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Sun Oct 7, 2012, 08:47 PM

Many traditional public schools send special ed kids to continuation schools every day.

This is a reply of mine posted to another thread.

Please note that I wrote "many". I am willing to amend it to read "some".

But what I observe on this board and in other fora, is that people tend to broadbrush charters and, alternatively, traditional public schools, and I maintain that it isn't fair and doesn't lead to productive dialogue.

To continue: Ttraditional public schools send special ed kids to continuation schools every day.

Continuation schools, alternative ed schools, what have you.

This idea that they don't is utter bullshit in many cases.

I spent four of my teaching years in a juvenile hall with long term incarcerants, most of whom has histories of expulsion from public schools and most of whom suffer from one form or another of what would be an eligible learning or emotional or cognitive disorder or condition.

Frakkin' big high schools, and middle and elementary, can't get them out of their classrooms fast enough.

This dumping on charters is really misplaced energy.

There are plenty of sins to go around all types of educational programs.

I think the broadbrushing, from either side of the question, hurts our students.

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Reply Many traditional public schools send special ed kids to continuation schools every day. (Original post)
NYC_SKP Oct 2012 OP
Curmudgeoness Oct 2012 #1
pennylane100 Oct 2012 #2
Curmudgeoness Oct 2012 #3
pennylane100 Oct 2012 #6
Curmudgeoness Oct 2012 #7
mbperrin Oct 2012 #4
NYC_SKP Oct 2012 #5
sulphurdunn Oct 2012 #8

Response to NYC_SKP (Original post)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 09:33 PM

1. I do know that this happens.

I was responsible for one student going to an alternative ed school after he set fire to the lab table in science class with alcohol, then started to jump on all the tables and counters. This, however, was not the first incident he was involved in, just the most dangerous. I know that this kid needed to be in a classroom where he could have more personal attention, and the regular classrooms don't work for all students. This is a lie that we are trying to tell ourselves, that segregating some special needs students is a bad thing.

But I will defend the public schools here too. They have been required to integrate all students, no matter the ability or learning disabilities, into regular classrooms, and this just doesn't work for the teacher, that student, or all the other students in the class. I know that this is a sensitive issue, and I was a victim of that segregation in school (way back in the old times when we walked to school, uphill, both ways, with holes in our shoes) because of lack of confidence and lack of ambition. I used to think this was a good strategy to stop the tracking, and in many cases, that is true. But I, for one, was grateful for myself and this child that there was a place for him to learn.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 10:42 PM

2. I know this is a very serious subject, but

on a lighter note, a lot of normal kids do stupid stuff in school as well.

When I was in high school, the teacher (Sister John) left the classroom for a short time and several of us started playing tag around the table that had a Bunsen burner left on. Needless to say, we knocked it over and a fire started. We rushed to the sink at the back of the room to get water, and a couple of girls just scooped out of the fish tank. With smoke and dripping water and sadly a couple of live fish all over the place we all rushed for our chairs and sat there studiously reading as the teacher returned.

However, I do believe that mainstreaming special needs children shortchanges both them, because they need a lot more one on one than can be provided in a class with thirty other children and the extra time it takes to help these children does not leave enough time for a teacher to help all the kids in the class. As sad as it is, there are times when mainstreaming is impractical. However, if it were my child and she/he were being pushed into a continuation school that was not appropriate, I would certainly see the school district in court. I know many parents have successfully challenged the school district when inadequate solutions are being foisted on them.

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Response to pennylane100 (Reply #2)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 06:40 PM

3. LOL, yes, that was a lighter note.

And yes, it does happen to the best of students. But at least you didn't jump around on tables and counters hooting like a monkey while the fire burned. This kid really was a troubled child.

You have put your finger on the problem with not being able to segregate special needs students without knowing it. You say that you would sue the district if they pushed your child into inappropriate classes. And sometimes, the parents are not being realistic about their expectations. Many parents are of the opinion that their child will do better in mainstreamed classrooms, and I do think that classes like art or phys ed or some of the other classes that are not academic (you know, the classes that all the schools are cutting) are probably good places for these children to be integrated in with other students.

But when I taught, I will say that these poor children with a lot of special needs were lost in regular classrooms....and if they are lost enough, they will often become discipline problems. What do they have to lose? They have no idea what you are talking about. In my science classes, some didn't understand ten words in the whole period. And I could not teach to them, or every other student would be bored stiff. Sadly, the way we are teaching at this point in time is to the middle....average. The slower students get lost, the advanced students get bored.

I was classified in a tracking system as just above special education classes. I was pushed into "office technology" classes instead of the college prep classes. I had a long way to go when I did go to college for biology and general science education....I had never even had an algebra or literature class. Or a biology class. But I graduated college cum laude. So I know how much tracking sucks. But we have not come up with a better system yet.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 02:03 AM

6. I know this post was a few days ago,

but just got around to reading it and your reply brought to mind the comments of the Nobel Prize winner for science, John Gurdon who kept his teachers note telling him that science was not a subject he would do well in. Your story sounds a lot like his. So congratulations on not letting other people 's views define you and your future, it takes a very strong person to do that.

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Response to pennylane100 (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 12:14 PM

7. It really wasn't strong, it was headstrong.

When I had a school counselor tell me that I was not fit for college, he pissed me off enough to wake up.

Nothing works to motivate some of us like being told we can't do something!

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Response to pennylane100 (Reply #2)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 07:42 PM

4. I teach a high school government inclusion class.

9 deaf students, one, in a wheelchair, 12 special ed kids, 12 regular kids, me with a master's degree, my special ed co-teacher with a master's degree, and our sign language specialist with 30 years experience in the classroom.

It looks as busy as a cranberry market at fly time, but this period has the highest average of all 6 of my classes, including districtwide benchmark tests.

Inclusion can and does work, but like everything else, it takes resources.

We have computers, an Infocus projector, large screen TV, DVD player, lots of bulletin boards, and my personal favorite - POUNDS of glitter!

Heterogeneous classes are better for everyone - regular kids included. The mix is what makes it work, gives it energy and teaches life lessons as well.

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Response to mbperrin (Reply #4)

Mon Oct 8, 2012, 10:14 PM

5. That's encouraging.

Sounds like you do a great job!

Resources, indeed, including an aide or two where it can be afforded and where they're qualified and able.

Thanks!

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Response to NYC_SKP (Original post)

Fri Oct 12, 2012, 03:42 PM

8. Special needs kids.

From my experience, the charters either screen them out or send them back to the public schools the minute they are recognized as high risk, low return students unless they are chartered to serve that population. Where they are so chartered or where they attempt to increase special needs enrollment they often lack the expertise to do so effectively. Also, most public school students who are in an alternative educational placement need to be there and only end up there after it becomes unavoidably clear that they cannot function within a general school population and are chronic impediments to the learning and sometimes the safety of others. It is also the policy of such schools to attempt reintegration of these kids. Students who are in detention facilities cannot be legally brought to a public school, but the public schools send teachers to them.

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