Posts by Nat

  • Access: Safe schools for everyone, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Yes, it absolutely does vary by school district. I hoped my comment about school specificity made it clear that I was aware of that. We are privileged by all demographic measures. (Although we were too in Australia, so that’s no guarantee).

    I just finished reading The Prize by Dale Russakoff: a fascinating account of the Newark school district, in which charter schools are gradually replacing public schools, with the very effect that you describe. This is despite the awareness and attempted mitigation of bias of school choice being towards engaged parents. I thought of your “Wicked Problem” posts when I was reading the book. In Newark, part of the failure was the policy makers’ and philanthropists’ failure to realise how wicked the problem really was.

    ETA: we have carried the diagnosis we got in NZ with us. I don't think that even mentions the DSM, but I could check that.

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Access: Safe schools for everyone,

    I regret that I did not make the deadline for submissions to this.

    Our son was diagnosed with ASD as a result of observations by our DP at a (Decile 8) primary school in West Auckland not long after he had started school. I can now compare our experience within the NZ education system to that in Australia and the States (albeit at the different ages and stages of our son, and given the specificity of each school). We payed for the private consultation to get this diagnosis (about $400 IIRC). It was always clear that he would not qualify for ORRS.

    In NZ, I felt the support existed (if you were a sufficiently articulate and proactive parent, which is an obvious disadvantage to those kids who don’t have such parents). Our school was very accepting of diversity, almost to the point of blowing it off. They had a dedicated Special Education coordinator, and were very willing to work with parents to create goals and strategies to meet the kids’ needs. It was however somewhat informal (for those kids who did not meet the criteria for ORRS and/or who did not have an IEP), and I felt like I drove a lot of the plan. If we had stayed, I was going to suggest a few things: mini school-driven IEPs for all special needs kids, as well as a special needs parent strategy and support group.

    In Australia, we filled in a form to say our son has ASD, and that was the last we ever heard of it. They supposedly had what was called a Learning Support team within the school, but our son never had anything to do with them. We never knew whether this was because he was doing fine, or whether there were many more urgent cases, or whether he just hadn’t registered on their radar.

    In the US, our son has an IEP. He has access to a speech therapist, a psychologist, and a resource teacher for organisation and study skills. It is a very formal process, backed by legal obligations of the school district. When the team meets, the school principal attends, and her emphasis is on the skills needed for his future schooling and beyond. If I ever run into any of our son’s team at school, they are keen to tell me about his achievements, and check if we have any concerns. It feels very supportive (even if the motivation for the support is a legal obligation).

    In the US, all demographic data is included in the test score reporting (race, special education, poverty (by way of free-lunch statistics)).

    I hope this is of interest!

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Why we need to stop talking…,

    Really interesting post, thank you!

    I just read this article too, and I think they are very complimentary:

    It's long but well worth it, and offers a potential framing to counter apparent apathy about global warming (in an Australian context).

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Busytown: Beware of the Leopard, in reply to Jolisa,

    (Also: that thing where you stay up until 2 a.m. blogging on a school night, then notice that the giant wodge of paper accidentally includes the hourly rate of one of the experts [$190 plus GST] and you try not to do the maths on how many gratis hours all the ordinary people have spent on this, even though you know it’s not about the money, money, money).

    I was already thinking this before you posted it. My little Auckland Council anecdote involves getting a building and resource consent for a deck. They charged us $4.5k for the building consent, which was copy and pasted from another document (including all of the wrong names, addressed and reference numbers). When I queried the cost, they included 24 hours of preparation of said copy and pasted document charged at $125/hr.

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Dropping the A-Bomb,

    Just on the legal situation in Australia: abortion is not actually legal throughout Australia. As usual it is a hotchpotch of legislation depending on what state you are in. Thee is a summary here:

    Where I am in NSW, I think the situation is pretty similar to NZ i.e. you have to show that your health is in danger (although I understand that this is pretty routinely done).

    There are also protesters outside of known clinics, heckling women as they go in and come out.

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Who else forgot to get married?, in reply to Danielle,

    On an individual level, yes. But on a societal level, you do have to note that these choices are made within a particular context, and are part of a larger pattern. I’m all about choosing your choice, but I also think it’s wilfully obtuse to ignore how those choices seem to go overwhelmingly one way.


    And, to redress that overwhelming imbalance, some of us have to choose to (if we are priviledged enough to be able to) go the other way.

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Who else forgot to get married?, in reply to Danielle,

    they send all greetings or presents to the family using my supposed married name. YOU WILL NOT WIN THIS ONE, IN-LAWS. I will keep it up until I die if necessary.

    Can you return to sender with "addressee unknown"? Seriously, that is bollocks.

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Who else forgot to get married?, in reply to Danielle,

    I just want to be “person who exists and is an adult autonomous female and apparently requires a title on forms”, which is why Ms works for me.

    Me too! I love Ms.

    I also like partner. To me, it connotes equality and working together, rather than the more possessive connotations I get from wife and husband.

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Who else forgot to get married?, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    And this is the bit I don’t get. Your family tree is a genetic legacy not a tree of names. It doesn’t matter what you are called you are still genetically related to your ancestors and decendants regardless of what they call each other. Theoretically my family name ends with my brother’s daughters but it certainly doesn’t end the genetic line.

    Right, but when my daughter had to do this exercise for school the other day, when I looked at her tree, and she had the same surname as me and my mother, this felt right to me. (In the same way that if her tree had been swamped by her father's name, it would have felt less satisfactory to me, like she and I had lost something). I'm not saying everyone does or should feel this way, but to me this seems very equitable. (And nothing to do with genetics.)

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Who else forgot to get married?, in reply to Sacha,

    Or a hitched warlock

    wearing a chastity belt

    Seattle • Since Jun 2011 • 50 posts Report Reply

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