Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Little Bit of Reality- Please

I have 935 more days before I can "retire" or find a job within the Waldorf Community. In the meantime the reality is that I still have to work. I have been a Special Education teacher since the late 1990's. I have seen a lot of changes. Some really good; like the Re-authorization of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that allow students with disabilities to have access to a free and public education. I have seen a growing understanding of various disabilities and how teachers can reach out and educate and touch these students lives in a meaningful way. I have also seen some terrible decisions that have significantly impacted California schools.  Budget cuts are not the only nemesis regarding Special Education. Unrealistic expectations is part of the culture of Special Education. Today's memo from my district is just but one example of the unrealistic expectation being imposed upon us by the state.

The district I  teach in had courses called Applied Arts or Liberal Arts for students who need the extra little help to access core curriculum in the schools. They are by no means "dumbed down" but often go back to basic skills for reading, English or Math or different books that are district approved but are not used by the mainstreamed teachers. The Applied Art and Liberal Art classes also allowed students to access the core curriculum as required by IDEA.  The classes in the memo are now no longer available starting next school year.

Some of these courses aren't even "remedial" or simplified but alternative classes for students who wanted use them for electives. Now, ALL students no matter their skill levels will be attending College Preparatory classes. 
 But, "Viking Mom what if a student is struggling with College Prep Algebra 1, which is a graduation requirement?"
 Well, the answer to that one is that the student who is failing Algebra 1 will continue taking the class and also attend a "supplementary class" to improve their skills so they can pass the class. 

What does this mean. It means that now in a high school College Prep English, math, history and foreign language class of 40+ students the classroom population will look like this: regular education students, students who have scored below ore far below basic on the California, students with mild to severe disabilities, students whose second language is English, and insert any other student population you can think of into this scenario. 
It is promised that teachers will receive assistants and support for students but we all the reality of that promise.

Bless Bless


  1. no comment in wouldn't be pretty right now.

  2. Well, you get what you pay for and since education is not a budget priority....

    1. Budget is not the priority and children are no longer the priority.