Saturday, September 18, 2010

Special Ed Teacher Comments on Changes Being Pushed by DOE: It's not About Children

You always hear ed deformers say they are about children and accuse the Real Reformers about being about adults. Here a spec ed teacher shows what changes by the DOE are really all about.
Say a zoned school has 8 kids that need 12:1:1 on a given three grade section... how will the school fund the 12:1:1?  I very much believe the DOE would want the IEPS changed to "a least restrictive environment" (which is their code for make the kid fit the program not make a program for the kid)... which they are already doing in charter schools.  The charter in our building has counseled several families out of special education services, and there have been a few where it was VERY damaging to the child, and they were boomeranged back to their PS (mostly told their child wasn't a "fit" for the school) in even more dire circumstances.  The potential for the removing of student services and the usurping (and manipulation) of parents and their rights is truly troubling.

I do not believe one word the DOE says regarding their reforms for special education.  I fully believe this policy is about dollars, about increasing student to teacher ratios, about taking services away from special needs students b/c they are "too costly" and it is a "waste of money" to fund programs for "kids who will always be behind anyway".  The fact that the DOE could not complete one comprehendible sentence on this very important issue, regarding an initiative that is already underway, proves I/We have EVERY reason to be suspect... and must be vigilant!  (and btw, not just for our special education population, which should be enough, but for our general ed population as well... they too will be impacted by potentially increased class sizes filled with more high needs students who are not getting the support they need... both groups will suffer.)

My mom's boss (a physician) is always my bell weather in terms of what this administration is really thinking but won't say.  When I started teaching children with mental retardation and other health impairments, his response was, "Why bother? You are wasting your time, it doesn't matter what you do with those kids."  Disgusting and sad.... but there are MANY people who feel this way, and in a time of supposed economic crisis, in a time when the top 1% are scrambling to protect their disproportionate distribution of wealth, the most vulnerable in our capitalist society will be the ones to pay the price. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting enough, I received a call from a former colleague who now works at multiple sites. He states that several of the new small high schools that he has contact with are now trying to transfer special needs students out of their schools. The reason he believes they are doing this is to remove these students from their cohort so the numbers will be more favorable. Two of these schools were awarded bonus money.
    I do believe that the principals are allowed to get away with this with the blessing of the DOE.


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