Spring break must be over. Education issues are in the news everywhere today. Three of them have my attention.
First, Knox County gets a new Superintendent today. Sadly, no matter which of the three candidates is chosen, someone will cry foul. I have a personal preference, but I’m not going to stomp my feet and scream conspiracy if someone else is chosen. If the “watchers” would put just a fraction of the effort they put forth looking for wrong-doings into noticing the good stuff, they would be much happier people.
Second, TN may try to have lower standards for special education students under NCLB. Yay and Boo. Parents who are just now entering the special education system with their children are frequently surprised and underwhelmed. No, the system isn’t where it should be. What new parents don’t realize is how very, very far schools have come in the education of students with special needs. From Tommy’s kindergarten class to his senior year has been like going from a log cabin without electricity to the Beverly Hillbillies house with indoor plumbing and a cement pond. We haven’t made it to a NASA lab yet, but we will. Schools should have different goals for different children, but there still needs to be accountability. Without goals and accountability, we risk sliding back to the log cabins. Special needs children should not count as drop-outs or failures if they take until their 22nd birthday to graduate. GEDs should count as successes. Some students will never reach traditional milestones. Give more weight to the goals agreed upon by administrators, teachers and parents at IEPs. Somehow, we must stop using teachers’ scrap booking talents as the measure of a severely disabled student’s progress. Portfolios are too subjective.
Third, a Cookeville democrat is proposing that we deny the children of immigrants without proper paperwork an education. How is ignorance going to help anyone? This is no different than denying women the right to attend school or slaves not being allowed to read. Gender, race and country of birth don’t make you a lesser person. All children deserve an education. Stop punishing children for someone else’s actions.