Saturday, October 9, 2010

Refusing Title I Funds....Because?

We've been looking into Title I funding as we found it curious that MVRCS has declined this funding in the past (even though they qualified for it), causing us toquestion why they did this, if they are still refusing Title I funds. It seems in these times of tight financial concern and equally unstable education funding (charter schools included), that schools would take whatever funding they could obtain (especially as they have been forced to charge for transportation this year). While we have been unable to identify justification for their decision, we did find more information on Title I funding and what is required to receive such funds.After reading through this, we question if the decision was based on the fact that by accepting these funds, the school would be under scrutiny of the Title I folks who would be looking for the following signs of a quality, successful education for all children.

The purpose of this title is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic assessments. This purpose can be accomplished by —

(1) ensuring that high-quality academic assessments, accountability systems, teacher preparation and training, curriculum, and instructional materials are aligned with challenging State academic standards so that students, teachers, parents, and administrators can measure progress against common expectations for student academic achievement;

(2) meeting the educational needs of low-achieving children in our Nation's highest-poverty schools, limited English proficient children, migratory children, children with disabilities, Indian children, neglected or delinquent children, and young children in need of reading assistance;

(3) closing the achievement gap between high- and low-performing children, especially the achievement gaps between minority and nonminority students, and between disadvantaged children and their more advantaged peers;

(4) holding schools, local educational agencies, and States accountable for improving the academic achievement of all students, and identifying and turning around low-performing schools that have failed to provide a high-quality education to their students, while providing alternatives to students in such schools to enable the students to receive a high-quality education;

(5) distributing and targeting resources sufficiently to make a difference to local educational agencies and schools where needs are greatest;

(6) improving and strengthening accountability, teaching, and learning by using State assessment systems designed to ensure that students are meeting challenging State academic achievement and content standards and increasing achievement overall, but especially for the disadvantaged;

(7) providing greater decisionmaking authority and flexibility to schools and teachers in exchange for greater responsibility for student performance;

(8) providing children an enriched and accelerated educational program, including the use of schoolwide programs or additional services that increase the amount and quality of instructional time;

(9) promoting schoolwide reform and ensuring the access of children to effective, scientifically based instructional strategies and challenging academic content;

(10) significantly elevating the quality of instruction by providing staff in participating schools with substantial opportunities for professional development;

(11) coordinating services under all parts of this title with each other, with other educational services, and, to the extent feasible, with other agencies providing services to youth, children, and families; and

(12) affording parents substantial and meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children.

This seems like a win-win from a parents perspective. Maybe Mr. Kinnon could answer this question regarding if the school receives these funds and if not, why.


  1. I had asked that same question years ago re: accepting Title I funding. The answer I got was that the school would have to follow the curriculum set by the state, not the DI or Core Knowledge the school is based on. Oh, and yeah, they could look at the books and poke around at whatever they wanted to look at. The board considered that too intrusive to their structure of the school. I have a friend who works in the Title I dept. who says the school would have no problem qualifying and it is their paranoia which is keeping the money from them as the info required is minimal. Again they deny our children academic help. That was another one of the flags the school sent up for me. Probably my second sip of Koolaid.

  2. One issue might be accountibility- they provide oversight to ensure all students succeed and they wouldnt take too kindly to retaining kids multiple years. They might also have an issue with the teachers as they place alot of value on high quality teachers. They would also have to amswer to someone who cares.

  3. There's quite a disparity at the school between the high achievers and the lower performing students. The school seems to focus mainly on the high achievers and lets the rest of the kids slide.
    The only parent involvement I found involving my children was helping them do homework or making sure that they did it. I don't think this is what Title I is referring to in #12.

  4. Title I would be a true governing body and would require the Administration to answer to a higher authority. They would not only not accept the practice of retaining students for multiple years or not hiring quality (i.e. certified, experienced) teachers, they would also take issue with the lack of quality, effective professional development, using the same program and methodology after it didn't work the first 10 times, and the inequality in treatment among students. See that line about responsibility? Yeah, that would mean the school taking part of the responsibility for students who fall further and further behind due to learning disabilities that are not adequately identified or addressed (you know, those pesty IEP things that Kathy Kinnon is SUPPOSED to ensure every teacher and specialist is aware of AND following).
    All of that aside, Title I would go incredibly far in meeting the needs of all the students and not just the ones that would do well where ever they went to school. Come on, Mr. Kinnon, go for Title I or give some strong, valid reasons against them.

  5. I heard that Kathy Kinnon told a parent that they don't identify specific learning disabilities within IEP's, that they just state a 'non-specific learning disability'. Is this true? How do teachers (who know special ed) know how to best address the learning needs of the child? I can't imagine trying to work with a dyslexic child and how frustrating it must be for teacher and child if don't know that their learning difficulties were dyslexic specific. Talk about a colossal waste of time and energy!
    Granted, I just 'heard' this from a parent, but didn't personally hear it. But then again, this is Kathy Kinnon we're talking about so it could be true!

  6. October 9, 2010 7:29 PM What you heard from a parent may very well be true. I would not be shocked if this happened. But, if a parent goes into the school with an advocate from the on start, which I strongly recommend, they can be sure that their child's IEP will be identified, and very specific. In fact, I do not recommend that any parent have a meeting with Kathy Kinnon until they have hired an advocate, or better yet, a sped attorney. Learning about how to structure an IEP is very, very important. So if a parent has not hired an advocate or sped attorney, they should at least tape every single meeting with Kathy to give to their advocate so that she/he can dissect it and make it specific to that child. Do not ever trust or sign off on an IEP written up by any school without an outside person who knows what they are doing review it first. If you do, you are setting your child up to fail, especially at MV.

  7. Could you see Kathy Kinnon's face and attitude if a parent MENTIONED recording the meeting. Has anyone ever done it because I would imagine she would find a reason to reschedule!

  8. If anyone is looking for an advocate or attorney, Wrights Law has information at
    We will create a page (versus a post) with all of the information. FYI, pages are the tabs above posts with standing information versus posts which we write and post as we write them.
    Hope this helps.

  9. SoSadMVRCS aka MVInsider ,
    Yes, I have seen Kathy Kinnon's face when I told her that I was taping our meetings with her many times. It is the law, my right, and not her choice, as long as I told her that I was taping her up front. Did she appreciate my taping her? Did she try to stop the meeting? Hell yes! That was fun too! Did I allow her and the MV Administration Office get to me? Hell yes! But then, Hell no! The more they were dishonest with me, and the more that they hurt my child, the more they made me madder and madder. The end result, quite frankly, I started to enjoy watching them panic and run out of the office to call – you know who – Mr. Dictator! Her attitude was no longer an attitude, but that of a very worried and uneducated person about the SPED laws. I had now learned that it was I who had the upper hand.
    Believe me, if parents’ prepare themselves ahead of these meetings, the likes of Kathy are a melting pot. She loves the parents of children who have no clue about the special needs of your child, or no clue about IEPs. And if you allow yourself to meet with her alone, then it is you who has failed your child. If you do not have the money for an advocate, or a SPED attorney, bring a family member, or a friend to the meeting to write down everything that Kathy says. They WILL try to tell your friend, or family member to leave the school and that the meeting is now cancelled, but do not fall for this threat. Stand up and say no! If they insist on cancelling the meeting, pick up your cell phone and call the Department of Education right then and there, continue your meeting with her, and tape it. Once you have done this, you can search for free support for an advocate, or a SPED attorney. But whatever you do, do not meet with her alone and do not allow her to cancel your meeting.
    Remember, it is not Kathy calling the shots, or making the decisions about your child’s IEP. It is her Brother-in-Law, Neil Kinnon, Chairman and Founder of the Mystic Valley Region Charter School. Ask yourself this question, is this the person that I want making educational decisions for my child? Take it at that and then get mad as hell! It is YOUR child, not Mr. Kinnon’s. Do your job as a parent, uncomfortable as it may be, and stand up to these people. You owe this to your child. Good luck.

  10. Thanks for the reminder, we have created a new group of links titled 'Special Education Advocate Information'. Some of the links are to agencies that are non-profit and all are focused on disabilities, learning included. We can vouch for the Massachusetts Advocacy Center, Center for Law & Education, and the Children's Law Center of Massachusetts. We hope that parents will contact them should they require assistance.