Parents need to know how to advocate for their kids in public school.

I told some peer teachers some years back that the Common Core revamp of how subjects are taught will end up creating more students being labeled as special ed. This may seem crazy to some, but it is happening. I am currently tutoring a grade school student whose parent said, ” they want to put my child in special ed for math”. I said, “let me work with him and I will help you know what to do.” After just the first two sessions with the child, I told the parent, ” there is nothing mentally wrong with your child. What IS wrong is that your child’s way of thinking does not match the C.C. forced way of thinking about things. This kid is smart and knows what to do according to the other way of thinking that used to be used. Plus your child has the added stress of a wild classroom making numerous distractions and noise and interruptions which he then sometimes becomes a part of from frustration. So, the problem, the challenge is NOT in your kid. It is in the system change.” Then I gave her this advice which I pass on here to all parents who are in the same boat. ” 1. They CANNOT just stick your kid in any form of special ed. situation WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT. This is the law. 2. The school is required to try many methods to help your child in the classroom–without needing special ed services to make modifications. Modifications, aka ‘changes to help the student in the regular ed classroom’, can be made without special ed services and labeling. I used to be part of a collaborative team who would meet after school with teachers who had troubled students. Our job was to listen to the teacher and offer alternative ways to help the student. After 2 or 3 weeks, we’d meet again, see updates and, if necessary, offer a second set of ideas to use. We always recommended including the parent’s involvement–although THAT was half the time IGNORED by the parents who thought the school should DO IT ALL. Still, we had our second meeting. Another 2 or 3 weeks would pass, and on the third meeting, we’d view the updates. If progress was still way far behind, then the teacher and Psychologist would ask the parents for permission to test their child for possible help needed in whatever subject was in failing range. If the parent said NO, then that was it. From that point on it is totally up to the student, the parent, and the teacher to make school life work.” The parent and I spoke about the usual routines between teacher, parent, and student that always make a success if everyone does their part. So, just be aware, again, that it always takes three to make education work in any setting; the parent, the teacher, the student. All three have responsibilities to be directly involved in the process of things and to make the changes together within the regular ed. setting. Most of the time there is no need for a fourth party. Sometimes special ed must be there but only when absolutely necessary. Just sharing from my experience and my opinion.

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