Bible didn’t mean Bush
To the editor:
When the Bible says, “And a little child shall lead you,” it didn’t mean George Bush.
To the editor:
City Manager Lamont Ewell isn’t the only new Santa Monica leader to fall afoul of press gremlin-produced errors. The Los Angeles Times announced the selection of new Santa Monica College president Dr. Chui L. Tsang in a short report that referred to him as “she” in one paragraph and “he” in the next.
Bring back copyreaders, the little old men wearing green eyeshades, who corrected such blatant errors. Computer spell checkers can’t seam two due the job.
Ford on film
To the editor:
Shame on the Mirror for not doing a better job checking facts before publishing. I am writing in response to the editorial “Fade In: Movies in Middle Schools” from the paper of November 23-29. It was stated that “the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has struggled to sustain and improve its arts curriculum in the face of continuing budget crises, but it has no film course.”
In fact, SMMUSD offers an outstanding film program at the high school. Under the talented tutelage of Dr. Frank Ford, Samohi offers not only a college level film analysis class, Introduction to Film, but an advanced film course as well, which gives students production opportunities. These courses were life altering for my son. The knowledge and experience he gained led to him being named a California Art Scholar in Film in 2003 and this fall he was admitted to a highly competitive and prestigious BFA program at Chapman University School of Film. You owe Santa Monica High School and Dr. Frank Ford an apology.
Ed. Note: Perhaps we could have stated it more clearly, but, in fact, the District does not offer a film course, Dr. Ford at Samohi does, and the success of the writer’s son is powerful evidence of the need for and value of such courses throughout the District, beginning with “The Story of Movies,” which is designed for Middle School students.
To the editor:
Kudos to the Mirror for taking a stance for the ’special’ children and families in our school district (Dec. 7-13 issue)! I hope that more people outside SMMUSD and more parents of ’regular’ children get involved in and educated about this issue. I am a parent of two ’regular’ children in the school district and have attended several IEP’s as an advocate for a friend of mine who felt persecuted by teachers, administrators and District personnel. I was (and continue to be) astounded at the basic lack of respect for these children and their families, the blatant non-compliance with State and Federal law, the inaccurate and incomplete testing and reporting done, and the lack of follow-through on the part of the District and most of its employees (there are a very few good exceptions). I don’t think many parents of ’regular’ children would put up with this sort of behavior.
To the editor:
Thank you for your in-depth editorial of Dec.7, 2005 on the SMMUSD’s Special Education Strategic Plan. It is critically important to remind our community that students in special education deserve the same consideration and care in the creation and delivery of educational programs and services as every “typical” child in our District.
Santa Monica and Malibu have been fortunate that our two communities and cities value public education and provide financial support significantly beyond that found in most parts of California that rely solely on state and federal funding.
That extra support and the creativity of the community and District have given us schools and programs that are of very high quality, and are exemplary within California and the nation. But for far too long that approach has passed by the nearly 14 percent of the students in the District who receive special education services, relegating them to inferior, ineffective programs or forcing their parents to pursue services outside the District.
It is time that that same creativity and resourcefulness that we see in the general education programs in SMMUSD be brought to the programs and services of special education. That was all that the Special Education Strategic Plan asked, and all that the special education community continues to expect.
I hope that your paper will continue to follow this story, to see if SMMUSD will yet honor its vision statement to “prepare all students in their pursuit of academic achievement.”
To the editor:
Thanks to the Mirror for the editorial. The education of children with Special Needs in Santa Monica seems to be under a shroud, rendering it invisible. Publishing your comprehensive editorial about the history of the Special Education Strategic Plan lessens that invisibility.
Just like the aftermath of the Katrina disaster, I feel that we should be engaged in active community discussion of how we, in this unique city of Santa Monica, really want to educate the children with Special Needs who live within our city borders. The pages of this paper have prominently supported discussion for Katrina, and I appreciate its efforts to do the same with Special Education.
A code of silence now envelops Special Education in SMMUSD. The flow of information and ’message’ is tightly controlled. The group of parents and educators who came together to produce the Special Ed Strategic Plan did so to bring to light discussion of how to best educate these children with needs that differ from typical children.
One can approach the education of these children many different ways.
We wanted to try to discover what might be some best approaches given current research, and also what best aligns with the values and goals of our city.
It became a fascinating forum, and due to the amazing breadth of talent, we were able to carefully look at many different facets of the issues. We also were able to bring along consensus among participants in areas where the infighting among ’experts’ is legion.
We weren’t naive. We understood the financial ramifications and restrictions inherent in the process and implementation. We knew more discussion with educators was necessary to make it practical, and to prioritize. We just thought the education of a population that represents close to 14 percent of our District (which is NOT out of range with other district’s or other parts of the county) was too important to not be transparent and to not involve important stakeholders.
The handling of the plan by the Board and the District has been a real blow to those involved in its creation, and the Board and District has squandered a lot of good will that had been earned by engaging community members in the process.
There is some light. The Board and District are ow engaged in a new planning process to assess its facilities. Members of this new Ad Hoc Facilities Committee seem to understand that Special Education had been left out of the SMMUSD’S original district-wide Strategic Plan, and are insisting that the Special Education Plan be included in the current facilities deliberations. Not surprisingly, parents of Special Needs children are cynical about whether they will be truly included. Exclusion from the original district-wide Strategic Plan was not just an oversight. Voices about Special Education from those who participated in that process were silenced (I know, I was there, I saw it and experienced it). We ask the Mirror to monitor this new facilities planning process, and see if the needs of Special Education students get addressed according to their numbers in the District, to the same extent as any other group of its size.
Claudia A. Landis, MD