In End of an Era from Misadventures with Rangers, Marianne, aka Ranger Anna talks about her son in special education who, even though he is still allowed to attend school according to law, is being pushed out by the school system. Please take the time to read her post in order to get the whole story.
I feel so sad to hear stories like this. This is what the law was made to avoid. When this law was made, too many special needs students were being dumped out into the real world before they should be. Too many schools do not encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity. Students with true special needs should be encouraged to stay in school for every possible minute they can. There is so much to learn and where an average student might be able to gather all they need for the future in 18 years, these students need every bit of extra time they can get.
Too many times I hear that schools and teachers are being babysitters. I feel if they were truly teaching the right way, they would not be in the babysitting business. Students should be taught according to their individual needs not according to the school curriculum.
According to this parent, the school felt they didn’t have anything to interest the student. Then it is the school’s job to teach something that does interest the student. I find it hard to believe that if thorough investigation was done, that the school and the student couldn’t find something worth learning. In fact, to me, it sounds like the professionals are taking the lazy way out.
If the student has an interest, then the teacher/school needs to find out ways to teach more about this topic. If the student has finished the curriculum offered by the school, then this is the perfect way to teach the student how to learn. The student will gain the skills that could help him learn new things when he no longer can depend on the teacher/school to teach him. What a valuable opportunity for this student! How can anyone not say this is in the best interest of the student?
As a teacher, I was expected to meet standards set by state. I learned early that many of these standards were general enough that I could meet them with most topics that the student was interested in. Reading and math standards fit right into whatever topic the student wanted to learn. Sometimes Social Studies and Science standards were harder but if I was able to give the students a list of 5 possible topics, they were able to find at least one that they were interested in. Sometimes I even told them the standards and asked them to find a topic that would fit with the standards and they would actually come up with one that I hadn’t thought of.
Of course, this was a lot more work for me as the teacher because each lesson was also a learning lesson for me. I found it interesting and exciting to learn along with the students!
If the students were learning about a topic that interested them, they worked harder and there were very few behavior problems. What a joy it was to teach this way! When the students would learn a new skill, it was great to see their faces and see how much fun they were having with learning.
How do you feel about this? Do you think students with special needs should be pushed out of the school system at age 18? If so, why or why not? Please share!
Image: 'Dirt Delivery'