."

Palo Alto has LESS than 4% positive results (and was recently at 2% as teachers union was bargaining to stay home claiming it was too dangerous).

Web Link

But the Teachers Unions have undue power and teachers would never come back to work, happily staying home for pay, if they had their way. While in the meantime everyone else is back to work if they are allowed, ironically supporting these very same teachers [portion removed.]


37 people like this
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Aug 12, 2020 at 1:38 pm

Kathy is a registered user.

Thanks for the correction @Voice of Palo Alto.

The teacher's union exists to serve the interests of its (dues paying) members, and to perpetuate itself.

Teachers themselves can be wonderful --- separately.

Students don't pay dues to the teacher's union.


39 people like this
Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 12, 2020 at 1:44 pm

Facts and Figures is a registered user.

There's some confusion about the law.

No one is asking teachers to come back against State and County recommendations. Rather, we are asking for teachers to come back according to State and County recommendations.

If unions want higher safety standards than the government sets forth, the unions will need forgo the pay and layoff protection provided to their members by SB98.

Although SB98 does not grant furlough protection to teachers who will not work in-person live, furlough protections seem reasonable (job protection, without pay). But full pay does not seem reasonable if the union refuses for teachers to return despite PAUSD and/or SCC meeting the government safety standards.


22 people like this
Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2020 at 1:51 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

“Palo Alto has LESS than 4% positive results (and was recently at 2% as teachers union was bargaining to stay home claiming it was too dangerous)”

Santa Clara County is on the state’s watch list so schools can not reopen. That has nothing to do with union bargaining this was Newsom’s decision. Also, with all of your stats from the surgeon general and positivity rates etc., what is the positivity rate in EPA? You failed to mention it. Finally, the virus seems to be circulating in our county at an increased rate. I added 2781 new cases in Santa Clara County from Aug. 1 through Aug.11(yesterday).

Web Link

[Portion removed.]

“But the Teachers Unions have undue power and teachers would never come back to work, happily staying home for pay, if they had their way.”

This is just your opinion. Many teachers dearly miss their classrooms and students. This is just an easy way of vilifying the union and teachers. Teachers don’t want to “just stay home,” they just want to be safe at work and the union is working to protect their health and safety of their members which is the union’s job. [Portion removed.]
Please stop advocating for teachers and other staff members to take health risks. Teachers are just people working a job who have their own families and they want to feel safe. [Portion removed.]
Here is a link as to what “could happen“ if schools open too soon regardless of statistics:

Web Link


13 people like this
Posted by Teachers Union Deserting Special Ed Students
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 12, 2020 at 8:40 pm

Teachers Union Deserting Special Ed Students is a registered user.

@ The Voice of Palo Alto "Finally, the virus seems to be circulating in our county at an increased rate."

False! Hospitalizations (the only relevant data) are going down in SCC, along with the rest of the state.

SF Chron 8/12/2020 (Today) "Coronavirus hospitalizations decreasing in all 9 Bay Area counties"
Web Link

Cases went up because testing went up from 2,000 tests to 10,000 tests in the past couple months! So of course cases were up. But hospitalizations are DOWN! And on top of it, CA had a data meltdown so all data outside of hospitalizations has been wrong for the past month: "California is showing improvement in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday, citing a significantly lower number of confirmed new cases as the state begins to clear backlogged cases from a data failure." .... "State officials are still working to process the nearly 300,000 coronavirus test results lost because of a data error. "

SFChron 8/12/20 (Today) "Governor: New data show California is 'turning the corner'"
Web Link

P.S. I'm not sure why the person reviewing these comments left in The Voice of Palo Alto's subjective statement that schools are "unsafe" to open (a personal opinion) while removing my objective statement that schools are "safe" to open based on metrics and a quote directly from the US. Surgeon General (not my opinion, this is a statement of fact from a top medical professional). Can we please censor equally and fairly? Thank you.


12 people like this
Posted by The Voice of Palo Alto
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 12, 2020 at 10:44 pm

The Voice of Palo Alto is a registered user.

We can endlessly argue. I will be edited. Half of my post to you already was so please don’t cite “fairness.” I get edited constantly and get no special treatment.

Ironically, my so called “subjective opinion” that it is not safe to return was proven with evidence so it wasn’t subjective. You just didn’t accept the evidence I provided. We are on the state’s watch list therefore it is not safe to return. Returning now would go against current health recommendations. So again, It is not safe to return. Your selected irrelevant stats(surgeon general stats) to state your opinion that teachers are letting down society by not risking themselves by providing an unsafe return was the opinion that was actually subjective. (Also, you never did cite the EPA stats like I asked, although again that got edited so maybe you didn’t see it.)

The “we are testing more so we have more cases” is false logic. Testing IDENTIFIES cases it doesn’t CAUSE them.

Web Link

Also:
However, public health specialists have repeatedly said the data does not indicate that increased testing accounts for the recent surge in daily new cases. To dispel claims that testing is to blame for the country's growing outbreak, epidemiologists point to a figure known as the positivity rate, which indicates the percent of tests that come back positive in a given region.

“False! Hospitalizations (the only relevant data) are going down in SCC, along with the rest of the stat.”

You are only deeming “hospitalizations” as the only “relevant data” as your own opinion. Hospitalizations and deaths are lagging indicators behind known cases. A high amount of disease transmission, or cases, in the county is not good for opening classrooms. I wrote earlier, (but it was deleted) that teachers work in an indoor setting so having a high amount of community transmission and cases would be highly dangerous for teachers. Also, although hospitalizations and deaths are obviously sad, reopening schools is based on declining CASES for 14 days straight. So in this debate cases are the most important indicator not hospitalizations.

SF Chron 8/12/2020 (Today) "Coronavirus hospitalizations decreasing in all 9 Bay Area counties/we are turning the corner”

Great news. If cases continuously drop for 14 straight days then it will be safe to return as that is California’s mandate for reopening schools. We will also unfortunately see how many of the 2781 cases I mentioned earlier from Aug. 1-Aug.11 end up hospitalized. Once cases drop, teachers will go into SB98 protocol for return as Facts and Figures posted earlier.

Finally, I completely disagree with you that schools and teachers need to risk their health to prove they are leaders or heroes of a compassionate society. Schools and teachers already provide meals, parenting, counseling etc. to help fix society’s ills. Battling a deadly disease is too much too ask. It’s enough already for teachers. I drew the line.

Where I do agree with you however, is that you and I are having a good debate and discussion in the comments section here without name calling etc. even though we obviously have different opinions and yet we were both heavily edited. Why?


23 people like this
Posted by Come on!
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 13, 2020 at 1:34 pm

Come on! is a registered user.

This headline is BIASED!

It should read, “Some Parents of Special Education Students Want In Person Learning Even Though it Will Contribute to the Rapid Spread of COVID-19 And Subsequent Unnecessary Death and Suffering.”

I definitely feel for the parents who spoke up at the board meeting. Truth is, we are in an impossible situation. Teachers across the nation are being savaged and plotted against their community partners with divisive rhetoric. We can’t open schools because we decided that bars are more important. It’s not fair to the students either. People arguing for in person school have no idea what why are talking about, but they give others a false sense of security that will end badly. Trust me, the pro-opening people in these threads won’t be there to comfort you if tragedy strikes.

Surely, we can agree that life loss is worse than learning loss. Surely, we can agree that we don’t want to see students, parents, teachers, etc get sick from COVID-19.

Perhaps my assumptions are incorrect. What I do know is that blaming the “union” is unfair and also inaccurate. People who use anti-union language to disparage teachers should go back to watching Hannity while they froth at the mouth over the shrinking middle class.


12 people like this
Posted by VS
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 13, 2020 at 3:19 pm

VS is a registered user.

I would like to see PAUSD fulfill its duty to special ed students. I find the comments critical of families to be really sad. Families are all doing are doing the best they can. Yes, they may know their children best, but they also have jobs and other children to tend to. And, yes, I beleive it is a much bigger responsibility on the family than just "another child." Let's have empathy! Yes, it's hard for all parents right now, but it is a little (or a lot) harder for parents with children who have disabilities! My vote is to give them the priority they deserve while doing so safely for kids and teachers! We can do this!


8 people like this
Posted by VS
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Aug 13, 2020 at 3:20 pm

VS is a registered user.

I would like to see PAUSD fulfill its duty to special ed students. I find the comments critical of families to be really sad. Families are all doing are doing the best they can. Yes, they may know their children best, but they also have jobs and other children to tend to. And, yes, I believe it is a much bigger responsibility on the family than just "another child." Let's have empathy! Yes, it's hard for all parents right now, but it is a little (or a lot) harder for parents with children who have disabilities! My vote is to give them the priority they deserve while doing so safely for kids and teachers! We can do this!


10 people like this
Posted by Teachers Union Deserting Special Ed Students
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 13, 2020 at 3:28 pm

Teachers Union Deserting Special Ed Students is a registered user.

@ The Voice of Palo Alto "Where I do agree with you however, is that you and I are having a good debate and discussion in the comments section here without name calling etc. even though we obviously have different opinions and yet we were both heavily edited. Why?"

Thanks for pointing this out. I agree completely and was thinking the same thing. Even though we disagree, I appreciate this productive debate as it provides food for thought and keeps everyone honest. For what it's worth, I copy everything I post and what has been previously posted by others, so I have a record of it before it disappears. Hence, even though this PA Online editor mysteriously went to town on our respectful and fact based comments (which has never happened to me before), I was able to reference those comments.

When Newsom's state govt cleans up their absurd data mess (unconscionable in the middle of a pandemic), and hopefully this happens quickly (within days), we'll all get a better handle on the reality of this situation. Only then can we all move past media fear mongering (at the local and state level) and resulting panic by looking at accurate numbers. Unfortunately, on the local level, SCC still refuses to break out hospitalizations from out of county on their Dashboard like San Mateo has been doing months! This difference in county reporting is highly relevant. SCC not breaking out the 'out of county' data is unethical for two reasons. First, it's totally misleading to report cases/hospitalizations that were "imported" from out of county as SCC data. Second, SCC is doing other counties a favor by taking their patients into our empty covid units and until we break out that data SCC is getting penalized for that in our numbers, which affects school closings. That's just wrong.


17 people like this
Posted by Laruie
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 14, 2020 at 11:35 am

Laruie is a registered user.

As a mental health professional who works with children with leaning differences, mental health issues and Autism I agree that they will need the IEP services they did not receive starting with the shut down but they can occur on line. I think I find this discussion being very narrow. The CDI, WHO, and our state is saying schools should not open unless they can meet all of the key criteria which Santa Clara does not meet with the rising rate of cases. All of the local private schools and universities has decided to go virtual for that reason. My clients are scared to send their children back to school. Teachers are frightened as well. Many of them are parents, partners, and have older parents. All of my meetings at Stanford are via Zoom, I see all of my clients and run my group programs virtually. Please read about the schools in states where the governor forced them to open. They all closed in the first 2 weeks because of the rapid increase in cases. Our national leaders have provided no national funding for increase in tests and materials needed to make every classroom safe. How many of you are having 20 neighbors or friends in your house for parties? Are going to work for meetings? Most of my clients are only having virtual playdates.


2 people like this
Posted by Laurie
a resident of Green Acres
on Oct 22, 2020 at 9:39 am

Laurie is a registered user.

Why isn't anyone asking is it safe for the kids and their families? I do not see any attempts being made to make creative individual zoom home sessions with the kids and their families. That is what most private clinicians are doing.


Like this comment
Posted by Kathy
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 29, 2020 at 3:38 am

Kathy is a registered user.

I can understand these families, as it's hard to provide all the necessary care and knowledge for children at home. I've done some research using this Web Link to understand the common families' behaviour, and I can say that homeschooling isn't easy in such conditions. This resource provides some essay examples on family themes, and I think it's worth reading. Actually, that major amount of essay databases has excellent content.


Like this comment
Posted by sallysanders
a resident of Downtown North
on Nov 1, 2020 at 12:13 pm

sallysanders is a registered user.

I strongly believe that a fully online model works and e-learning has a lot of advantages. Perhaps, for children in-person learning, is more important as a person feels more support and is more involved in the process. However, for adults, such a learning style Web Link works well and saves lots of time and money. Nevertheless, due to COVID-19, it's better for all of us to stay at home. Be safe and healthy!


1 person likes this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 3, 2020 at 9:06 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I have relatives who are trained in teaching special education students. These students need to be in a special location that exercises their bodies and minds. Most parents do not have the skill set to make that all work.

I am recommending that CHS have a special education set-up for all of the PA students who qualify. The state is now setting up specific funding and we should have a set-up location to qualify for that funding.


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