This is my response to a biased and false local news report:
This report contained significant factual mistakes and appeared to purposefully created a false impression about myself and others. This broadcast inaccurately describes what I and education advocates do through the use of a collage of miss-statements and illusion. It was clear to me based on the local reporter, that his questions asked and not aired nor added to the edited manuscripts, that he was being used to retaliate, attack and discredit me based on the questions asked. He asked questions related to a highly specific school district and parent settlement that had a nondisclosure clause. How would he know about it? This broadcast was unfortunately also used to disparage many families of children with disabilities who struggle to get an appropriate education for their children through the use of education advocacy services.
In a national news quality analysis, done by politifact (http://www.politifact.com) ,and reported by additingingo.org, stated the following: “A new analysis by politifact found that of every statement made by a Fox News host … over half of them were flat-out false. What’s more, only a measly 8% could be considered completely “true.” … Fox News lies. A lot. Like all the time. Which isn’t to say that exposing Fox News’ irresponsible journalism isn’t an admirable goal. Despite its blatant spin doctoring…”
It should be noted that in a Philadelphia Magazine article, the author reports that this particular news caster's work has brought lawsuits that Fox News has settled. It is noted that he has repeatedly investigated and aired stories based on false information from disgruntled employees and union leaders, which have ruined people’s lives. He appears to justify this outrageous behavior by believing that “there’s a larger good here. We think a lot of what we’ve done has gone a pretty good distance…” I don’t understand how he forgot his professional code of ethics. The Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics (http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp) calls journalists to expose unethical conduct in journalism – Thank you Philadelphia Magazine for exposing such outrageous behavior.
The Society of Professional Journalist’s Code of Ethics requires ethical journalism, even if recognizing their special obligation to serve as watchdogs over public affairs and government, to:
Be accurate and fair! He didn't!
Remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy! He didn't!
Consider sources’ motives before promising anonymity! He didn't!
Explain why anonymity was granted! He didn't!
Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information unless traditional, open methods will not yield information vital to the public! He didn't!
Never deliberately distort facts or context! He did
Minimize harm! He didn't!
Act independently and avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived! He didn't!
Be accountable and transparent! He didn't!
Be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information! He didn't!
Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work! He didn't!
Verify information before releasing it and use original sources whenever possible! He didn't!
The code of ethics does not allow a reporter to take a "bull dog" or "super hero" mentality and not be accountable and ruin peoples lives. That is what gossip and slander are and they are used by cowards, not professionals. Just because he is a "local-yocal" broadcaster does not allow him to be so unprofessional in his conduct and broadcasting.
After this so called news program was aired, it should be noted that, my personal web site was hacked and all text removed. The NSEAI site was hacked and information related to our upcoming trainings and links were removed. Our Constant Contact site was hacked and announcements removed and our training program site hacked and all trainings and data removed. This sounds more like coordinated sabatage - but I cannot prove this. Knowingly or unknowingly this boadcaster became a destructive agent of those afraid of competition in this industry.
I have not provided false information. I am a Registered Nurse with years of experience in hospital administration on the Neurosurgical and Rehabilitation Units at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital. I have been a disability case manager and behavior specialist for families for over 20 years. I also have a Masters degree in (Applied) (Spiritual) Psychology from the University of Santa Monica (USM). This is an outstanding program rooted in a profound respect for every individual, and part of a rapidly growing movement in spiritual psychology. USM is approved to grant post-secondary education degrees (master degrees) by the California Department of Education. Columbia University, Teachers College, clinical psychology program and Antioch University now offer degree programs in this specialty area also. I also have a PhD in psychology from Rochville University (RU). In 2008, when I received my degree, RU had a distance learning program in Maryland - where all my correspondance came from. Most universities today have distance learning programs. RU has been approved by multiple distance learning credentialing agencies. My thesis was on the, “Meta-Analysis of Intensive Behavioral Interventions for Children with Autism.”
It was noted that I have given expert testimony as an education advocate. This is not accurate. I have testified in court as a Behavior Specialist and as a Disability Case Manager. As an education advocate I have only testified as a fact witness about observations in meetings. Such testimony has not been reimbursable by school districts as one was mislead to believe.
As the news broadcast stated, I have personally “journeyed the special education maze." I have, as the mother, of three children with special education needs. In the process, I learned how to improve communication between parents and school districts and facilitate the development of individualized instruction to which the U.S. Congress and the courts have determined that children with disabilities are entitled. Special education advocates do not get “EXTRA” inappropriate services or "money" for their clients. They assist parents in getting a basic floor of "de minimus" progress in education through the “free and appropriate education” legally guaranteed to all special education students. Providing an appropriate education for a child with special needs often requires modifications to curriculum, specially design instruction, or instructional setting modifications for them to access their education effectively. The true waste of taxpayer dollars is not in providing appropriate special education, but in failing to. Many of these children can and do become taxpaying citizens when appropriately educated. When not, they may require taxpayer assistance for rest of their lives.
I can say that having been a victim of this so called reporting, I was quite traumatized! I think any woman my age going out to her car, in the pitch dark, in 20+ degree weather, in an abandoned parking lot and suddenly have 2 large men run toward you, who put a huge light on- blinding your eyes and ability to see - does not encourage any willingness to converse, even if the reporter does hand you his business card on his final approach. After I willingly answering the same questions over and over again for approximately 20-30 minutes, I was continued blocked and adequate access to my car. I asked for the source of the information he was reporting on and he refused. He protected his source without any justification and just said he would not tell me. His only justification for investigating me was that I was "prominent". Which I laughed at and disagreed with. I finally kept insisting over and over that I felt threatened and needed to go to my car, which he continued to ignore. I did notice that none of that was aired.
My second encounter was having him bang on my parked car door window, from the blind area on the drivers side. I was in my car after parking in a closed space. I did not see him approach. I happened to be finishing a conversation on the phone with a student's lawyer. This reporter scared me so much with his window bang that I screamed and dropped my phone to the floor of the car. The lawyer I was talking to was afraid I had just been hurt, when he heard the car window bang. I told the reporter that I was talking on the phone, making it clear that I was not going to turn it off. And as instructed by the lawyer on the phone, I keep the phone on as I walked into the office building. This clearly upset this reporter. Most people just write a letter or call to set up an interview, which he was offered multiple times but he refused to arrange it in an appropriate manner and at a convenient time.
My deepest concern is not just the obvious lies about myself but that warped broadcast targeted the least of the least in our community, children with disabilities and their families and he did not try to protect them. They targeted their advocates, many of who do significant pro bono work. Up to 30% of my cases are referred from agencies as pro bono cases that no one else will take and which I continue to provide service to. They isolated this often voiceless population even more and put them at even more of a disadvantage socially, educationally, and economically in our community.
This reporter continued additional outrageous behavior and Fox News was eventually given written notice of pending action, based on the intimidating and harrassing behavior of it's reporter.
Please go to the NSEAI web site for their official response at NSEAI.org.
What I can tell you is that NSEAI is a large, and growing, national association of education advocates working together to raise the bar for educational advocates by establishing standards of conduct, providing fundamental minimum levels of training, and offering National Board Certification, through its professional association. Education advocates must complete the training program and meet the practicum requirements. NSEAI believes that it is necessary to provide parents with the assurance that there are education advocates that have the knowledge and skill to assist them in navigating the complex special education process to access a free and appropriate education for their children with disabilities.
Before NSEAI there were no professional educational standards for special education advocates. The Board Certified Education Advocate (BCEA) program is a voluntary program and is only for those committed to improving the professionalism in educational advocacy which is a stand-alone profession. NSEAI’s Board Certification program is the only one in the country. It provides research based and validated information from state departments of education, nation wide. NSEAI is the only professional association of education advocates to belong to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence, which promotes best practices for the credentialing community. NSEAI protects the public from advocates that just put up a shingle and practice with; no formal training or eclectically pieced together trainings that are missing fundamental elements and have no mandated continuing education and no enforceable code of conduct.
Contrary to statements on Fox News, special education advocates do not represent families, they are not lawyers, they are consultants. They attend meetings with families, and discuss with them their options. It sounds simple, but requires considerable knowledge in a number of diverse cross-disciplinary fields. Advocates do not give legal advice. Education advocates are often hired in lieu of attorneys, who charge $400 or more and hour. BCEAs actively avoid due process and court. They work with the IEP team to facilitate communication and collaboration within a child focused process. The team develops individualized measurable goals and specially designed instruction that often results in more effective and less costly instruction than those the school district was previously providing.
NSEAI is a non-profit corporation without tax-exempt status, due to a paperwork delay, which is being corrected by its accoutants. This has no bearing, as NSEAI does not solicit or accept charitable tax-exempt contributions. The indication that a “Sponsorship” can be purchased for $25,000 that appears on flyers for NSEAI trainings is not a request for donations, but an offering of event sponsorship, allowing the sponsor’s personnel to attend the trainings. Non-profit organizations may be named as “sponsors” and receive a specified number of free or reduced-cost passes in exchange for providing a training venue or marketing. This allows organizations to send their staff and members who would otherwise be unable to attend.
The impression has been given that NSEAI trainings are over-priced. This is not clearly true. NSEAI provides a series of 12 different full day intensive trainings. Each course can be taken as a stand-alone program and costs $195.00 per course. Many of those who attend are not parents, but clinicians, educators, school administrators, lawyers, and professional advocates. NSEAI trainings have been qualified for Act 48 continuing education credits for teachers by the Pennsylvania Department of Education credits and Continuing Legal Education for members of the Pennsylvania Bar, by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The price is well below the cost of many other professional seminars costing over $300.00 a day. Every year many parents have received full or partial scholarships, and NSEAI is unique in its commitment to continuing this practice.