Friday, August 28, 2009

Back to School

Here in Baltimore school starts on Monday. It is hard to imagine that summer is already done and my 2 kids will be back in the classroom. My almost 10 year old son with Asperger's has been noting all week how going back to school will be a culture shock for him. My 12 year old daughter with Dyslexia is excited and apprehensive at the same time. While I can't wait to get my kids out the door to school, there is a part of me that is dreading it. It seems that there are too many teachers who can't wrap their brains around that fact that a really bright kid can also have a disability. They see how smart they are. Don't get me wrong. I am glad the teachers see that. The problem is that they don't understand why my son has difficulty writing a simple paragraph when he can give you chapter and verse about a topic. My daughter's problem is even more difficult because she compensates for her reading problems with enhanced listening skills. On top of that, their teachers are forever trying to fit them into a mold and stiffle the wonderful creative gifts my kids have. Hopefully this year will be better.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Today we lost an icon, a champion of those less fortunate, one who gave a voice to those without one. When I heard the news of Senator Ted Kennedy's death, it felt like the world was standing still. I cannot imagine a world without his tireless efforts for those of us with disabilities and more. He was truly a champion of equal rights. His presence in this world will be greatly missed and our world is diminished by his loss.
When his sister Eunice died, I referred to her as a role model to me. As a tribute to both of them it is now our turn to continue to work and fight for the rights of those with disabilities. Let us follow their example. Even a small victory will pay them tribute and show our great appreciation. Their legacy was to light the torch of public service and create opportunities for all. Let us now take up that torch. By doing that , Senator Kennedy and his sister Eunice will not only live on in our memories, they will live on in our actions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Telling Statisitics: From the IDEAdata website and Maryland Public Schools website.

Maryland is #1 in the nation according to Education Week, The College Board, and Newsweek. State special education statistics paint a different picture. 62% of students with special needs are served in the Least Restrictive Environment (80% of the day in general education). That puts us 21st in the nation. Yet, we have the 3rd highest percentage of students placed in nonpublic special education schools. That is 7.3%. We are 19th in the nation for students with special needs graduating with a high school diploma. Only 61% graduate. Worse yet, 27% of our students with special needs drop out of school.

The stats on the Maryland public schools website paint a better picture, but they are still cause for concern. If we are truly #1, shouldn't we give the same level of education to our children with special needs?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Testing

Testing, please ignore