Thursday, July 12, 2007

Special Education stories from an odd source

There are many places in the media where you can find a multitude of stories regarding Special Education. Some sources are just dying to find that story of a school teacher who loses it with a kid, or that story of a nutcase parent that wants horse-drawn-aqua-therapy, or some damn thing, as "stated in the kid's IEP".
However, the last place I'd expect to find articles on Special Education has started to release a flurry of stories about impact of Special Ed on Education system as a whole.
That source?
The Wall Street Journal.
In mid-June, the Journal released an article that describing the challenges that teachers were facing in classrooms in regards to mainstreaming. The point of the piece was that schools were placing students into General Ed classrooms, but not giving teachers the support they needed. It also brought up the question of what a teacher is supposed to do with an out of control student. In this case, the teacher left the district.
Earlier this week, the WSJ posted an article that talked again about an out of control student, but this time looked at schools using physical restraint and "time-out" rooms for discipline. The article was less than complementary to the schools, and rightfully so with the examples they used. Having had some experience with very difficult students, I can say that physical restraint is usually the very last resort, and I mean last resort, that should be used on a student. At the same time, you can't let a student literally destroy a classroom around your ears.
Anyone care to guess why the Wall Street Journal has a sudden interest in Special Education? Education related stories are usually Economics based or the common prattle about charter schools. Interesting change of pace.
Speaking about Special Education, I'm at a conference where many teachers are of the same opinion; Special Education is massively expensive, the government does not fund the laws it enacts, and way to many students are being diagnosed as Special Education. We all feel that Second Language Learners, poorly performing students, and students who are major troublemakers are often inappropriately labeled "Special Ed", and then present all kinds of difficulties because of the imfamous IEP.
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