As co-presidents of SEPTA (Special Education Parent Teacher Association), we take exception to the characterization of SEPTA in a recent letter by Joel Katz.
SEPTA's members are mainly parents of students who are classified as having a disability that affects their learning as per New York State and Federal guidelines. We also have as members teachers, other professionals and community members who are concerned about the education of all children. SEPTA is not out lobbying for "more and more" services for our children. We do watch to ensure that our children are given the appropriate services as mandated by state and federal laws. However, our true goal is to be the PTA with the smallest membership, as this would mean that our children no longer require special services to meet their learning needs. Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen.
SEPTA does advocate supporting the learning of all the children in the district. To this end we advocated for math resource at the elementary and middle school levels. These teachers work mainly with the general education population to support their learning math. The math resource teachers also help classroom teachers to differentiate classroom instruction to meet the needs of more students and to enrich those children ready for greater challenges. With No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and mandated Academic Intervention Services (AIS) required by the state and federal governments - the math resource teachers are Port Washington's way of meeting these mandates, supporting our children and raising their test scores. This, in turn, helps keep our property values high.
SEPTA also advocates the return, where educationally appropriate, of our children back to district programs from out-of-district placements. We advocate for classes that will meet the needs of our children, while attending the Port Washington Schools. This is not only beneficial for our children, but is less expensive for the school district.
SEPTA is not a lobbying unit. We are a group of parents, professionals and concerned adults who want what is educationally appropriate for all students in the district. We support district initiatives, which improve the learning of all children; and, hopefully, leads to a decrease in the need to classify students as learning disabled.
Co-Presidents of SEPTA