Hold the Superintendent Accountable

Congratulations are in order to Superintendent Moore. On your way out the door, with the cover of Dr. Richardson and the complicity of the Board of Education, you have successfully implemented your plan to segregate our children without any oversight or accountability.

Dr. Moore is using her power to force segregation upon a segment of the student population without input from the parents, teachers, administrators or even the Board of Education. And while I greatly appreciate that Dr. Robinson and Mr. Blair worked to get even a modicum of accountability from Dr. Moore and Ms. Sledge, they have not done nearly enough to provide the oversight that they are supposed to provide of the superintendent.

This is a colossal breakdown of the system that is designed to serve students not segregate them.

On Thursday, May 5, 2011, while hundreds of people still did not have power in their homes from the worst tornados to hit the state in perhaps it’s history, the Board of Education received an oral report from Ms. Amy Sledge, the Director of Special Education, and Dr. Moore, the Superintendent about the concerns that have dominated my life and the lives of thousands of families in Huntsville for the past six weeks.

The timing was quite fortunate for Dr. Moore. Not only did the recovery efforts keep the majority of the city from paying attention to the school board meeting (students had only just returned to school for the first time in a week hours earlier), but also the first round of interviews for the new superintendent had happen just moments earlier that day distracting the press.

Yet, Dr. Moore’s attempts to segregate our children without oversight were perhaps best aided by the decision of the Board at the previous meeting to only allow public comments if they were included on the agenda.

No public comments were allowed at the conclusion of this meeting.

It is also clear from the final moments of the Board meeting video that I linked to yesterday that Dr. Moore had no intention of discussing her plan until after the plan had been implemented. She stated on Thursday, May 5th:

I think that what would probably help, Amy, is once you get all of the schedules settled, and all of the students moved, then you can present that information to the board with the exact locations of specific programs and how many students now that the IEP has been written. (She stated this in the third clip at about the 9 minute mark.)

The truly disturbing part of this is that both Dr. Robinson and Mr. Blair may be heard in the background stating that waiting until the implementation of the plan was completed would be “very helpful.”

Respectfully, waiting until after “all of the students [are] moved” is anything but “very helpful.” It is, frankly, like waiting until the world has exploded to begin talking about ways to avoid a war.

By waiting until all of the students are moved, Dr. Robinson, Mr. Blair, Mr. Birney, Ms. McCaulley, and Ms. Morrison have abdicated their responsibility to provide oversight to the Superintendent of Huntsville City Schools. (This is the very thing that Mr. Blair stated on March 16 that would never happen when he pointed out, “that no decision could be made without the issue coming before the board.”

Mr. Blair: The board hasn’t heard, review the plan, or approved the plan, but Dr. Moore will not actually present any details of what will happen (let alone, why it is happening), until after all the students have been moved.

In addition, Dr. Moore’s description of the order of events does not tell the complete story. She claims that any decision to move students is being made in the IEP meeting. As you can see from this letter which showed on April 15th that Dr. Moore was issuing directives to the school administration representatives on the IEP team to tell parents that their child will be moved in the coming year.

On April 21, 2011 at about 4:30pm, I spoke with Ms. Sledge via phone and asked her what directives were being sent out to the IEP teams from the central office. I specifically referenced the Matus’ letter and my own experience of being told that “we cannot write aides into IEPs without prior approval from the central office.”

Ms. Sledge denied that this was happening and claimed that she would immediately send out notices to the principals that they do not have to seek prior approval for items written into an IEP. I am still being told that aides cannot be written into IEPs without the approval of the central office.

Parents are still being told that their child will be moved to a new school next year.

Additionally during my conversation with Ms. Sledge she informed me that if parents did not like the segregation plan, that they could request a mediation over the issue.

The central office is daring parents to take legal action against the segregation they are forcing on our kids.

Dr. Moore also repeatedly made the implication in the May 5th meeting that we’re all having to make cuts to address the financial situation the school system, under her direction, has experienced. What she has not said to the board, and what the board seems slow to recognize is that Special Needs have already been the primary group affected by the cuts that have taken place so far. The majority of the layoffs that have already occurred have been from Instructional Aides, the majority of which work with Special Needs students.

In addition during this poorly attended presentation, we now discover that Adaptive PE, which Mr. Blair correctly described as a central part to inclusion for special needs children, is also being cut. Dr. Moore claims that all PE teachers are trained to offer Adaptive PE, but she avoids answer any questions concerning how these already overworked teachers are supposed to teach both their regular students as well as their special needs students.

She claims that to be a “staffing issue,” and that Instructional Aides (whom have already been pink slipped) will be able to assist.

While special needs kids are being asked to bear the heaviest burden of cuts, there still has not been a single cut, nor even a plan to cut, from the bloated central office.

If you agree that one person should not be allowed to implement her own private agenda against the will of the public, and without oversight of the board, please contact the board and insist that they order Dr. Moore to halt the moving of students to new schools until she provides a written and public justification for doing so.

You may contact the board via Ms. Gail Kiker, Administrative Assistant to the Board at (256) 428-6940 or via email at gkiker@hsv.k12.al.us.

You may contact Dr. Moore directly at (256) 428-6810 or via email at armoore@hsv.k12.al.us.

Perhaps if there is a mass outcry, the Board (who aren’t leaving office in July as is the Superintendent) will begin to finally hold Dr. Moore accountable.

There is always hope, but there is little time. The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 5:30pm. School will dismiss for the year on Wednesday, May 25, 2011.

 

 
Russell
"Children see magic because they look for it." --Christopher Moore, Lamb: The Gospel according to Biff, Jesus' childhood pal.

2 Comments

  1. I found listening to the May 5th meeting to be an exercise in circular logic. Students aren’t going to be moved unless the IEP team says so….the IEP teams are told that there are no longer resource rooms at school “X”….the IEP team structures the IEPs this way and make it clear to parents that there are no options….with no options, the parents capitulate and “agree” to IEPs….IEPs are complete showing that the IEP “team” recommends the move.

    The stack of IEPs have a big bow on top and everyone’s happy, right?

    What was surprising to me what that the board seemed to buy into this logic. Nobody is stopping to ask the customer (i.e. parents) if this is satisfactory.

    David

    1. Well said! That is exactly right. The same could also be said about their motivation: “we have to save money, but we’re not saving one penny here.”

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