theebrandenburgs blogspear

This page is designed to share information about our struggle to gain equity for our unique children and their learning styles in a public education system that is designed primarily to teach a single type of learner, and which is increasingly sidelined by fiscal and philosophical issues that challenge the core of its collective existence. We are especially interested in unique learners, and the talented people who teach them, their families, and our shared value as human beings. We seek the end of discrimination, the end of seclusion, separation, and isolation, as well as an end to chemical and physical restraints that are commonly used to assault our children and our unique interpretations of the world.

Monday, February 27, 2012

A Few Words on Task Forces, Self Studies, & Inclusion

A new bill in front of the Wyoming legislature would set up a task force to study whether the state needs a navy. But first they'll need water. (from Mother Jones online)
We don't put too much merit or hope in task forces and self studies. Self Studies generally result in nothing of substance, and in the case of Pasadena Unified School District, there can be 11 studies done to find the same flaws- and nothing will be achieved by it except for another study. Elizabeth Blanco, former director of PUSD went as far as to stifle parents from gaining access to the studies, first by allowing information to only be released through her office, and later by allowing her puppet regime and information ministry, the CAC, to only publish the Executive Summary (9 pages)- a small piece of the study. It took a freedom of records request to release the entire 32 page report. This is the same director that with held documents from our family, and lied to our faces. 

Yet the self-serving president of the CAC went before the PUSD Board of (Mr.) Ed and bleated on pathetically about how Elizabeth Blanco has integrity. Pull my finger. There's to Blanco's f***ing integrity. Speaking of Mr. Ed, the talking jack-ass, word has it that there have been other petitions in the past presented to him; this had been a typical way of getting rid of "undesirable" students in Sierra Madre...... at least until the Brandenburgs went public.

Under Dr, Blanco's inclusion plan, children were dumped for two years into general education with no supports. When it was disastrous she pushed them into schools for students with emotional disabilities. Here's the kicker, tho. Pasadena Unified has NO DEFINITION OF INCLUSION!!!!!

Way to go, Liz! Keeping the spirit of freedom to information alive, and in your blackberry since 2009. 

We are so sorry to see you go.

(Scaffolding from the self-studies, the current "Special-Ed Task Force" is another puppet organization,  structured, pointed, and generated for meeting the agenda of...... who? Time will tell, but we need to do a little instructional here on something called.... Delphi-Method..... thanks to MO for the heads up.....)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Keep your SPECIAL DAY CLASS. It is just another SUGAR COATED word for SEGREGATION. You separate us from your classrooms for not being LIKE YOU. We don’t want to be YOU and we don’t want to FIT IN. 
We don’t want your MAINSTREAMING. Mainstreaming is a LIE that needs to be ENFORCED. We don’t need to be BOUND by your BIGOTRY or tied up in your BUREAUCRACY while you BEG for the CRUMBS of your neighbors. 
We didn’t ASK for ACCEPTANCE. Don’t tell us you ACCEPT US. We don't NEED your ACCEPTANCE.

We don’t want your PITY, because PITY makes you think you are BETTER THAN US. PITY makes you think you are ABOVE US instead of WITH US. Save your PITY for someone who wants to be pampered.

This is NOT PASSION. We do not speak out of PASSION. You use that phrase to DISCOUNT US and DEGRADE US; to separate what you do from what we do. You are NOT BETTER THAN US simply because you LACK OUR CONVICTION.  
We do not ENCROACH on your budget, or on your schools, but you ENCROACH on our HUMANITY as if it were yours to discuss. WE ARE NOT YOUR INFERIORS. 
We don’t WANT, didn't ASK FOR, nor NEED your outsider WORKSHOPS, your outsider SELF-STUDIES, or your outsider TASK-FORCES. Those are the tools of OPPRESSION to keep us SUBSERVIENT to a SYSTEM that does not RESPECT us. 

Don’t tell us to be PATIENT, or that this is GOD’S PLAN. This has NOTHING TO DO WITH GOD. This is the bi-product  of an EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM that has FAILED OUR PEOPLE and OPPRESSES OUR CHILDREN, with BIGOTRY and SEPARATION created BY HUMAN BEINGS, and all of the PRAYING in the WORLD will NOT CHANGE THAT.  Don't blame your HATRED and HYPOCRISY on GOD. 
You will find no PEACE in words like TOLERANCE. We TOLERATE things we don’t want, things that are DISTASTEFUL. TOLERANCE is just thinly veiled HATRED that seeps up like a SNAKE and STRIKES the moment the TOLERATED do or say something undesirable to the OPPRESSORS. We DO NOT WANT & DID NOT ASK TO BE TOLERATED, but seek EQUITY, JUSTICE, and RESPECT.

(thanks baxter)


We stand with the CAC in its mission statement, and specifically with its vision that “by 2015 all Special Education students will be serviced properly by PUSD in their home schools.” We also support that the CAC is designed to give parents a voice in special education implementation, however, we believe the CAC is too passive to institute any real change by 2015.

We believe that the PUSD special education program implementation is systemically flawed, and what has happened to our child- and the PUSD response to our concerns- will occur again if we do not bring this discussion to the table in a public forum. We want to remind PUSD, and the Sierra Madre Elementary School community, that we, too, are members of a community,  and that we,  too have a voice, and that we, too,  can gather support, and that we, too, can activate a positive call to action. 

We are formally delivering this message to PUSD, AGAIN

We request

1. That PUSD send a clear and concise message to Sierra Madre Elementary School- as well as other schools in PUSD- that bullying, whether it is by children, or parent vigilante groups, will NOT be tolerated, and will be handled as the hateful, ignorant acts that they are;

2. That the Pasadena Unified School District formally apologize to my family for its failure to keep us informed about the events that unfolded in October, 2010, and for the information it failed to release to us regarding the events of community bullying that targeted our child;

3. That PUSD stop trying to segregate our child from his home community and refrain from using derogatory, negative, and inflammatory labels against children with autism and other “hidden” disabilities;

4. That PUSD firmly establish a support network, and community supports, including disability awareness, before placing a child with disabilities into a general ed classroom. This includes a definition of INCLUSION.

5. That PUSD acknowledge that the findings in its independent audits are systemic deficits, and that these same deficits impacted our child’s inclusion in his community: transition planning, consistent data collection and documentation, social skills development, lack of staff training in autistic spectrum disorders, and deficits in behavior planning and implementation;

6. That PUSD implement an anti-bullying program to specifically address discrimination against people with autistic spectrum disorders;

7. That PUSD revisit its parent volunteer program, and that all parent volunteers be required to attend parent workshops before interacting with children on campuses; and

8 . That PUSD immediately implement a crisis counseling intervention program at Sierra Madre Elementary School to address what happened in October, 2010,  and to start the community healing process.



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Repost: From an Aussi Autism Mum preceded by a comment

We got more than a few chuckles from this, but think it sums up the frustration many of us face- and does so in a humorous way. A word to the wise, you hit a hornet's nest, chances are pretty good you'll get stung. Some of us are more than a little edgy already, and messing with us will not result in anything positive. Read on, tongue planted in cheek, but remember that at the heart of this is a very real issue. An issue that doesn't end at the borders of any country, and which is a universal concern for families with ASD. And now......

1. Some of us have given up on social skills and don't care what we say or do.
2. We're not afraid to have A serious "meltdown" of our own.
3. We are tired and all the patience we have is for our kids.
4. We have a far shorter fuse for nonsense as a result of our responsibilities but A FAR thicker skin.
5. We can get you in a hold/lockdown position in less than 3.5 secs.
6.We can shoot you a look that would make a linebacker tremble in his boots.
7.Chances are it's been awhile since we've had a full night of sleep and that will give us a reason to plead insanity.
8. Our tolerance and patience is for our kids who didn't choose to have special needs, not for someone who CHOOSES to behave inappropriately and is ABLE to control their actions.
9. We're probably already on edge and it would be stupid to push us over.
10. We are sleep deprived and already defensive, and we spend all of our patience on our children, doctors, therapists, social workers and teachers, why would we waste an ounce of it on a total stranger?
11. We've had to fight from the moment of our child's birth so by the time you piss us off we're seasoned battlers and could win a war.
12.We devote our lives to our children and don't need more stress and people who don't understand our life.
13. Wherever there is a cub, there is a mama bear...We're always watching

♥♥♥ Stolen from a fellow ASD Mum, feel free to steal it from me!! ♥♥♥

Anonymous Mum, we salute you for putting it the way it needs to be put.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Repost from San Francisco Examiner: New Special Ed Chief.....

New special-education chief faces familiar challenges

San Francisco's special-education system has been overseen by the state Department of Education.
Overseeing special education at a big city school district isn’t easy. Elizabeth Blanco, who took over last week as San Francisco Unified School District’s assistant superintendent for special education, will manage a system struggling to improve after years of complaints, violations and turnover.

Since 2010, the district's special education programs have been under review by the state Department of Education, which ordered correction of 21 violations. And a 2010 audit found that the district wasn’t adhering to the 1990 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which requires children with special needs to be placed in mainstream classrooms as much as possible.

While the district is working to correct the problems, its history reveals the complexities of public special education, which is governed by detailed state and federal laws as well as evolving theories about what’s best for children.

“It feels like it’s turning around,” said Katy Franklin, chair of the district’s Community Advisory Committee for Special Education and the mother of one such student. “But parents are still in this sort of battle mode. The atmosphere was really bad.”

The controversies might feel familiar for Blanco, who has 25 years of special-education experience. Her two-year tenure as special education chief at the Pasadena Unified School District was marred by accusations that she and the district mishandled the case of a second-grader with autism.

“He was really dumped into a general education with no support,” said father Tony Brandenburg.

Brandenburg said his son’s second-grade teacher wasn’t trained in how to work with autistic children. When the boy’s behavior became disruptive, his classmates’ parents pushed to have him removed from school. Brandenburg said the district responded by barring his son from school and attempting to have the high-functioning child transferred to a private school for emotionally disturbed youth.

“For a little boy with autism, that wasn’t appropriate,” Brandenburg said. “She could have done the right thing, but she buckled under the pressure.”

The case roiled the district. The Brandenburgs and their allies protested, accusing the district of violating a law requiring disabled children to be educated in the least-restrictive environment possible. An audit found that teachers lacked training in autism, and school board members are considering an outside investigation into the case.

“It’s not only the Brandenburgs’ case, there’s other issues,” said German Barerro, the father of a sixth grader with autism. “There is a tendency to remove and isolate kids, but the support should be in the school.”

Barerro said he liked Blanco personally, but that the systemic problems in Pasadena were too hard for her to overcome.

“We wish her the best,” he said. “I hope she is able to accomplish in San Francisco what she was not able to accomplish here.”

Blanco could not be reached through the SFUSD, which provided instead a supportive statement from Superintendent Carlos Garcia.

“Her references were exemplary and they reported that she has successfully overseen large and complex programs and is committed to student achievement, access and equity,” Garcia said. “We look forward to having Dr. Blanco join SFUSD.”

The law governing special education

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, passed in 1990 and amended in 2004, lays out the rights of students with disabilities and their parents, as well as the responsibilities of public schools. Under the law:

School districts must identify children with disabilities

Such children must receive a “free appropriate public education” with services to meet their needs

They must be educated in the “least-restrictive environment” possible

Discipline must be appropriate

The school must work with a child’s parents to create an individualized education program

Parents have the right to appeal a school’s decisions

Source: National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
In a statement, Superintendent Carlos Garcia said he had confidence in Blanco, who has more than 25 years’ experience.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: