Thursday, May 12, 2011

Tracking Pathways, Special Ed, etc

Administering the exit exam is disheartening to say the least. Two special ed students gave up and walked out about 1/3 the way through. I did the usual heart to heart talk but also admittedly told them, I can encourage you to stay but I can't stop you from leaving, it is up to you. One student said, "I'm gonna be here next year. And the next...till I'm 20 like that boy over there. I'm never gonna pass this." Sad. Tragic. Wrong. We're basically setting up an underclass of special ed kids, to be failures in life because they can't pass a stupid test. Maybe they will open an orphanage for abused children and start a world renowned charity. Maybe they will be recognized artists and clothing deisgners. Every child has a talent and it just might not be in filling in the correct bubbles. They might not be able to include a single bit of punctuation in an essay, or find the missing angle in a triangle. But they are capable of great things..of which we deny them.

And then tracking...real quick mention here I swear. An adult student returned to take the exam yesterday and I suddenly remembered something. Early last year in her senior year she found out she was on the "life skills path" of tracking, meaning, no college prep classes, all remedial classes using AGS textbooks...basically a 3rd-5th grade level high school education, where she would not earn a diploma only a cert. of completion. She was mad. The principal had put her on this track because she was former special ed and had not (still has not) passed the exit exam..and her gpa was pretty low. But she wanted to go to a career college to be a blood lab technician. I recall counseling her on classes to take to put her in the "middle path" of diploma only.... changing her to college bound her senior year was too late, too drastic. I changed her schedule a bit, and her paperwork which was probably out of my job jurisdiction but who cares? She has yet to pass the exit exam but...thankfully has other than that met all graduation requirements and is enrolled in her career college and doing quite well! :)

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