Mom-R-K-Tet had some great points in her comment on my work rant no. 3. I just have to hilight 'em here. It's wonderful to see that I'm not the only one who says this system is broken and needs fixed. Who knows, we may get lucky and all of us can brain up a solution to it together! Wouldn't that be cool?
Quick summary of the rant: I feel that mainstreaming students with learning disabilities is generally a disservice to those students when those learning disabilities are severe. It is something that not only results in fustration for the students but can prove more then disruptive to the classroom and ultimately hamper *everyone* in their efforts of academic success. I feel that education should be to mastery of a subject and that students should be given the opporutnity to proceed at their own pace. This means that students should be taught to their abilities, not some predetermined standard. The rant rambles all over the place, including a description of problems due to mainstreaming as found where I work. But that's the gist of what I'm trying to say. :)
[...] To avoid this kind of "inclusion," we have provided private placements for our autistic daughter for the last six years. It has cost us, to date, more than $150,000 in education and other services, and we have another six years to go. [..]
A question for y'all: Why do we have to commit "financial suicide" to get our kids what they need? Am I the only one that finds it more then a little sadistic to ask for a parent that's sacrificing functionally everything they have for their children's well being to give up their ability to support themselves to get their kids what they need? They're trying to provide for their children. That's what parents are *supposed* to do. We're not asking parents to *pretend* they care about their children. Kids aren't dress up dolls or pets. They're people who need to be protected and assisted as needed. Kids are amoung our most helpless members of society, can't anybody remember that?
Please pardon the outrage, but that number makes me a little angry. None should have to spend that much to help their kids start out in life. It's just not right! (Remember, dear Reader, deep breath in, count to 10 and then a deep breath out. It works to help keep stress levels down as well as incidences of rage inspired homicide.)
Next excellent point:
She is, for now, in a private placement paid for by the school. But the state is trying to eliminate such arrangements, to move toward 100% inclusion. Will we be able to beg, borrow and steal the fortune in educational expenses needed for this child? I lie awake every night, fearing what will become of her if we do not manage it.
There's injustice and then insult to injury. I know that the state (any state) is trying to save money. Why is it that the first concern is to cut back on the things that are actually going to *help* in the long run? Schools fund football fields before programs for tutoring. The state pushes to mainstream learning disabled kids (and there by spend less on education) but yet will vote the legislature a raise. And who hurts in the end? The kids, their parents... all of us. After all, these kids who are getting the short end of the stick are going to be our leaders.
Imagine that, for a second, here we are old and grey. Maeby we have social security, maeby not, but that's a different rant. We're pretty much to the point where we're depending on the good graces of the younger generation. And what do we have, kids who got pushed through school to keep graduation numbers up. Kids who's education was dumbed down for the sake of making the graduating classes looking smarter then the year before. Did you know that the national reading level is now a little above 4th grade? Not that long ago it was at 7th grade.
Do you know what that means? It means that a growing percentage of our population is functionally unable to read. Do you know who makes up that growing percentage? The kids graduating from highschool right now. How's that for scary? Do you want your country run by people who can't do basic math or read the Consitution of the United States? I certianly don't. Let's stop people from stealing our kids futures from their hands.
Educate them. Sure, little Billy may have a learning disability. But it's no different from any other disability. There are tools to work with them, and that learning disability could prove to be a *huge* benefit. Imagine if you had severe ADD. There's alot of jobs that you'd have a hard time doing. There's some that you'd be amazing at. I know a woman that's got a 3 second atention span and she's one of the most amazing phone operators you'll ever meet. She can handle a 50 line phone system with hardly any problems and keep things running smoothly. Her ADD makes her a natural for multi-tasking. That thing that's so tough for the rest of us.
And you know what, don't assume that kids with learning disabilities are dumb. They're not. On the whole, kids with learning disabilities will get higher scores on IQ tests then people who are not. Why do you ask? No one knows for sure yet. It's one of the things with learning disabilities that they're reasearching. For my part, I suspect that it's one of those trade offs in how the brain is "wired".
Mom-R-K-Tet, keep fighting! You're kids got a great mother in you. They're going to grow up to be strong and smart because they've got a great role model. I know that's one reason why they'll turn out to be great people. Don't give up!