Education, politics, and anything else that catches my attention.
The most severely handicapped do not belong in any academic institution. I recently read a comment from a spec ed teacher who said that she (and a couple of aides) had taught a couple of their 9-10 year olds to recognize their names - over the past academic year. I think she said there were 6-8 kids in the class. Sigh. As for the psychotics, sociopaths, thugs and wannabes, and the "emotionally disturbed" etc; removal. Period. Only the destination changes with the label. Spoiled brats and other miscreants need a dose of the yardstick or the willow switch. It needs to be absolute (as it was when I was in school); disruption will not be tolerated. Lowering the required schooling age to 14 or completion of 8th grade and requiring mastery of grade-level work before advancement can't hurt. We're the only country in the world who spends (IIRC) 12 cents on spec ed (mostly on the most disabled) for every cent spent on the kids at the top.
What is even more devastating is the number of administrators who see nothing distracting about dropping a student who has profound physical, mental, emotional problems into already overloaded classes. At my school we have three pages of reports per special ed student to fill out every week. That number swells to seven at the grading periods. What is more, the special ed contact teachers make ludicrous IEP's. Example: A bipolar Downs Syndrome child whose wails and cries could be heard all over the school when she was sad, was allowed to sing and jump up to touch the top of the door ten times when she was manic. Imagine how well that worked out in an art class with thirty kids. And she was not the only student, there were at least seven others in varying stages of disability. Small things like reading and writing deficits we can work around, but simply placing a kid in any class to make his parents think things are great is nonsense. This all goes back to that show in the 90's with Cory the high functioning Downs Syndrome character. And what is more, if you walk down to the AVLS and ask they will all tell you they are going to college. The goal of special education seems to be to stoke the impossible desires of parents, not education.
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