A reader responds to yesterday’s post on learning disabilities:
I am a H.S. Science teacher in a cyber school and many of my students have IEPs and and have SLDs. There is legislation in the House right now that would cut our funding drastically to the point where we would not be able to offer the amount of services for these students. The bill could also shut down cyber/charter schools! It makes me sick to think that my AMAZING students with IEPs and SLDs would have to go back to a model that just simply didn’t work!
And that’s the way it goes in Pennsylvania (and a lot of other states) when it comes to children and public education. It’s tough enough for the gifted or even average student to deal with overcrowded classrooms, outdated textbooks, lack of modern technology in the classrooms (including lack of computers available to students), crappy food in the lunchrooms, less support for physical education, “pay-to-play” sports requirements, and on and on. For the 10-15% of students in this country who don’t learn as efficiently as the others — a result of ADHD, or dyslexia, or dysgraphia, or dyspraxia, or dyscalculia, or any other “dys-” that describes how they learn differently — cutting the academic learning support they need is unconscionable, especially when we know which specific strategies for students who learn differently work, and which strategies don’t!
There are some school districts that seem to be attuned to the needs of this significant minority of students in America. More of them are not attuned at all. These students are often left to their own devices, and they fail. This seriously costs all of us, but most of all, them.
Blaming the politicians won’t be very helpful, especially when it comes to education, where there are enough powerful people already in local, state, and federal governments who clearly didn’t learn very well in school themselves (especially science).
Many Americans — even the ones who wield no political power — need to overcome their indifference to the importance of a good education for ALL students. Only then will we finally put our priorities in proper order: CHILDREN FIRST.