Wednesday, November 2, 2016

U.S. Office of Civil Rights to make site visit to ICCSD

This past Friday (October 28), the superintendent notified the board that the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education will be making a site visit to our district this coming Spring. Here’s the superintendent’s email:
In 2009 the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights pulled some historical District data to review. In 2013 the OCR contacted the District to discuss their analysis of the data. As a result of that conversation, in the fall of 2013 the District signed a Settlement Agreement to address concerns that arose during the data review. Over the past three years the District has been working with OCR to complete fourteen program improvement items outlined in the agreement. The OCR has been able to verify completion of six of these items based on District document submissions. As a normal part of the agreement process, the OCR will be visiting the District this spring to validate completion of the other items. As more details are confirmed I will continue to keep you up to speed on the process.
As of now, this is all I know about the site visit. I’ll post more information as it becomes available.

A bit more background: The concerns that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) identified in 2013 involved the disparate treatment of African-American children in special education placement decisions. An OCR press release summarized the concerns:
OCR reviewed the files of all students who were initially evaluated for special education. OCR identified several African American students, particularly very young elementary students, who were identified as eligible for special education due to behavior issues and were placed in special education for a large percentage of the school day, and noted that some white students of similar ages identified as eligible for special education for behavior were placed in special education for a smaller percentage of the school day. OCR also identified several students who were found eligible for special education even though the presence of one or more potential exclusionary factors was noted in the file. Further, OCR found several students identified as eligible for special education despite scores that did not appear to be significantly discrepant from their peers.
In the settlement that our district reached with the OCR in 2013, the district agreed to take specific remedial measures designed to ensure that the district does not treat African-American children differently from other children in special education placement. You can read the Settlement Agreement here; the OCR press release about the settlement agreement is here.


Anonymous said...

Murley's huge two-year raise makes no sense.

Anonymous said...

There aren't many that are satisfied with the current state of ICCSD. Teachers are unhappy. Parents are unhappy. Staff are unhappy. I think the only person happy is Steve "the man can do no wrong" Murley now that he has his big fat raise from his buddy Dictator Lynch and his other cronies on the board. That is all Steve really cares about anyways. He would be gone already if he could only finish that doctorate and find someone else to hire him, which we all know is never going to happen. When are we going to wake up and realize how unhealthy and toxic this environment is that exists and try to fix things. It all starts from the top. This situation is so unfortunate and we feel powerless to make any changes.

KJ said...

I'll go ahead and state the obvious here, it's pretty convenient that the site visit is announced after Murley's contract is approved. I would be very interested to know when the site visit was set up. I'm willing to bet that it was a few weeks ago and Murley waited to announce the visit until after he got his contract approved. Seems like a DOE situation all over again yet Murley will get away with not having to take any responsibility once again.

Anonymous said...

This district is beginning to resemble some kind of Mafia ring, under suspicion from all sorts of agencies, staying half a step ahead of the law, and retaliating against the employees who dare defy the Kingpin himself, Steve Murley. That the Kingpin got his stupendous raise and contract just before this was announced is par for the course. The charges of "crookedness" in our national election are thrown at the wrong person; we need look no further than the Kingpin and his cronies in the district administration and on the school board.
The things being done to minorities, the poor, and the powerless in this district are an affront to the liberal sensibilities this community supposedly cherishes. Hypocrisy, anyone?

Anonymous said...

I've heard people say that not passing the bond will hurt our kids. I agree that all our students deserve access to facilities that are comfortable and that provide a safe and supportive learning environment. So why don't those people also say that keeping -- no, rewarding -- our superintendent is also hurting our kids? A shameful achievement gap, multiple violations of special education law. A visit from the Office of Civil Rights. These things matter. They hurt our most vulnerable kids, which is a disgrace.

As much as I want to see facilities additions and improvements for all parts of the district, I'll be voting NO on the bond. I cannot imagine trusting the current administration to manage a multi-million dollar project competently or honestly, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

Nailed it, anon 12:08. I can't bring myself to give this superintendent and administration the pursestrings to a $c.200M bond, one that I hear is the LARGEST EVER in the history of the STATE by a bunch. That's just insanity. Would anyone KNOWINGLY put their retirement investment in the hands of a investment advisor with a growing, unethical cloud over his head? Of course not. This community needs to get educated on what's going on in the district.

Anonymous said...

The bond will never pass. It would be tough getting a bond of this size to pass if there wasn't all of the scandal and tension present with the ic school system right now. I am not sure that Murley really cares if it passes or not since they don't have any kind of backup plan for our schools if and when then bond fails.

Anonymous said...

@12:08, "not passing the bond will hurt our kids" is a pretty broad statement.

If people actually vote the bond in (ha!), making payments might hurt the parents of the kids especially families who have a hard time making monthly bills. Please don't automatically assume that the best solution for the kids is more taxes.

Anonymous said...

No assumption on my part, Anon. 12:20. Here’s my point: You have people in this community who write off recognition of the many, major problems in our district as attempts to sabotage the bond (which is problematic on its own). The bond comes first for them, perhaps because their children aren’t directly, obviously affected by the other issues the district is facing. For example, at least one community member dismissed Phil Hemingway’s meeting with special education families as a cynical attempt to fulfill his own political purposes. This cheapens the importance of finding solutions to the very real problems we’re facing in this district.

My point is that the bond shouldn’t come first. If anything, taking steps to alleviate the many, complex problems in our district should.

They should because the value of our district does not rest on the test scores of upper-middle class kids whose parents have graduate degrees. These kids would do well in any school. Public schools, as middle class institutions, are made for middle class families who have the social and cultural capital, the income, the resources, and the leisure time to make sure their kids succeed. This is no achievement.

The value of our district, rather, should rest on how well we close achievement gaps and provide supports to kids who need them.

If anything, we should pay attention first to how the district negotiates problems like the achievement gap, because it matters. It simply matters. And second, because how the administration deals with hard problems says a lot about trust. It’s a measure of capability and, frankly, integrity.

So, yes, there are people saying that “not passing the bond will hurt our kids.” If you read my comment, that’s not really me. My point is that when people say that, they need to consider everything else that’s hurting our kids, too.

Anonymous said...

What did Superintendent Murley and Board President Lynch know and when did they know it? Did Lynch know of this coming visit and withhold the information from the public before the board vote on Murley's raise?

How much did ICCSD pay the expert the Office of Civil Rights required the district to hire? How did the state find all of the problems that showed up in the audit after the district hired the expert? Will the district ever fix its special education problems?