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Old 09-16-2012, 11:38 AM   #31
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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As a parent of a "behavior kid" some of these posts make me really sad. But that's just the reality of the way parents with "average" kids look at kids with behavioral disabilities.
FWIW I don't even know that "behavioral disabilities" looks like, which is why I am trying to explore this topic in my post. So I can better understand. I am not trying to flee this school as much as understand if they are providing enough resources to deal with the population they have.

Do you think that if there were 7 of your son in a classroom, 5 random IEP needing kids and 13 non-IEP kids(only half of whom speak english at grade level) that one teacher and one para is an OK number of adults or do you think that is too low? It sounds low to me but I have no idea what I am talking about. To me even if there are NO IEPs and NO "behavior" kids 1 adult to 25 kids, half of whom are ELL seems like too few adults, but I am ignorant.

In retrospect it does seem weird that the teacher was so focused on telling us these things about the class, maybe she was trying to tell us not to send our son there? Because it was like the first thing out of her mouth and we would NEVER have even known as it is not publicized (as a PP pointed out) on their website or in the literature.

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Old 09-17-2012, 03:15 AM   #32
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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Given the success of EI in most states, I'm not surprised that these kids are labeled by Kinder. Isn't that the goal of better Pediatric screenings and EI to find these kids as young as possible so they may get the help they need at a younger age?
I'm not surprised they are labeled, and I'm glad they are receiving the services they need early on. I am REALLY surprised there are that many labeled for behavior in ONE grade. I wonder how many elementary schools there are (how large of a demographic area it is) and if they place all of the kids in the one school. Also, I know there are districts that do that...but to me, that doesn't seem much like Inclusion, YKWIM
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Old 09-17-2012, 03:33 AM   #33
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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I am saddened to hear how many of you describe your local schools, especially those for very young kids.

We will not be sending our children to public school for a variety of reasons but everytime I read thru a public school thread, I am mostly confused on the reasoning behind some policies or downright horrified in other cases.

OP, I agree with you and would trust your gut on this....research other options for your sons schooling.
I think our KN may be becoming less play-based than it should be, but other than that education is getting lots of things right. Children are actually being taught on their own level and in their own style instead of all being expected to learn in the same way. I think it's great if someone chooses to homeschool (if they are intelligent enough to do so...I've seen the other side of that...people who try to home school...they can't cut it and then send their kid to school a few years later SO BEHIND!...but I'm not saying that against homeschooling...just those situations)

All I want to say with this post is...I hope anyone who wants to HS b/c of how bad the public schools are would investigate the schools in their area closely instead of just basing their info off hearsay. Not necessarily speaking to you, Doodah, as you may have already done this. Just making that general statement!
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Old 09-17-2012, 05:17 AM   #34
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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FWIW I don't even know that "behavioral disabilities" looks like, which is why I am trying to explore this topic in my post. So I can better understand. I am not trying to flee this school as much as understand if they are providing enough resources to deal with the population they have.

Do you think that if there were 7 of your son in a classroom, 5 random IEP needing kids and 13 non-IEP kids(only half of whom speak english at grade level) that one teacher and one para is an OK number of adults or do you think that is too low? It sounds low to me but I have no idea what I am talking about. To me even if there are NO IEPs and NO "behavior" kids 1 adult to 25 kids, half of whom are ELL seems like too few adults, but I am ignorant.

In retrospect it does seem weird that the teacher was so focused on telling us these things about the class, maybe she was trying to tell us not to send our son there? Because it was like the first thing out of her mouth and we would NEVER have even known as it is not publicized (as a PP pointed out) on their website or in the literature.
You never know why the kids are on an IEP. IEP's even cover just minor speech articulation issues, do you think those kids are going to take a lot of extra time for the teacher? My son is a different story since his overall disability is considered severe. He has a 50% + or - delay in most areas except for cognitive. He has some sort of a learning disability, even though he is quite intelligent. His working memory doesn't work. He has Tourette's, possibly a thought disorder) but his working diagnosis is autism until he gets older and we ferret everything out. We've been told he's an n of one and needs his own case study. No one has seen what he has before. But the name doesn't matter, he has a neurological disability.

Maybe your state has school choice, and you can send your child to a district with students you want your child exposed to. From your posts, it sounds like you have a larger portion of lower income and ESL students, and if that isn't the population you want your child around, then look around and see what your rights are, or see if you can move to a district with demographics you like. Most people when they buy a house are picky about the quality of the school, we were. But since nearly everything can be covered by an IEP from ADHD to speech to even (correct me if I'm wrong, it might be a 504) asthma allergies and diabetes, you may end up having a lot of kids with "stuff" on their record anyway. They are not bad kids, just kids that have something the school needs to be aware of. Maybe your school puts all kids who are ESL on an IEP, and maybe your teacher doesn't like the ESL kids so she labels them all as bad kids, when they are not. Who knows?

25 kids and 2 teachers sounds about right for schools these days. They are horribly underfunded as it is, and thanks to the recession it is not getting better. Texas cut over a billion from the school budget, and our school found out one week before classes started that they were losing one teacher per grade, so instead of 3 classes per grade now there are 2. If schools were funded better, class sizes would be smaller. And that's even more apparent in neighborhoods that have houses that collect less in property taxes, as well.
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Old 09-17-2012, 06:13 AM   #35
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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You never know why the kids are on an IEP. IEP's even cover just minor speech articulation issues, do you think those kids are going to take a lot of extra time for the teacher?
I think that since I am so ignorant, I can't know how this plays out in real life without sitting in on a class, which I am going to call them and see if I can do. But yes, this is what I am concerned with, it just seems like so many kids to a teacher and then the added complication of teaching to different needs and trying to do that all successfully. Sure I can sit here and be afraid that this system will fail my son and he will fall through the cracks and languish while the teacher focuses on the needs of others, but just as likely it is the other populations that will be underserved while my kid thrives and is challenged. It just seems like so many needs to be met by so few resources.

We love the diversity of our town but we didn't choose it for the schools, it just happened to be the place that we could afford to live where houses were only $350k (and kids were not even in the plan). Now we are here and in the same position as before but now the price point is $500k for our low-income town, and so much more than that to get to a good testing district. I want to believe that this school will serve his needs but it seems like such an uphill battle for everyone. Our district is at least well funded and has a FT librarian, art teacher (with her own room), music teacher, drama teacher and PE. The district I was looking into for a move has eliminated art and music and elementary libraries are only open every other week.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:16 AM   #36
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This thread is not making me excited about kindergarten in the future.

sent from my iPhone. excuse all typos
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:21 AM   #37
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

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Originally Posted by joslin View Post
FWIW I don't even know that "behavioral disabilities" looks like, which is why I am trying to explore this topic in my post. So I can better understand. I am not trying to flee this school as much as understand if they are providing enough resources to deal with the population they have.

Do you think that if there were 7 of your son in a classroom, 5 random IEP needing kids and 13 non-IEP kids(only half of whom speak english at grade level) that one teacher and one para is an OK number of adults or do you think that is too low? It sounds low to me but I have no idea what I am talking about. To me even if there are NO IEPs and NO "behavior" kids 1 adult to 25 kids, half of whom are ELL seems like too few adults, but I am ignorant.

In retrospect it does seem weird that the teacher was so focused on telling us these things about the class, maybe she was trying to tell us not to send our son there? Because it was like the first thing out of her mouth and we would NEVER have even known as it is not publicized (as a PP pointed out) on their website or in the literature.
Children can have IEPs for a multitude of reasons my son has one because he is speech delayed. He is an otherwise completely normal and functioning child.
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Old 09-17-2012, 08:27 AM   #38
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Children can have IEPs for a multitude of reasons my son has one because he is speech delayed. He is an otherwise completely normal and functioning child.
I am not worried or prejudiced against IEPs I just wonder if it is too much for 1.5 teachers. Around greater Boston is it almost a point of pride to get your kid an IEP, lots and lots of (wealthy enfranchised white) parents push and push to get them even when they are not completely warranted b/c they believe that it will get their kid an advantage with the individualized attention. This is not really the case in my community however.
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Old 09-17-2012, 11:18 AM   #39
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I think op is right that is a lot of kids for that many teachers. You are right to be concerned but the teachers might do a great job and it might not be so bad. Like pps have said some ieps are very minor and dont require much if any extra help maybe they just get pulled out of the classroom once a week for therapies.

MB is right too though, we should be glad that our kids are being exposed to diversity. Hopefully in the future we will have more understanding and compassion and less people gawking and asking inapproriate questions or just being rude.

I really think the main concern should be the classroom and the ratio of students to teachers not who the students are. My dd is in a room with play stations and there is a table for small groups to work on handwriting etc. she has a regular ed teacher, a special ed teacher and a special ed para. You couldnt tell one from the other because they are such a great team. There are 17 kids in the class, 7 of which have an iep, my dd is one of them. Hippa isnt violated if a teacher says there is a kid who has xyz its violated if they say THAT kid has xyz. I cant see any glaring needs this year but last year there were several kids in diapers, 2 behavior kiddos, one in a wheelchair and one with DS. The teachers were great with everyone and none of the kids were singled put or treated any differently by teachers or kids. I don't know if it would have been that easy with 25 kids.

Also I think the teacher was wrong in saying those things to you. Its unprofessional and no way to put a parent at ease with a new teacher and classroom. I would be upset about that as well as the condition of the classroom but as others have said it might just be the way it is in yours and others districts.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:05 PM   #40
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Re: I need help understanding modern schooling

I think sitting in on the class might help you feel better.

Part of a teacher's job is balancing the needs of 20+ kids in a class, and that would be true even if every kid was absolutely normal. Although, what does normal mean these days anyway? I was put i my place by my MIL one day when we was visiting. She's been teaching for about 30 years, and teaches first grade. I was going out for an errand, and I was giving her the run down about how to take care of the kids and my ds's safety needs and stuff, and I told her if it got to be too much to call me and I'd come home. And she in a very condescending way (and rightly so) told me that she keeps 25 1st graders in line and on task every day, she can handle 3 kids for 2 hours. That's teaching.

All an IEP is is an Individualized Education Plan. That doesn't mean a severe disability, just a plan for an education tailored to that child. And honestly, I have a hard time believing that parents want IEP's, because navigating the school IEP system and having a special needs child is such a joy. Not that my son isn't a joy, but there are a lot of challenges as well. I wish he sailed through life easy, watching him struggle and get bullied by kids whose parents didn't teach them to be compassionate towards others with disabilities is heartbreaking. I can see that they would be pushing for a kid in the gifted program, that is absolutely something that happens here, but not an IEP.

Oh, and I'm sure you know, but education doesn't stop when they get on the bus to go home. My dd isn't "challenged" at school. I'm not sure college would challenge her. The main reason she is in school, in her peer age group (she was ahead, we put her back in her age group) is so she can be around a multitude of different kids, get exposed to a lot of environments, different adults teaching her in a variety of ways and expecting different things from her and so on. Not really for the education. She gets the basics at school, and we supplement at home. I think it is pretty difficult for a child with average or above intelligence and academic abilities to really fall through the cracks when they have involved parents at home.
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