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Special education (Part 2)

RogueScholar
Posts: 16
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2/16/2010 9:04:30 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
It is very easy to get caught up in all the problems that plague special education. And I really don't mean to diminish or disregard the sincerity or effort of special education teachers. They want to help kids. The problem is that they and special education has become the dumping ground, or the melting pot, for as many of the learning and behavior problem kids we can get out of regular education. I could go into more detail about the problems with special education, but that would miss the point. There are thousands of articles discussing this and plenty of experts with their opinions. If I focused on special education it would be like focusing on the symptom and not the cause. Let's look at the bigger picture, and think outside the box. Besides major legislation in the 1970's regarding special education, that was prompted by schools ineffectiveness in educating problem children, around this time is when we also started to see a rise in divorces and the resulting deterioration of the family, which has continued. Manual labor jobs and factory work, which once provided enough money that a family could live comfortably on one income (with a parent home to raise the children), have gone overseas. Two income families became more common, which naturally means less time for the family and childrearing. This was accompanied by a growth in technology and jobs requiring higher education, which strained employment even more, and forced more parents to pursue higher education and consequently spend less time with their children (both while in school and after school, when pursuing their careers). Technology in the home and our changing lifestyles, attitudes, and priorities further eroded the family. Kids were coming to school with more and more problems, lacking the basic the skills to function in the school setting. Behavioristic practices crept into the schools and deceived educators into thinking that rewards and positives would be a better way to handle discipline and behavior.

Another major problem with grade levels is retention. Because of grade levels it's not OK for a child to be very much below grade level. Again, we are ignoring the bell curve and basically saying it's not OK to learn at a slower rate. Kids who are retained rarely catch up. Because as part of my job I have worked at both elementary and middle schools I have had the opportunity to review the files of and test many kids who have been retained. They don't catch up. And like special education, once they're retained, their chances of dropping out down the road just increased. In talking with these kids a few years or so after they've been retained, they wish that it didn't happen. Their self-esteem relative to school is usually low, because no matter what people say, they see it as they failed. Why else would you be held back?

The most dramatic examples that grade levels are a problem, which most people are unaware of, is the children who are both retained and placed in special education. I have seen plenty of children in special education who were retained. Often times retention is the first major remediation these children receive. Then comes special education. Well guess what? These kids don't catch up either!

Basically, the "business" of education has been set up for failure. The way it is set-up kids will always fail. I like sports analogies because people seem to understand or accept them more readily. Let's say you had to coach a basketball team of 10 year-olds. Remember the bell curve and think of their abilities. You are going to have boys and girls with wide ranges in height, weight, speed, endurance, agility, and flexibility. Then there are factors like interest, desire, nutrition, sleep (rest), home life, emotional problems, behavior problems, and physical handicaps. But, you will be expected to have all of these children at about the same level in all the skills required for basketball. So the very overweight child will have to run about as fast as the leaner, more developed child. The shortest child on the team is going to have to jump about as high as the tallest child. You can fill in all the other many possible comparisons that would occur. Think you could coach this team and make them "successful" (i.e. competitive) it?

Another reason that we can't accept children will always be behind is because intelligence, ability, and learning are nontangible, and open to a great deal of subjectivity. People don't like to hear that their child is intellectually slow, has a low IQ, and will always be behind in school. It's OK to tell them that their child will never be a fast runner, or even a good athlete, but it's much harder to accept that they have a lower IQ and will never be at grade level. And I'm not just talking about special education students. There are kids we call slow learners who don't qualify for special education. Parents seem to also have this illusion that if their child just tries harder, gets more help, or gets the right help, that he will catch up. This is the main reason private tutors and private learning centers are in business. I have seen my share of parents spend lots of money with very minimal results.
alto2osu
Posts: 277
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2/16/2010 9:47:46 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
There are no words. Well, there are, but none that, after reading the 2-part behemoth, I think would make any difference in these posts or the viewpoint they espouse. So, thank God for the Americans With Disabilities Act...
commonprotocol
Posts: 2
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2/17/2010 10:28:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
So if I am to understand your point correctly then you're advocating that special ed sucks because these kids will never be able to be competitive with non special needs children? Is it just me or are you completely missing the point? The purpose of education is not to make every kid number one but to at least give them a chance, and more importantly they are owed an education. Even if they don't succeed fully with it doesn't mean that education was wasted. It probably will for all intents and purposes help them throughout their lives. This is where I take offense to your sports metaphor, it assumes that throughout our lives we re in continual competition, and that if we can't win then we shouldn't bother showing up at all. As laughable as this contention is I would also forward that your logic carries with it some other less than laughable conclusions. Namely, why should only special needs children be the only ones separated out in this? If the education system is a joke because it doesn't enable them to compete with their peers, then shouldn't we also deem the system a failure for the less intelligent?
RogueScholar
Posts: 16
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2/18/2010 10:50:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/17/2010 10:28:14 PM, commonprotocol wrote:
So if I am to understand your point correctly then you're advocating that special ed sucks because these kids will never be able to be competitive with non special needs children? Is it just me or are you completely missing the point? The purpose of education is not to make every kid number one but to at least give them a chance, and more importantly they are owed an education. Even if they don't succeed fully with it doesn't mean that education was wasted. It probably will for all intents and purposes help them throughout their lives. This is where I take offense to your sports metaphor, it assumes that throughout our lives we re in continual competition, and that if we can't win then we shouldn't bother showing up at all. As laughable as this contention is I would also forward that your logic carries with it some other less than laughable conclusions. Namely, why should only special needs children be the only ones separated out in this? If the education system is a joke because it doesn't enable them to compete with their peers, then shouldn't we also deem the system a failure for the less intelligent?

Newsflash! Our society and educational system is based completely on competition. When someone is hired for a job, guess what, somebody loses. I know this may hurt you feelings and self-esteem, but this is the real world that people like you don't want to prepare our young adults for. It's ashame, because people like you are really harming people and setting them up for failure and a life of misery. As I'm sure you know, but apparently are in a fog about for some reason, people are better than other people at things (here's the secret part, that's why there is competition!). I'm sure you're aware of professional sports, movie stars, engineers, etc. Well guess what, these people got where they are because they are better than others at those things. I hope this does not damage your self-esteem. Who gets job promotions in the real world! Who makes more money in the real world! My point about special education is that just because you are doing something (teachers, schools) and your intentions are "good," does not make it right. Many people have good intentions, that make them feel good, but it does meet it is right or works.
commonprotocol
Posts: 2
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2/19/2010 3:04:12 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
actually what you said not only ignores most of my responses but it also over zealously attacks my "self esteem" and in doing so exposes your own non-uniqueness on your own harms concerning special education.
Ok first of all assuming for a second that all your stuff regarding competition is in fact true, when you say "this is the real world that people like you don't want to prepare our young adults for" you ignore that you in fact also don't prepare them, in fact you willfully choose not to prepare certain segments of our society because of their special needs. If you're advocating non education than how can my viewpoint prepare a child less than you?
Additionally you ignore my question as to why we shouldn't also remove stupid children from the classroom as well, as that follows from your logic.
Also to further operate within the argument of competition you ignore that just because someone can't win doesn't mean they shouldn't compete. While yes not everyone will win (this is in fact the nature of competition) that doesn't mean we shouldn't prepare people, while some may still be disadvantaged they still have to compete in order for your worldview to exist. (If we were to all throw up our hands because we were unable to win a competition, then it would cease to be a competition wouldn't it?)
Outside of competition you ignore that education is a right. Just like we would not bar someone from free use of their speech should we believe they wont use it effectively, for this same reason we cannot deny education.
trustalgoreandriveahybrid
Posts: 44
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2/19/2010 7:04:04 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/16/2010 9:04:30 PM, RogueScholar wrote:
It is very easy to get caught up in all the problems that plague special education. And I really don't mean to diminish or disregard the sincerity or effort of special education teachers.

Statement with no meaning

They want to help kids.

Generally.

The problem is that they and special education has become the dumping ground, or the melting pot, for as many of the learning and behavior problem kids we can get out of regular education.

Special education is based off of IQ, I fail to see your point so far.

I could go into more detail about the problems with special education, but that would miss the point.

No that would be making a point, so far you've made baseless claims with no facts.

There are thousands of articles discussing this and plenty of experts with their opinions.

Appeal to authority
Ad Populum
Appeal to Ignorance

If I focused on special education it would be like focusing on the symptom and not the cause. Let's look at the bigger picture, and think outside the box.

Meaningless statement

Besides major legislation in the 1970's regarding special education, that was prompted by schools ineffectiveness in educating problem children, around this time is when we also started to see a rise in divorces and the resulting deterioration of the family, which has continued.

"Before the EHA statute was enacted in 1975, U.S. public schools educated only 1 out of 5 children with disabilities [4]. Until that time, many states had laws that explicitly excluded children with certain types of disabilities from attending public school, including children who were blind, deaf, and children labeled "emotionally disturbed" or "mentally retarded." [5] At the time the EHA was enacted, more than 1 million children in the U.S. had no access to the public school system.[5] Many of these children lived at state institutions where they received limited or no educational or rehabilitation services.[6] Another 3.5 million children attended school but were warehoused in segregated facilities and received little or no effective instruction.[5]

As of 2006, more than 6 million children in the U.S. receive special education services through IDEA.[7]"

Also I see no correlation between divorce and special education.

Manual labor jobs and factory work, which once provided enough money that a family could live comfortably on one income (with a parent home to raise the children), have gone overseas. Two income families became more common, which naturally means less time for the family and childrearing. This was accompanied by a growth in technology and jobs requiring higher education, which strained employment even more, and forced more parents to pursue higher education and consequently spend less time with their children (both while in school and after school, when pursuing their careers). Technology in the home and our changing lifestyles, attitudes, and priorities further eroded the family.

Incorrect.

"At first, the authors say, "it seems reasonable to expect that parental investment in child-rearing would have declined since 1965, when 60 percent of all children lived in families with a breadwinner father and a stay-at-home mother. Only about 30 percent of children now live in such families. With more mothers in paid jobs, many policy makers have assumed that parents must have less time to interact with their children.

But, the researchers say, the conventional wisdom is not borne out by the data they collected from families asked to account for their time. The researchers found, to their surprise, that married and single parents spent more time teaching, playing with and caring for their children than parents did 40 years ago."

SOURCE: http://www.nytimes.com...

Kids were coming to school with more and more problems, lacking the basic the skills to function in the school setting. Behavioristic practices crept into the schools and deceived educators into thinking that rewards and positives would be a better way to handle discipline and behavior.

Incorrect, we as a society have been better to diagnose incredible amounts of behavioral problems and prescribe medication for it whereas before these "behavioral problems" were locked up in mental hospitals.
trustalgoreandriveahybrid
Posts: 44
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2/19/2010 7:32:21 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Another major problem with grade levels is retention. Because of grade levels it's not OK for a child to be very much below grade level. Again, we are ignoring the bell curve and basically saying it's not OK to learn at a slower rate. Kids who are retained rarely catch up.

Incorrect, there are many different "sections" within a grade for most schools to separate learning ability. Kids who "are retained" are retained because they don't study, don't put even the least amount of effort into school, and routinely skip. People who are retained rarely catch up because they do not want to catch up.

Because as part of my job
You fail at grammar

I have worked at both elementary and middle schools I have had the opportunity to review the files of and test many kids who have been retained. They don't catch up.

Biased opinion.

And like special education, once they're retained, their chances of dropping out down the road just increased.

Don't see how this has anything to do with Special Education as I don't think any of them "are retained"

In talking with these kids a few years or so after they've been retained, they wish that it didn't happen.

The person who gets fired from his job for sleeping on the job and not showing up wishes it didn't happen to him either.

Their self-esteem relative to school is usually low

Generally self esteem is low when someone fails.

because no matter what people say, they see it as they failed.
They rightfully should see it as that, as they did indeed fail.

Why else would you be held back?

Not showing up to class, not doing your homework (which is easy) Not studying for all of your tests. Not asking questions in class. Acheiving failing marks on the test. Not paying attention in class, etc.

The most dramatic examples that grade levels are a problem, which most people are unaware of, is the children who are both retained and placed in special education.
Than clearly they were put there because of their low IQ thus qualifying them for that program. You seem to be upset because people aren't allowed to learn more slowly, however what do you think special education is? You seem to treat it as a bogey man, however it is a place where people can learn more slowly.

I have seen plenty of children in special education who were retained.
Biased opinion.

Often times retention is the first major remediation these children receive.
Retention is done at the end of the year. They receive incomplete marks for their homework and E's/F's for their test scores. How is retention the first remediation they receive? Should we wait and allow them to fail every test and not do any homework and slack off while in class then say: "Hey johnny now I know you don't know basic math, but you should study more, now on to algebra with you mister don't worry we won't make you repeat basic math, its not like you need it for algebra"

Seriously if a kid doesn't learn something you know what has to happen? They have to repeat it.

Then comes special education. Well guess what? These kids don't catch up either!

Well holy sh*t no wonder, if they repeated a subject twice and still can't manage to study for tests pay attention in class or do their homework what do you expect? To infinitely keep repeating the subject until one day they magically get an A?

Sorry if someone can't get a passing grade the second time around perhaps they need to learn the subject more slowly, that is after all what you advocate.

Basically, the "business" of education has been set up for failure.
Incorrect, you're putting all of the blame on the system and none on the kids. Wake up.

The way it is set-up kids will always fail.

Really? Because most kids I see are succeeding?

Let's say you had to coach a basketball team of 10 year-olds. Remember the bell curve and think of their abilities. You are going to have boys and girls with wide ranges in height, weight, speed, endurance, agility, and flexibility. Then there are factors like interest, desire, nutrition, sleep (rest), home life, emotional problems, behavior problems, and physical handicaps. But, you will be expected to have all of these children at about the same level in all the skills required for basketball. So the very overweight child will have to run about as fast as the leaner, more developed child. The shortest child on the team is going to have to jump about as high as the tallest child. You can fill in all the other many possible comparisons that would occur. Think you could coach this team and make them "successful" (i.e. competitive) it?

Well first I would separate the players into categories of how much each knows (grades). Then I would teach them. If someone didn't show up to practice and when he was at practice just lazed around the whole time, I would make him sit the bench and keep him in the same category (grade) because clearly he isn't trying for whatever reason. Also I would make the fatty run more than the other kids(give more attention to), encourage him to diet and exercise(study). I would not make the whole team run together when running as that would clearly impede the ability of the faster kids (special education)

Another reason that we can't accept children will always be behind is because intelligence, ability, and learning are nontangible, and open to a great deal of subjectivity.

Really? So 2+2 =/= 4. Face it, success in school is rarely if ever subjective. The only point you may have is in art or English. However, there's good grammar and bad grammar.

People don't like to hear that their child is intellectually slow, has a low IQ, and will always be behind in school. It's OK to tell them that their child will never be a fast runner, or even a good athlete, but it's much harder to accept that they have a lower IQ and will never be at grade level. And I'm not just talking about special education students. There are kids we call slow learners who don't qualify for special education.

Meaningless statement.

Parents seem to also have this illusion that if their child just tries harder, gets more help, or gets the right help, that he will catch up.
Not catch up to the other students, but will working harder and having better teachers help him improve? Certainly.

This is the main reason private tutors and private learning centers are in business. I have seen my share of parents spend lots of money with very minimal results.

IQ has a saturation level, which is clear, however I don't understand how this supports any of your points.
alto2osu
Posts: 277
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2/19/2010 8:38:32 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Not that those who have come before me haven't done a stellar job proving how nonsensical this OP is, I'd like to throw in my two cents about how education in the US must operate.

We live in a meritocracy. In order for that system to function properly, certain things must be guaranteed to all citizens, regardless of their respective situations, mental conditions, or physical conditions. Meritocracies function under the principle that "hard work" and perseverance directly correlates to success and fulfillment. However, this doesn't work if people start life in a naturally discriminatory system. Otherwise, the system is unjust as it punishes the inherently disadvantaged right alongside the lazy. A fair shake is NECESSARY to our entire way of life.

Look no further than anti-discrimination laws (which do NOT all exist from the 1970's, despite the fact that my opponent seems to be stuck in the bitterness of that era) and Supreme Court precedent for confirmation that this principle exists not only within the popular will of the American people, but within our founding documents. To refuse to education those with physical and mental handicaps is both unlawful and unjust, as it constitutes blatant discrimination.

Furthermore, as commonprotocol states before me, a competitive system does not and should not stop everyone who won't be in first place from winning. Some will win more than others. Bill Gates wins more than me, and I win more than the guy who pumps my gas (merely by virtue of the difference in our salaries-- I won't make any personal judgments about his intelligence here).

What the OP suggests, however, is that we literally PRE-DESTINE a sect of our population to fail, and based on what? Again, as commonprotocol highlights, not only would we have to exclude all those who have disabilities from education (violating their rights as equal citizens of the US in the process), but we'd have to find some metric to determine who will inevitably fill all of our unskilled labor needs, as they are *clearly* unworthy of an education, and don't need one to boot. After all, do you need a high school diploma to serve me french fries?

See the problem yet?
alto2osu
Posts: 277
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2/19/2010 8:42:49 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/19/2010 8:38:32 AM, alto2osu wrote:
To refuse to *educate* those with physical and mental handicaps is both unlawful and unjust, as it constitutes blatant discrimination.

Sigh...need more coffee before I type. :D
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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2/19/2010 9:00:53 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I am in favor of providing funds for education to those without money, including special kids.

Now clearly they'll be educated a bit differently, or at a different level, and perhaps never get as far as the norms. given their natures.

I am in favor of educating people toward their strengths though. I think it would make much more sense if in High Schools there were more things like licensing programs for electrical work, or contracting, or plumbing and other such things. And also if they allowed their students to pick majors and the like.
And if colleges didn't make you take a wide range of core courses.

Soo many kids in HS simply stop going b/c they're not going to college. It's freekin retarded.

If those kids were given more practical goals, and learning actual skills, I think a lot more would stay.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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2/19/2010 9:04:25 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/19/2010 9:00:53 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:

I think the best way to carry out all of these reforms would be the abolition of public schools :)

Then such niche schools would develop to compete for all of these students who either pay their own way, or get a government sponsorship.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Reasoning
Posts: 4,456
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2/19/2010 9:07:19 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/19/2010 9:04:25 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
I think the best way to carry out all of these reforms would be the abolition of public schools :)

Yes.
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
alto2osu
Posts: 277
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2/19/2010 12:30:46 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/19/2010 9:00:53 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
I am in favor of providing funds for education to those without money, including special kids.

Now clearly they'll be educated a bit differently, or at a different level, and perhaps never get as far as the norms. given their natures.

I am in favor of educating people toward their strengths though. I think it would make much more sense if in High Schools there were more things like licensing programs for electrical work, or contracting, or plumbing and other such things. And also if they allowed their students to pick majors and the like.
And if colleges didn't make you take a wide range of core courses.

Soo many kids in HS simply stop going b/c they're not going to college. It's freekin retarded.

If those kids were given more practical goals, and learning actual skills, I think a lot more would stay.

Actually, there are plenty of public high schools that offer courses that are specific to vocational training. This is offered to all students, and at appropriate paces depending on individual needs. Furthermore, there are entire high schools that are switching to vocational models. These models operate similar to colleges-- you have a set of "core" courses that are less bulky than the traditional HS graduation requirements, and you take them within the context of a given subcategory of vocational training.

And all this has happened and will continue to develop in a public system ;)
collegekitchen
Posts: 21
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2/22/2010 1:48:29 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Rogue Scholar = washed up guidance counselor who blames everything on "the system"

AKA he's naive and by the unintelligent things he's said so far, unfit for his job.