Our education system does often falls short of meeting the grade we’d like to give it. I do think there is a lot of bureaucracy (and paperwork — certainly for children in special education) and administrative detail that often doesn’t seem to be too closely tied to actually educating children. I also know that, like it or not, some of those onerous regulations are better to have, such as demands for more oversight and documentation about the use of physical restraint techniques and seclusion rooms in public schools. As Charlie is autistic, he would not even be able to go to school without the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Even with the IDEA, parents of kids with disabilities still often find themselves fighting with school districts about appropriate school placements and services for children. A recent incident in which a non-verbal autistic boy went without lunch at his New Jersey school because his parents owed $2.00 for his lunch bill showed how rules and protocol can get in the way of common sense. The boy’s parents only learned about what had happened via a brief note from their son’s teacher. I wondered if the incident would not have blown up as much as it did if the parents could have been contacted during the day or some kind of more extensive communication about what happened and discussion of ways to prevent it had occurred.
I like meeting teachers, therapists and school staff as they’re the people whose work plays such a huge role in preparing Charlie for his future. I’ve been something of a “warrior mom” in the past and sometimes it was necessary to provide Charlie with what he needed. But sometimes contentious emails and recording every meeting just communicated to the teachers that we didn’t trust them and were questioned how well they were doing their job.
My neighbor, the veteran middle school math teacher, often gets home around the time I’m waiting for Charlie’s schoolbus. She may look tired; as she often tells me with a smile, she loves teaching and truly enjoys her job. How can we make Back to School Night as positive?
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Read more: back to school night, back-to-school, charter school, disability, idea, public school, Restraints, schools, special ed, special education, students, teacher strikes, teacher tenure, teachers, teachers unions
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