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On Thursday I read an Education Week blog piece, “Survey Finds Rising Job Frustration Among Principals”, highlighting the Metlife Survey of American Teachers documenting declining morale among both teachers, principals, and other school leaders. It rekindled my frustration with the mainstream approach to endless inside-the-box “reform” of our public education system rather than making some real substantive changes.  I posted perhaps an overly provocative comment...

Seems like all the participants in the conventional schooling process are hating it more and more! Will we have to let the whole thing go down in flames before we get out of our state of denial and really transform the system, rather than this endless reform?

Striking a Nerve?

My comment ended with a link (as I usually do) to a blog piece I had previously written last October, “Let’s Have Real Discussion about Education Policy”,based on a snippet of a speech by President Obama on education policy last August on the 2012 election campaign trail at Canyon Springs High School in Las Vegas.  My piece featured my frustration that it seemed like all our mainstream political leaders were drinking the Kool-Aid of imagining an OSFA (one-size-fits-all) education system as the only possible path forward.  Typically, when I post such a link, I might get a handful of views of my piece linked to.  But since posting that comment and the link last Thursday, my blog stats show over 70 views of my piece based on that comment, way more than I’ve ever gotten before from any similar Education Week comment.

Here again is the snippet from Obama’s speech that inspired my October piece...

Education should not be a Democratic or a Republican issue. It’s an American issue. It’s about what’s best for our kids. And I haven’t just talked the talk, I’ve walked the walk on this. Over the past four years, we’ve broken through the traditional stalemate that used to exist between the left and the right, between conservatives and liberals. We launched a national competition to improve all our schools. We put more money into it, but we also demanded reform. We want teachers to be paid better and treated like the professionals that they are. But we’re also demanding more accountability, including the ability of school districts to replace teachers that aren’t cutting it.
Obama was using the classic rhetorical approach of staking his policy vision above the fray of petty political bickering, as part of the tried and true general election strategy of reaching out to undecided voters in the center between more polarized Democratic and Republican positions.  Though some on the right of the GOP and the left of the Democrats have a different take on the path forward for our public education system, certainly his election challenger, Governor Romney, had an education position not that different from the President’s.  Basically they both believed in standardization, high-stakes testing, teacher evaluation based on that testing, and encouraging the launch of charter schools to improve educational choice.  The biggest difference was Obama being more favorable to teacher’s unions.

So presumably one of the viewers of my comment that linked to and read my October piece made the following comment on my piece...

This is a beautifully written piece containing many interesting and thoughtful quotes by bright individuals who seem to understand learning. What is missing is what is missing in almost, if not all, political, theoretical, and editorial writings – how do we do what needs to be done? How do we transform education when government entities drive the educational bus, not trained educators? How do we transform education and meet the needs of all students, most specifically those who are drowned in poverty, abuse, mental health issues, Fetal Alcohol Affects/Syndrome, addiction… and the list goes on.
My commenter shared her credentials of over 30 years work in schools with young people who are burdened with the problems she mentioned above.  Based on that background, her take was that...
It is easy to teach those who are willing to learn, those with supportive families, those who are of higher intelligence – they are usually curious and creative and only need a little guidance. What is difficult is to develop a system that meets the needs of all students. Only when someone can provide a viable solution that our governmental entities will accept and fund, will we truly transform education. In the meantime, people like me will continue to do the best we can for every child for whom we are responsible, with fewer resources and more regulations. I agree with much of what is written here, all that is missing is the SOLUTION!
I appreciate and share her frustration! Though she is focused on kids with learning difficulties and I more on kids she refers to as “willing to learn”, I strongly believe that both groups are suffering in our standards-obsessed OSFA schools.  Yes there are certainly a number of kids in that latter category, who love school and enjoy following the academic direction of their teachers and successfully jumping through all the hoops they are presented with, and gaining self-esteem from real learning plus being awarded good grades for doing so.

But I’m convinced that there are many other kids who do not, whose natural love of learning is blunted by being constantly directed by adults (through academic rewards and punishments) rather than following their own muse.  Kids like our son Eric who bridled at that direction from his teachers, or like our daughter Emma, who seemed to be too dependent on the approval of her teachers and becoming a sort of “trained seal”.

The Path Forward

So what is “THE SOLUTION” that my commenter highlighted in all caps? Or at least a path forward to it?

I believe that path forward starts with moving away from rigid standardization (maybe “regimentation” is a more appropriate word) of school curriculum and the assumption that a learning environment for young people involves constant direction and instruction by adults.  Until we have more than a hammer (standardized instruction) in our society’s educational toolbox, I fear that we are going to continue to misperceive all learning as a nail that needs to be pounded in!

My commenter asks...

How do we transform education when government entities drive the educational bus, not trained educators?
It's a great question!  From my reading of U.S. history, government has driven that educational bus since the beginning of the state-directed public education system in the 1830s.  Even the progressive ideas of the great educational minds of the early 20th century, particularly those of John Dewey and Maria Montessori, were short lived.  Dewey’s and Montessori’s approaches, which acknowledged the critical role of the student’s innate curiosity and drive to learn (beyond the state’s drive for a “melting pot” based on a uniformly educated citizenry) were set aside by a corporate takeover of public education leadership during the first three decads of that century. Teachers, being mostly women in a society where most leaders were expected to be men, have never been treated as real professionals and trusted with running public schools.  To the extent that unionization gave teachers more clout, it was still as “labor” rather than “management”.

I think that path forward to a solution starts with having a broad discussion about the full range of educational options, beyond the present assumption that all real education is a formal process that requires students to be sitting in front of teachers engaged in constant instruction and direction of their learning.  I think all stakeholders in the education process - parents, students, teachers, principals, bureaucrats, and legislators - have been guilty of harboring these very limited educational assumptions.  Add to that the hubris of legislators and bureaucrats that set all the most significant education policy, to think that they know best what others need to learn.  All of these stakeholders need to at least consider the arguments of Dewey and Montessori, and a number of other more contemporary alternative educators, that real learning starts with a self-directed learner, that I called out in my October piece.

Just as we have moved away from the idea of our society as a “melting pot” to one of a “salad bowl” that champions diversity in our culture, we need to champion real diversity in our education system.  Championing that diversity starts with backing away from the current obsession with ever-increasing educational standardization and high-stakes testing to enforce that standardization.

I think the Metlife Survey shows that, our teachers and principals as true education professionals, are increasingly disheartened by this trend.  The majority feel they no longer control the learning environment they offer to students, while still feeling responsibility for that environment.  In the world of standardized education, all real control is exercised by the standard setters at the state (and increasingly the national) level.  Principals and teachers are increasingly just following orders rather than being able to fully exercising their professional judgement.  I can only imagine the stress of being evaluated based on how well you teach a required subject that many of your students may not be interested in learning, and react with boredom, passive aggression, or outright hostility toward their teacher.

Instead, they could be energized by having more elbow room to enact a much broader spectrum of educational approaches beyond just conventional instruction of a standardized preset curriculum.  In such an environment, teachers and principals could better engage individual students in what the student is interested in learning rather than what the state demands they must learn.  The dynamic in a classroom where all the students are there because they want to be could make teaching a joy like it was meant to be rather than a grueling chore that it seems to have become.

Addressing the Challenge of Special Needs Students

Then my commenter asks...

How do we transform education and meet the needs of all students, most specifically those who are drowned in poverty, abuse, mental health issues, Fetal Alcohol Affects/Syndrome, addiction… and the list goes on.
To this question I don’t have any easy answer.  I think many progressives rightly point out that most of these are larger societal issues that belong in the realm of politics and the collective vision and action of a larger human community and cannot be relegated to schools to solve somehow in isolation from that political will or lack thereof.  This is where I believe that Obama is wrong when he says that education is not a political issue.

In my opinion, what we teach our kids, or choose not to teach our kids, is completely political.  According to a progressive educator like John Dewey, the circumstances of the larger community that a young person is growing up in, whether privilege or poverty, is compelling educational curriculum.  To choose to ignore that curriculum in favor of a generic standardized predigested math, science, language arts and social studies is a political decision.

To simply pass a state law that every public school large or small must be able to accommodate the developmental needs of every sort of young person with every sort of special need is a political act.  This is a bureaucratic approach that allows state educational leaders to say that they have solved the problem of equal educational access for all students, while in reality imposing an impossible mandate on many smaller schools, particularly charter schools.  A very different political approach to this issue would be to empower each local community to provide an array of schools and other alternative educational venues to accommodate those special needs, but not all needs accommodated by all schools.

The Need for “Many Paths”

To sum up here, I continue to be convinced that the solution lies in each community being able to provide for many educational paths, by providing an array of profoundly different educational venues, rather than just many instances of the same OSFA schools.  I do appreciate that this goes against the grain of conventional educational thinking that the majority of us are caught up in.  Our society has embraced educational standardization for nearly two centuries, and any number of generations of Americans have experienced only this conventional type of school.  Given that long embrace of such a limited view of how to facilitate human development, it is little wonder that the promotion of educational alternatives is such an arduous task, despite the mounting evidence of the failure of the OSFA school system.

But the fact that our our society has begun to embrace cultural diversity does give me hope that we can now finally embrace educational diversity as well.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Why doesn't anybody read this stuff!?! (4+ / 0-)

    Maybe it doesn't fit with the buzzword, trending thing we have so come to expect. It doesn't fit on a bumper sticker. I clicked through and read your referenced blog. Good stuff.

    Where to start. Maybe with the Obama speech. Public education, like public anything, is about politics. Any time taxpayer dollars are involved it's politics, and even if politicians can't possibly provide the answer, they will try.

    But imho, public education, despite the indissoluble link to politics, should be held above the fray of political squabbling from other arenas because it's so damned important that we get it right! Political discussions about education should never be held hostage to other political concerns. That being said, it's a fool's errand to keep it that way.

    I think the first few sentences of the President's speech could be interpreted in that way. The balance is the political reality coming back in to play. Can't get rid of it, no matter how we try.

    Learning is as unique to an individual as the coloring of the iris of the eye. Sure lots of people have blue eyes, but no two are exactly alike. To think that OSFA schools will educate all children equally is unsupportable. You'll end up with the lowest common denominator.

    I couldn't agree more with your "many paths" analogy. I only hope that we can get past our fixation on accountability and standardization and placing blame and get down to the real discussion.

    And that discussion should start with a premise: that one size can't possibly fit all. So stop pounding our kids into the same mold or we'll end up like that Apple commercial from the Super Bowl! Wait, maybe that's their plan for world domination?


    - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
    - Frank Zappa


    by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:44:05 PM PST

    •  I appreciate your wanting to rise above politics! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, rudyblues, Mrs M

      But real politics is about hearing all the arguments and hashing out a solution that takes all those arguments into account.  IMO its about not putting up with a bureaucratic solution that as you pointed out is the least common denominator and try to appease people with mediocre sameness along with the constant "reform" to try to make the mediocre a bit more bearable.

      So for me when Obama says that education should not  be a political issue, I feel he is not interested with wrestling with the full range of views and is willing to settle for a bureaucratic solution that is really just rearranging the deck chairs.

      But bottom line... I am heartened you support the many paths idea. Tho I personally am a big unschooler and free-schooler, I would be happy to compromise on different strokes for different folks, and allowing for the real world politics of voting with your feet.

      Thanks so much for your comment!  I'll be interested in your thoughts on mine!

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

      by leftyparent on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:10:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're right, I do want the discussion . . . (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, Mrs M

        . . . to be held above the other political brouhahas of the day, but I think we agree that it's impossible to do so. The fact that we must choose any direction other than that direction which is in the best interest of the children is testament to the politics involved in public education, which has always been about distributing limited means among competing interests (as is all politics).

        The recent obsession with "getting our educational tax dollar's worth" seems to have resulted in a compromise position that tries to appease the obsession with accountability, test scores and evaluations only possible through regimentation/standardization, the very top down, bureaucratic approach that you (and I) are against. This compromise approach is pragmatic in that it moves the discussion(something Obama is accused of regularly), but wrong. There is really no compromise position when it comes to educating the next generation. It is our most important responsibility after meeting basic human needs. If we fail, so do they.

        And the many paths must include the un-school and free-school paths as well. There is no one right way, in spite of how badly we may want one. The quotes from your blog had me saying "Hell yes!" more than a few times.

        I think that there are a few "rights" we should add to the documents from our Founding Fathers. The right to freedom from hunger, the right to health, and the right to learn everything we are capable of learning, regardless of our socioeconomic situation.

        Looking forward to your next diary.


        - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
        - Frank Zappa


        by rudyblues on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 08:11:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I appreciate your continuing support... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rudyblues

          of my writing and the urging to write on.  I intend to, tho sometimes I feel like I'm rehashing the same ideas over and over again in a slightly different context.

          The issue of getting our education tax dollar's worth has actually been with us since the early 20th century, when the muckraking U.S. press turned its focus on the "inefficiencies" in the public education system, and that system responded by surrendering the running of public school systems to business efficiency experts like Elwood Cubberly who famously said...

          Our schools are, in a sense, factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products to meet the various demands of life. The specification for manufacturing come from the demands of the twentieth-century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils to the specification laid down. This demands good tools, specialized machinery, continuous measurement of production to see if it is according to specifications, the elimination of waste in manufacture, and a large variety in the output.
          I wrote about business seizing overall control of the public education during the first decades of the 20th century in a previous piece.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

          by leftyparent on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 07:40:49 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe we should emphasize . . . (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            leftyparent

            . . . "good tools, specialized machinery, . . . and a large variety in output."

            To borrow an analogy from industry, education shouldn't be like the U.S. steel industry of the early 20th century, with its reliance on mass production techniques. It should be more like the specialized, small batch steel industry of the 21st century U.S. Let's bring education into the 21st century.

            In the words of Curtis Mayfield, "keep on keepin' on". I'll be reading.


            - Politics is the entertainment branch of industry.
            - Frank Zappa


            by rudyblues on Mon Feb 25, 2013 at 05:20:13 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  I've taught at many levels (4+ / 0-)

    but no longer do so.  Where the class was non-mandatory for the learner, then learning was self-motivated and teaching was a joy.  Where the classes were mandatory and compulsory, the disaffected sucked up lots of energy and degraded the experience for everyone.  Teaching compulsory classes was, for me, a penance.

    It seems to me that there is something deeply wrong with our whole approach.  If we can't offer learning that students CHOOSE to seek, let them seek other things.  

    In practical terms, one thing this means is a LOT more vocational classes and apprenticeships.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 03:59:52 PM PST

    •  I so appreciate the 2nd on classroom dynamics... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Mrs M, lgmcp

      when students want to be there vs when they don't!  People are so caught us with the mythology that kids are going to hate to learn but must be forced to do so and will thank us later.  I think that's bullshit, and the reality is the poisoning of the learning environment that you know well as a teacher, and I remember as a young student myself way back when.

      Hey if we had kids in a lot more vocational classes they might see why they needed the math and the science and be actually eager to take those classes!

      Thanks for your comment, and please reply with any further thoughts!

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

      by leftyparent on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:15:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The beauty of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      leftyparent, lgmcp

      vocational classes and apprenticeships is that they are taught by master teachers who know their subject and provide skills and knowledge through direct instruction.

  •  There are two poles in this issue. One pole is the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Expat Okie, leftyparent, Mrs M

    need for citizens of a democracy to share enough common knowledge and grounds in order to not have severely dissatisfied elements of any persuasion trying to destroy the system and to be able to compromise without humiliation or feeling marginalized. There has always been a conservative push to call education what I call indoctrination and regimentation in order to keep society running in same directions as everyone else. Remember school when wyou walked in quiet lines to class or to the playground? When everyone said the pledge of allegience? When students were rapped across the hands for anything but rapt attention and obedience to the teacher (rulers)? This is what republicans miss.  So they took up home schooling to instill thier beliefs and attitudes regardless of facts or evidence. It is how they think society is kept "GOOD". Everyone marching to same drummer... the OTHER or the different teased, bullied or dismissed to somewhere they don't have to see. The extreme was Hitlers Germany. Neaten up society and the GOOD will benefit most as it should be in thier eyes.

    I read Montessoris books. Liked the ideas a lot. I also read Holt  (how Children Learn & How Children Fail) and other teaching texts as a high school student (I was a chemistry/science/math tutor and wanted to know a little about teaching). Interesting but still ignoring real students and thier drives. We are all chemical being and our brains are bathed in our own genetic bath water which means we are different. It would be better to group children in my opinion by ability, drives, specific problem areas then by age alone. Boys and girls learn differently at different rates and have a social biological differences that stymie thier learning at same pace or even being interested at the same time. Being in the same classes inhibits many girls from trying to excel in ceratin areas because they are harrassed for being too boyish or different then social expectations.  Teachers could specialize in various groups with training and discussion groups.

    No magic tests of students to use to punish teachers, no memorization of crap that is useless to a specific student... Open lifelong learning for people who come into thier own later. Many children who have a basic education are not the type who want to go further so they should be allowed to find training & educations for what they would fit. I would like to see schools that are continuous and available. I would like to see children evaluated more humanely as to where they are without records of past bad judgments haunting them. There are basics but they can be taught in a way that hits a particualr student where they get enthralled. I've done that just ranting about sewage treatment plants. Got a few students who came through to go on to study biology because I loved the plant and how it worked. An amazing place.  

    I like your diaries. Good one as usual. Hope is thin about our educational system but since I am optimistic I think it is going to get worse before it gets better. Maybe about the time we get single payer. LOL

    Fear is the Mind Killer...

    by boophus on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 04:34:47 PM PST

    •  As always a thoughtful comment from you... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Mrs M

      full of ideas and visions of what could be.

      My take is more metaphysical than your chemical, but it is still about each soul, each consciousness being unique, with no other person better than it in charting its course thru this life and all opportunities for development.

      I am also optimistic but also agree with you that it is very likely to get worse before it gets better.  A generation or two perhaps still before we hit bottom and then really face a need to transform rather than endless reform.

      And yes... maybe a generation or so before our initial foray into universal health care hits its limits and we realize that single-payer is the most straightforward way to run a national health system and best facilitate a successful democracy.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

      by leftyparent on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:23:24 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seth Godin has some interesting thoughts in (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, leftyparent, Mrs M

    Stop Stealing Dreams (what is school for?). Because he encourages the sharing of the publication, I am including a quote that is longer than otherwise generally permissible.

    3. Back to (the wrong) school
    A hundred and fifty years ago, adults were incensed about child labor. Low-wage kids were taking jobs away from hard-working adults.

    Sure, there was some moral outrage about seven-year-olds losing fingers and being abused at work, but the economic rationale was paramount. Factory owners insisted that losing child workers would be catastrophic to their industries and fought hard to keep the kids at work—they said they couldn’t afford to hire adults. It wasn’t until 1918 that nationwide compulsory education was in place.

    Part of the rationale used to sell this major transformation to industrialists was the idea that educated kids would actually become more compliant and productive workers. Our current system of teaching kids to sit in straight rows and obey instructions isn’t a coincidence—it was an investment in our economic future. The plan: trade short-term child-labor wages for longer-term productivity by giving kids a head start in doing what they’re told.

    Large-scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system. Scale was more important than quality, just as it was for most industrialists.

    This isn't an endorsement of what Mr. Godin calls his "30,000 world manifesto" because I have just started reading it, but I intend to continue to see if he suggests any solutions.

    "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's the thing you know for sure that just ain't so." Mark Twain

    by Expat Okie on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 04:43:10 PM PST

    •  Great quote thanks for sharing... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Mrs M

      My favorite along those same lines comes from famous school administrator of the early 20th century Elwood Cubberley who said...

      Our schools are, in a sense, factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products to meet the various demands of life. The specification for manufacturing come from the demands of the twentieth-century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils to the specification laid down. This demands good tools, specialized machinery, continuous measurement of production to see if it is according to specifications, the elimination of waste in manufacture, and a large variety in the output.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

      by leftyparent on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:28:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Many disabled students can benefit (3+ / 0-)

    from the many paths concept as well. If there are many paths, then students who need a particular path over another are more easily accommodated. Kids who excel at one thing and are behind in another are also more easily accommodated.
    When I was in middle school I was in the 'accelerated track'. This meant every subject was ahead of the rest of my grade. The problem with this was I would have benefited from a slower math path. But in order to do that I would have been bumped down in every other subject where I was ahead.  Instead I barely skirted by in math, missed out on a lot of things I may have been able to master at a slower pace, and that affected my math for the rest of high school and into college.

    "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

    by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 05:10:31 PM PST

    •  So having special needs kids, would you agree... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mrs M

      that it is not realistic for every school to have to accommodate every sort of special need!  What is important is that the larger community is committed to a range of educational venues and parents can pick and choose, a little of this and some of that for their kids!

      Thanks for the comment and interested as always in any further thoughts!

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

      by leftyparent on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:32:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know there are schools down here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftyparent, Futuristic Dreamer

        that do specialize in particular disabilities and they will send kids to that school. But generally it's for the more severe disabilities, not the higher functioning kids. And not for kids like I was with dyscalculia or kids with dyslexia who would also benefit from a many paths educational model.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:36:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What I was referring to in my previous comment... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM

          was that small alternative schools sometimes get unfairly criticized IMO because they don't have the breadth of program and resources to even attempt to accommodate all sorts of special needs kids.  While even the bigger schools that try to have that universal accommodation can't really provide the best environment for all types of learners either.

          It's just not realistic, tho people often write off schools that try to be different because they can't offer a suitable program for everyone.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

          by leftyparent on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:55:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, I can see where that could be helpful (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Futuristic Dreamer, leftyparent

            IF you actually have enough schools focusing to serve the kids with special needs, and the appropriate funds and programs. The problem comes when you have inadequate programs and schools to meet those needs and kids are left out with nothing that works. I was given the choice of an 'autistic classroom' for my son, but that classroom was geared for more severe lower functioning kids when he was on level or advanced academically. The other option was a general "behavior and emotional handicapped' classroom, where he was put in with a lot of more violent, less controlled kids who set him off more, and also was not on his academic level. The only other option would have been to mainstream him, which he could not handle (we tried it, didn't work). There WAS no program for him, in any of the options.

            The other problem comes in with the "least restrictive environment" problem. It sounds great on paper, but what is least restrictive academically doesn't always work on social/behavioral levels and the reverse can be true as well.  It really would take a complete overhaul of the educational system to get the specialty schools system to work.  I could see fewer kids NEEDING the specialty schools however, with many learning paths being open to ALL students.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:10:53 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry if that sounds confusing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              leftyparent

              I'm suffering from some horrid brain fog today, and having twitching episodes as well. I accidentally ingested aspertame yesterday, which sets off all kinds of bad things for me.

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 07:12:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent, as usual. I know we get (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leftyparent, FloridaSNMOM, Mrs M

    discouraged sometimes when these posts don't attract a lot of comments - but this entire community on DKos serves as a repository of unbelievably helpful material and encouragement and direction for people who need something other than the "one school" solution for their children. I've referred many people to these diaries, and used them myself for courage and inspiration.

    So just keep on plugging away.  I know we are on the right track.  And you are all helping others find their way.

    Thank you.

    •  You made my day with your comment... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, Mrs M

      and I will keep on keeping on with your continued cheerleading and support.  And of course I expect you to do the same and continue fighting the good fight as well!

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles http://www.leftyparent.com

      by leftyparent on Sun Feb 24, 2013 at 06:34:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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