Friday, October 28, 2011

Special ed student to teacher ratio

On another post Anonymous wrote:

"Can you please start this as a new topic?
Can someone please explain the districts plan to change the special education teacher to student ratio? From what I understand the district wants the union to open there contract and increase their caseload to 25, if they refuse the district will make the ratio 50:1."


Anonymous said...

Nothing to explain. What you stated is the plan. This plan for the budget is all about numbers and nothing about students.

Keep in mind-if they open the contract for this issue, then it opens the door to all other contractual issues.

Anonymous said...

Why does the budget have to be balanced on the backs of students as opposed to the backs of administrators in central office?

Again, schools exist for the education of children, not the advancement of adults.

Why does the Public permit this? Why does no one step up?

We know that the Board members have announced publicly and frequently that they are in place to represent and support the Administration. Why is this never challenged? Does the public know why they vote people into office? Is it not to ensure a good education for children? Or is there unanimity for carte blanche acceptance of whatever C.O. Administration puts forth?

The ignorance about the purpose and the process is profound.

Anonymous said...

I only watched parts of the presentation Dr. Lane did this past week. It is on ppstube on the district website. Probably should not post about what I didn't understand but under the circumstances what choice do we have? It sounds like the Parent Engagement Specialists that exist at 9 schools might become a teacher position, like an added responsibility that a teacher or staffer can do and get extra pay for looooooong hours, if the job is done right. Will the 9 fulltime non-teaching-specialists we have now be eliminated? So much to absorb.

Old Timer said...

Yet another reason to vote ALL PFT executive board members out next year, starting with the "president." These people have continually betrayed rank and file so as to look "progressive" and "cooperative."

They need to be removed, immediately.

Anonymous said...

The Parent Engagement Specialists are generally very good people with strong connections to community. So, since they are based IN SCHOOLS, they learn a lot about the internal workings and goings-on which is frequently communicated to the parents/community.

PPS then loses control of what is communicated beyond the staff and this cannot be tolerated. Again, Central Office protects itself against violations of the official PR.

Typical tactics of a regime that cannot withstand scrutiny or truth.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the stupidity of allowing the conttract to be re-opened, will convince rank and file that the old story of union being in bed with board has gotten extreme- now we have the press in the bedroom shooting the video

Old Timer said...

You need only go to a RISE training session and hear PFT executive board members to understand exactly what betrayal is. Listen, remember the number of individuals who have been terminated, forced to resign or put on improvement plans, and then reflect on all of this.
You may have to pinch yourself to remember that PFT brass not only devised and signed off on a great deal of this, but they also continue to trumpet the process, as well.
Now, the issue of staff reduction has prompted PPS to issue ultimatums as a means to protect the central office bloat that truly SHOULD be terminated.
And the PFT will buy into this, too.
Traitors. Cowards. Back stabbers.
A PPS teacher pays $800+ a year for this type of "leadership." It is indeed fortunate for these people that they are not occupying seats of authority during the times of Jimmy Hoffa.

Anonymous said...

My understanding of Dr. Lane's plan is that the family community specialist positions will be eliminated and be offered to teachers for an extended day differential, also CAS facilitators will lose their reduced teaching scheduled and instead be offered extended day differential. how is a 50:1 special education ratio legal?

Anonymous said...

My kid had an IEP and I saw how much goes into preparing for the annual review. I was lucky that his teachers acted as my trainers and taught me things to help. Has the LTF taken a position on this?

Anonymous said...

CAS teachers need to lose their reduced schedules. It is utterly absurd to have CAS teachers with just 15 students during a day while MAINSTREAM teachers have as many as 150 per day. What makes any sense about such an inequitable situation. There was one situation (at Westinghouse) where the mainstream teacher had 190 students in a six period teaching schedule. The Assistant Superintendent at that time had the good sense to remedy the situation when it was brought to attention. (The PFT allowed it.)

The community has no idea of the inequities that can result in poorly run schools where Black children have little opportunity to achieve at the high levels they are more than capable of achieving under good conditions.

Questioner said...

It is difficult to believe that this is true. Was the CAS teacher w/ 15 students in a day teaching one class of 15 students? Or 5 classes w/ 3 students in each class? Didn't Westinghouse use video conferencing when there were too few CAS students to form a class?

Anonymous said...

I found a big difference between regular CAS facilitators and teachers taking on the CAS work on the side. The teachers were great at teaching but did not begin to approach the specialized CAS facilitator in terms of making the most of the CAS program and strategizing for college. A good CAS facilitator can be the difference between a family being happy with PPS v being unhappy and steering others away from PPS.

Stephanie Tecza said...

Someone asked if the LTF is looking into the class size situation. The answer is yes.

Anonymous said...

No, Questioner, the CAS teacher had four CAS classes with 3 to 5 students in each class and no video conferencing. And because "it is difficult to believe that this is true" that does not make it untrue! ???????

Anonymous said...

CAS students would benefit from having teachers teach and counselors do the prep for applying to and guiding kids to the best fit for them in a college.

Anonymous said...

Plus the GIEP meetings probably come out of time teachers would have spent on preparation for their (already larger than in the past) classes.

Seen it All said...

"the CAS teacher had four CAS classes with 3 to 5 students in each class"

That's not necessarily a bad thing. CAS classes with numbers like those tend to be advanced classes, like AP Physics 2 or AP German 4. (AP = Advanced Placement. Those courses give students valuable college credit.)

Those are just the kind of classes that keep the gifted students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools!

Now, is it "fair" for one teacher to have 5 students in a class while another has 30?

Well, no, but from the students' point of view, to eliminate classes they want would not be fair either.

So what's the solution? It's obvious. Eliminate the deadwood at Bellefield. Quit hiring expensive do-nothing "consultants."

Hire more teachers to bring the large class sizes down a little.

Questioner said...

Also, why is it that just a couple of teachers would have ALL the small classes? Giving each teacher one small/ CAS class would at least even things out among teachers. And in a setting that has not traditionally had large numbers of CAS students, helping 5 students to reach the highest levels could be as much work as teaching 20 students at an average level.

Anonymous said...

I've definitely heard of small CAS classes at high schools which have fewer identified kids. But, was this one teacher qualified in a bunch of different areas, or was it just odd scheduling? I guess that it could be 4 grades worth of English or Math that this one person taught.

Anonymous said...

PPS is cutting 60 Million by next year, one idea is cutting half of the special ed teachers and have the remaining teacher doulbe their case loads, massive teacher lay offs

Anonymous said...

The District has agreed to staff special ed positions based on need, not numbers.

The 50:1 model has been abandoned however, it is unclear what the new model will look like. (I hope it will be made public prior to the public hearings)

My child receives itinerant learning support and I strongly oppose a change in the current ratio. His educational outcomes are closely tied to the support he receives in the regular education classrooms. Furthermore, I believe special ed teachers should have an equal amount of children on their caseload as a CAS teachers!