Expert swims against trend of special ed students in mainstream classes Although more schools are enrolling children who have disabilities in regular classrooms, an expert in special education made the radical suggestion yesterday that they be 'separated from the general school population and given intensive, relentless instruction.'It is a sad, sad day when it becomes radical to provide students with intensive, relentless instruction.
This is why I'm a swim coach and not cut out to be a classroom teacher in today's setting. I'm too radical. I expect intensive and relentless instruction. And, it should be for the special education kids and the average kids and the gifted kids and -- all kids. Sure, the lessons are not always the same. But, the expectation of being pushed, pulled and challenged with instruction should be universal.
Mark Roosevelt, the Pgh Public Schools Superintendent, says that he wants to put discipline into the schools -- next year. We'll be radical and begin to talk about discipline in eight months. Eight months.
These statements present additional justifications for great and inspiring after school programming for the kids. It needs to happen after school because the schools have given up the struggle for excellence within the school day. So, a longer school day that is filled with soft structure and casual instruction on hit-or-miss basis is much more like child care than schooling.
Pittsburgh's Rec Centers are running on empty. Even when they operated with decent staffing levels, the coaching and relentless building of community and character based upon technical instruction in sport that transfers to life was not a universal priority.
Sharyn Denhan of Harrisburg is an executive board member of LDA and parent of a son with a learning disability. Her son was taught in regular public school classrooms, but benefited from support services. Now 29, he has a degree in civil engineering from Drexel University.Everyone benefits from support services.
This is a moment and lifetime of PRIDE. That sounds like a good title for a movie, but that is for another thread. Kids present a meaningful opportunity to build pride.
"My son is basically a success story and I'm very proud of his accomplishment," Ms. Denhan said.
"The problem with learning disabilities is it's this huge broad spectrum. It's not one size fits all. It's a very hard issue to deal with and very unique to the child."
If we want to put pride in our community again, I think that the best way to do that is with our kids. Our children are the keys.
Schools are a part of that formula, but only a part. Parks and programming matter too. As does parenting. Mentoring, instructing, teaching, and even modeling all matter greatly.
I hate it when the leaders (Roosevelt and Luke Ravenstahl) sit on stage and tell our kids and families that they should come to Pittsburgh Public Schools and get a college scholarship when they graduate from 12th grade if they keep their nose clean -- but only have $10,000 in the bank.
That's modeling that doesn't work.
Show us relentless on that promise.
Ten-thousand dollars might get everyone a back pack, calling card and a ticket home if they flunk out in their first semester. That's about it.
One size does fit all. In our public life it is liberty and freedom. That fits. In educational settings, the size that fits all might well be relentless, intensive instruction.
It will be a happy day when those concepts are not so radical.