LIFE’S SUPPOSED TO BE EASY PEASY, BUT IT ISN’T

You suffered through 5 hours of labor without any medication. 10 fingers and 10 toes, and no discernible problems. Home safe as Dad might say.

But then as your child develops some learning disabilities become apparent. Your child is lucky and has a stable environment. Two loving educated parents and enough family enough family income so you can deal with most of the problems that arise.

You take your 5 year old to enroll in a public school kindergarten, expecting that he/she will be evaluated and an IEP (individual education plan) will be

NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott with Special Ed Students in Queens

formulated, and, as the IEP indicates his needs, he will be assigned to a class with one teacher, one aide and 11 other students.

Here come the “But it isn’t.” Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in another attempt to leave a legacy as an “Education Mayor,” the first to have control of the New York City schools, has reorganized the school system again.

A New York City Special Ed Classroom

So, in an attempt to improve the “score” of the city’s educational environment, each child must now be placed the “least restrictive” environment – read, put in a general education class, perhaps with an additional teacher. When I supervised such a class, the 2 teachers were not given a common preparation period. They prepped each other rather than consulting each other – read, who cares about the kids, and we just saved 20 coverages per week.

Not totally isolating special education students in an important goal. I don’t believe in tracking (assigning classes according to ability) the general population either. That works well with sufficient resources and much planning by creative, knowledgeable educators from the aide to the chancellor level. But it doesn’t happen.

This is the greatest city in the world. It should have the greatest public education system in the world. Are you listening, Mr. Bloomberg.

Please click on Edu Doodle at our website (www.doodlenoodlestuff.com) for a list of Department of Education regulations and guidelines for New York City students and other resources. If you are not a resident of New York City, I suggest you go to your local Board of Education website for that information.

Thanks to Jaye Bea Smalley, Co-Chair of the Citywide Council on Special Education for her articulate and knowledgeable presentation last night at a meeting of The Community Free Democrats on New York’s Upper West Side.

And if you haven’t voted for us at Top Mommy Blogs today (and every day), please go to the link in the right hand column of our Blog and vote.

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