To Gag or not gag?






The city council of Santa Monica withheld funds from their school district because the city council was uncomfortable with all the non-disclosure agreements that the school district was requiring to settle special education lawsuits.  What are non-disclosure agreements (gag orders) and who do they help and who do they harm?

Three experienced special education advocates join me in conversation: Ellie Goldberg, advocate, author and legislative chair of the Massachusetts PTA; Pat Howey, advocate and nationally known special needs presenter at WrightsLaw seminars; and Katy Franklin, advocate and a leading voice towards revising the San Francisco Unified School District’s educational practices towards children with extra needs. They explore the Santa Monica case and discuss actions by other school districts that not only harm the children the school districts are entrusted to teach, but cause all taxpayers to pay more to compensate for their school districts improper education strategies.  All this, in light of current special education enrollment at 10–12 % and rising rapidly, due to epidemics of allergies and autism.  

As I listened to this show I developed a feeling of unease.  I always thought that school district administrative personnel were working with the best interests of educating the child.  I now question the validity of that feeling.  I think all of us should explore if the administrators in our school districts have lost touch with that goal.  This is a difficult issue to visit.  We all want to trust.  We all want to believe.  

To gag or not gag, that is the question.