Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Events This Week! SISS, Physicals

The Black Parents Association and the NAACP (I believe) are sponsoring a reception for the incoming SISS Director. (That is the person in charge of special education for the Ann Arbor Public Schools. The acronym stands for Student Intervention and Support Services.) You may recall that Ann Arbor had a disproportionate number of African-American special education students labeled as cognitively-impaired. (That, by the way, is not unique to Ann Arbor, and changes have been made, but that does explain the interest.)

In any case, if the intersection of special education and the achievement gap interest you, you can meet the new SISS Director, Elaine Brown, at an informal reception Wed. September 8th from 3:30-6:30pm at the David Byrd Center on Lohr Rd.

Sports Physicals: If your middle school children need sports physicals, they are being offered tonight, Tuesday 9/7 at Scarlett Middle School, and tomorrow night, Wednesday 9/8 at Slauson Middle School--both evenings they will be offered from 6:30-9:30 p.m.


  1. There are an awful lot of students in special education that are not black. I would be very interested in this new person but not because of "the achievement gap". It would be because of my child's education.

  2. I could agree there's an achievement gap with too many special ed kids, not just one from one demographic....

  3. This controversy confuses me. Special Education is highly regulated and parent consent is required every step of the way. There are policies, procedures, and rules for everything and parents have a lot of power. I have heard that school psychologists are being pressured not to qualify black students for special education. This is confusing because special education is the way for kids to get help, support, accomodations and is THE key for some to succeed in school.

  4. When a kid becomes a special ed student, often, not always the standards of achievement is lowered.

  5. What exactly is the standard of achievement without SE? The whole point is that extra support or intervention of some kind is needed for the student to succeed. What are they doing without it? The answer to that in my personal experience is .....failing. The idea is to level the playing field and offer a more appropriate school experience. If the parents feel that their child doesn't need services, they can simply decline at any point.

  6. Standard of achievement is pretty low in Michigan.
    Special ed of course can help.
    However, it can be an excuse to not work that hard for school staff. It happens.So a kid could do very poorly for awhile before they qualify and after they qualify, they can scrape along the bottom and it's legit, whether the kid could do better, well, whose to say? The problem with the system is that the kids in special ed, and the problem with the minority students is that there is a disporportionality problem, they are highly represented in special ed, also in suspension and expulsions, so do these kids just find school such a bad experience they find a way out?
    So what should be a helping system is questioned as being the very system that is causing the failures. AAPS is working on it. They are not alone with this problem by any means.