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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities

Funny to read about a city like Lakewood, NJ, where accusations are roiling that Orthodox students get better services than non-Orthodox students:
The town could face more problems, in the long run, from the recent findings of the New Jersey department of education. The department began investigating after the local American Civil Liberties Union issued a report indicating that Orthodox children were given a disproportionate number of referrals to expensive, out-of-district special education schools. The Lakewood School District filed a response from a former state commissioner of education arguing that the higher number of referrals was a result of the higher number of requests from the Orthodox community.

After an investigation, the state department of education called the town's response "disingenuous." The state found that white students were six times as likely to be given a full-day special education program than a non-white student, and that among children with the same disabilities, white students were systematically given more extensive help by the district.

"Program and placement decisions can be directly correlated with a student's race," the report concluded.
I find it funny because I live in a district where, in contrast, public school students receive services at a rate of three times of that of the district's mostly Orthodox private school students. Go figure.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

find it funny because I live in a district where, in contrast, public school students receive services at a rate of three times of that of the district's mostly Orthodox private school students

Ortho-what per cent of private schjool students would be eligivle for free or reduced school lunches

11:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

mycroft what does that have to do with the price of tea in lawrence?

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go figure??? You like that phrase don't you? Ok, so let's talk about the REAL figures that were discussed in two articles in Newsday and the Herald (oh, I forgot, you don't believe anything the Herald prints). But first, the two issues in the two districts are completely different. In Lakewood, Orthodox students were recommended for out of district expensive private special education schools. What most likely happened there is that Orthodox (or in some other districts, "Orthodox" could be replaced by any other group...but the group most likely would be pretty well off, educated and for some,litigious parents)who happen to know about schools (or find attorneys who are aware of them). The group has the money to hire attorneys or if not, threaten to bring legal action against the district unless a certain school is recommended. This school most likely is only too happy to admit these students due to the hefty tuitions it receives from the districts, and probably has a student body that is mostly white and/or Orthodox which makes the parents want to send their child there even more since the student body is "acceptable". In District 15, ther is a very small percentage of students attending out of district private New York State approved special education schools. As far as your claim that 3 times as many public school students are recommended for special ed services than Orthodox students, the truth is this: 10% of all Orthodox students living in the district are recommended for special ed services....just where it should be compared to other districts who have students who come from similar socioeconomic situations as most Orthodox students do (socioeconomically) like Jericho, Garden City, Rockville Center, Scarsdale, (or even Ramapo),where LESS than 10% of the student body in those districts is recommended for special ed services. 15-17% of public school students who for the most part,come from a different socioeconomic status, are given special ed services. But do the math, that is hardly 3 times (10x 3 =30). It is irresponsible for you to make these inflammatory statements. Get your facts and figures straight before you print lies that only tend to get your readers riled up for no reason. Remember, we are trying to come together, not read faulty information that tends of tear us apart as a community.

11:56 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Go figure??? You like that phrase don't you?


Get your facts and figures straight before you print lies that only tend to get your readers riled up for no reason.

Lies? Whoa. That's a mighty harsh accusation to make - especially when my "lies" are backed up with figures. You want to explain away the discrepancies between how many private school students vs. public school students qualify for services based on demographics? Feel free. But that doesn't make your argument "true" and mine "lies". It just makes for two differing takes on the huge discrepancy in numbers. The socioeconomic argument that has been suggested as a reason for the discrepancy is not an original one - we've heard it here many times. I just don't think it's enough. But hey, that's my opinion.

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, the figures are closer to 7% for private school kids vs. 19% for public school kids, so OM may have been a bit off, but 3x is a fair approximation

12:07 AM  
Blogger orthomom said...

I back my figures up in the post I linked, but here is the relevant section:

The problem with that fact is that in reality, the district's public school students qualify for one of those state mandated services, Special Education, at a rate that is more than double that of private school students. And even that number is misleading in that district private school children further outnumber district public school children by 50%. So by extension, in reality children attending district public schools receive special ed at a rate of closer to three times that of district private schools.

12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to make a few observations on this topic. In my opinion, there are two main factors to show the possible reasons why there is a disproportionate percentage of kids receiving services.

The first reason is there is no magic percentage number to describe what a school or group will have in students receiving services. So when you compare anything, you have to include a decent flex in the percentage. You need to include at least a +/- 3% when comparing in a issue like this.

The second reason comes in when you compare different groups. Our school system, especially with a population going to private school is a largely diverse population of minority and low income families going to public schools and a largely homogenous population of middle class families going to private school. Social and economical issues can be the cause or lead to the cause of some of the classifications. This can also explain some of the percentage points differences between the private and public schools.

Finally, on a side note of this, what would the percentage be if both populations were together? Does it compare with the percentage of other school districts? If other schools percentages are closer to the private school percentage, will the tune of not receiving enough services change to public school students are receiving too many now? I only raise these questions because these number cannot always be compared purely mathematically without some side notes at the least.

3:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you dont like it, send your kids to public schools!

2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason parents do not want to send to public school has to do with this.

Father seeks answers in school bus incident
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 08/1/06

LAKEWOOD — Chayim Kramer moved his 5-year-old son into the special education program at Oak Street School about a month ago with one caveat: Make sure he is kept safe.

Then, according to Kramer, the special-needs student escaped a school bus and needed to be chased down in the school's parking lot by three school district employees.

Now, Kramer wants the district to promise it will not happen again.

"Thankfully, nothing happened," said Kramer, who moved to Prospect Street from Brooklyn about five weeks ago. "I'm sending my son to school. I want him to come home."

District officials say they are reviewing the incident, which happened when the bus arrived at school July 24, to determine what safeguards might need to be put in place to ensure the safety of special education students.

Superintendent Edward W. Luick would make only general comments about the case, which Kramer made public at last week's Board of Education meeting.

"The district is responsible," Luick said. "We are dealing with it."

Board Attorney Michael Inzelbuch said the district will review how Kramer's situation was handled. Kramer said the answer to that is simple: not well.

Kramer said when he enrolled his son Shlomo, who he says is autistic, in a year-round program at Oak Street School, it was with a warning that the boy is a safety risk because he runs away at times.

Despite that warning, Kramer said, Shlomo got off the school bus alone on July 24.

"He's supposed to have a one-on-one aide who looks after him," Kramer said. "The aide wasn't there."

Kramer said he is not looking to punish the district. He just wants to make sure students are taken care of at all times.

"God forbid something happened," Kramer said.

Richard Quinn: (732) 557-5739 or rquinn@app.com

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