Special Education - A Cry in the Wilderness

by Gary Nichols
(Dayton, Ohio)

I doubt that this is a topic that would fall under the "priceless" category.


I am a special education teacher that spent 27 years as an adolescent therapist before returning to school and education.

I am weary of the "research shows it's the teacher's fault" cry from every learning institution that later refused to take my students. Rigor has been removed from education.

In special education there is a tidal wave of students whose only special need is to be made to do what they are supposed to be doing.

This robs the truly special needs students from getting the assistance they need and deserve. We placate and modify and coddle while our students become lazier, fatter and further behind every generation. We talk about our educational place in the world.

We need to look at some of the systems that are pulling ahead of us.

In Japan, if a student has not shown some intellectual bent by the completion of the 8th grade, there is little more effort put into their high education preparation.

In India education is seen as such a privilege that few even get the opportunity. Many come here to study in the schools that our kids take for granted.

In America all we ever think about is how to make it easier and isn’t it a shame that our teachers are so bad that little Johnie doesn’t want to do his work.

I recently utilized one of the on-line calculators that, using the formula for “readability”, will give you the grade level of a portion of text that you type into the form. I did, indeed, type a paragraph into the calculator and got a grade level of 11.32. That paragraph was from my mother’s 4th grade McGuffey Reader!

The pass the blame game in our system is child abuse.

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