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    "Annoying in-service"
    By Regina

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    Yes, they are all that annoying and useless. They can only give general information, not the specifics we crave for our individual students; precisely because they are individuals, regardless of their lables. I have this from both sides of the problem. I'm a special needs teacher and have a daughter who is ADD, the inattentive part of that disorder. She is also dyslexic and yet scores in the 98th percentile on IQ tests. She is a paradox in herself and puts all her teachers in quite a quandry. She's stayed in from recesses for the last five years to "catch up". She's missed holiday and enrichment activities. She's missed music, art and P.E. in varying degrees at different times. I've kept track of her "good things" that happen during her days since she was very little in Kindergarten. She's had weeks where the only nice thing that happened was that the teacher held her hand on the way to some where. I didn't have the heart to tell her that it was probably only to hurry her along because she's slow and easily distracted. It breaks my heart. She spent last year getting in trouble for talking, to which I replied, "She can't talk at lunch, doesn't see her peers during recess or enrichment activities; are you really surprised that she's talking to them in class?"

    My round about point is that these children will never meet the quantity requirement in classes. Perhaps we should focus more on the quality of their work and their happiness. Have they learned what they are supposed to learn, not have they reproduced a vast quantity of repetitive school papers. Do we really want to know what they have learned through testing where they are given adequate time and means to show this, or are we more concerned that they finish in time like a race toward a future spot in a factory where fastest is best? When did education become a race? I thought we were supposed to actually be teaching something.

    There are many careers where fanatical time management is not a concern, but most of these children will never discover their strenghts and persue those avenues because people are too focussed on their weaknesses. Special needs children aren't the only ones effected by the current trends in education. There are many borderline children who are squeaking by and garnering low self esteem for their efforts. So many little square pegs that don't fit that round average hole in one way or another. How can we wonder why they are angry, uneducated and violent when they are told every day they do not fit in, will never fit in; in a glance, another paper covered in red marks, being segregated from their peers yet again. In my opinion, this is a crime. It's child abuse.

    Special needs education and education in general needs a thorough rug shaking. Do we want children to receive and education or just get out the door in 13 years? Choices have been made, but I feel they are the wrong ones. Change will not come from above, it needs to come from us. I urge everyone in education to think about what they really want to accomplish.

    Just my opinion.

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