Thursday, April 29, 2010

City Pushing Major Changes In Special Education

According to an article in today's NY Times, the city is pushing for more special education students to be enrolled in regular regular high schools and by 2011 principals of all but the most severely disabled students will be expected to enroll these students.

You can and should read the entire article for yourself, but I had to comment on it here . The Bloomberg administration is swearing up and down that they are not doing this to save money, they are doing this as an effort to improve results for special education students.

While graduation rates have risen over all, for example, the rates for special education students have remained stubbornly low — fewer than 25 percent received a regular diploma last year, compared with more than double that for
traditional students.

Hello!!!! Doesn't anyone out there realize there is a reason for this? Special education means special needs. There is a reason these kids don't graduate and that more often than not this has little to do with the programs they are in (unless they are forced into academic programs beyond their capacity to learn.)

More and more ISS students are mainstreamed every day. This is good when they have the ability, with a little extra assistance, to succeed. For these kids, we have a moral and a legal obligation to provide for them in the least restrictive environment possible. But, there are kids that just can't make it here. A child who enters high school reading and doing math on a third grade (or lower) level cannot possibly succeed. Put these kids in a class with 34 other kids and look out. They will probably just get swallowed up in the crowd. In just a year, the schools will not be equipped to handle the needs of these children. Not only will principals not be ready, teachers will not be ready either.

“If kids are stuck in schools that don’t have the capacity to serve them and are denied requests to move elsewhere, that would be falling worse than flat.”

The second page of the article goes on to discuss some of the issues I am bring up here. There is a poignant story from a parent of a special needs child who succeeded because he was first enrolled in a special program and by a principal and by the Principal's union.


Anonymous said...

In my school, we are not sure how many of the Gen ed are really special ed-emotionally disturbed or just plain brain damaged.
Does he mean the physically impaired children who need elevators and such and very special attention.
Who's he kidding that he's doing it for the children?

Ms. Havisham said...


Anonymous said...

My nephew who lives in NJ is in a special-ed high school and is doing much better in that setting than he did in high school.

NYC Educator said...

He does everything for the children. He dumps them in illegally oversized classes, in trailers, in hallways, in bathrooms, closets and auditoriums, and then when there are too many special needs kids he closes their schools, sends them somewhere else, and then closes the new schools. That way the problem keeps shifting forever and only unionized teachers can be blamed. And the News and the Post simply sing his praises no matter how many times he fail, or how many hundreds of millions he takes and fails to decrease class sizes with.

Anonymous said...

The ISS AP at my school is an incompetent witch who knows nothing about special ed. She only recertified in the field to get the job. We all wonder who she knew to get it. She is not qualified.

Anonymous said...

The ISS AP at my school is an incompetent witch who knows nothing about special ed. She only recertified in the field to get the job. We all wonder who she knew to get it. She is not qualified.

Liberty Rose said...

This sort of change scares the shit out of me. This is NOT good for special needs kids. It ignores accepting them as they are. Of course they have potential and can learn and grow... but like every other kid on the block, they may need a different environment to do so. To ignore this fact is criminal. This is all about money and we all know it.
Whatever happened to common sense? Not every person on the planet can do rocket science or become a neurologist. That is OK. Not every kid can possibly earn a standard high school diploma. That is OK. We need to acknowledge the differences, accept them, and offer up relevant and meaningful educational opportunities instead of insisting one size fits all. Because it doesn't.

Sonja said...

WV hasn't had separate schools for about 20 years. The sad thing about their timing is they had JUST finished building several brand-new facilities - all universally designed for accessibility with loads of rooms, spaces, and places for various trainings and hands on learning of life skills. They were beautiful. But the courts came down and said 'no such thing as separate but equal' and everyone was integrated back into their home area school. The only separate school in the state that is state funded is the one in Romney for the Blind & Deaf students. Attendance there is voluntary - students cannot be forced to attend there.

Every student has the legal right to attend their home school and the school system MUST provide for all their needs IN THEIR HOME SCHOOLS. Every once in a while, you'll get a parent who will agree to allow their child with special needs to be bussed to another school where a particular program is very robust and successful. But this is rare.

This causes for a huge amount of duplication of services and spreading very thin the resources of people. Imagine trying to butter an entire loaf of bread with one knife-worth of butter.

I love my job. I would continue to do it even if I won the lottery (after taking a year off to travel). But I would be a heck of a lot more effective if there were 2 or 3 more of me to do my job with my students. And I predict most teachers feel that way - sp.ed. or gen. ed. :D