(note: I replaced one label with another to make a point. This post does not reflect my true opinion towards special needs.)
I am a special needs mom, parent to children with special learning needs. Because of my extensive experience teaching my children I would like to take a few moments to discuss the special needs situation in our schools.
My children are loud and unruly in a school setting. They can’t sit still and be quiet, or listen to the teacher. I believe that my children are capable of acting normal and that they just need a firm hand. If the teacher put her foot down and insisted that my children behave, then there should be no problems. Why do I believe that? Because special needs children don’t need special accommodations to learn, they just need discipline. The more discipline the better.
Special needs students must learn that life will not always accommodate their needs. They must be able to function in environments that are difficult for them, and the earlier they are able to practice this, the easier they will learn this difficult life lesson. They don’t need help with learning accommodations and schools shouldn’t offer extra help because doing so will give the students a crutch to lean on. Special needs students will do fine on their own.
After all, teachers are trained and equipped to challenge all students in an academic setting. Special needs students will have their needs met in a traditional classroom setting by a well-trained teacher who is capable of managing a classroom of 30 kids. These teachers are professionals – most people would hesitate to walk into a classroom of 30 kids, but teachers do it with no problems. Of course they can manage wildly different learning needs and abilities! That’s their job, after all.
Besides, all children have special needs. Some manifest their needs early, some are late bloomers that manage to get along just fine. Every child has their own special, wonderful set of needs that teachers should classify and respond to appropriately. No child should feel left out because they aren’t labeled special needs. In fact, let’s just ditch the “Special Needs” label altogether and call every child “Needy.” I think every parent would agree that’s a correct conclusion.
There is only so much our school system can do to accommodate Special Needs. There is a limited amount of funding and we can’t really help everyone with intense interventions, so why bother even trying? Let’s aim for a general level of mediocrity in our schools, because that way no one will be left behind. No one will get ahead either, but that’s what college is for, right? We’ll let college admissions weed out the chaff and figure out who deserves to be there.
You might think that putting Special Needs children in a specialized educational setting would be a good idea, but that’s not the case. After all, teachers are well-equipped to handle every need, and children benefit from the age-peer socialization they receive in a traditional classroom. Rest assured, schools have wonderful protocols in place to deal with any bullying issues that might crop up. Special Needs children don’t need to worry about any bullying they might receive because schools have anti-bullying posters plastered all over the walls.
If we do all of this, then we don’t have to worry about Special Needs students diverting much-needed funding and opportunities from the average students. Average students shouldn’t have to suffer for the issues of others. The school setting should be a level playing field: every student gets a fair and equal amount of opportunity. No one is special, no one gets anything extra because that wouldn’t be fair to the other students. The school setting must be identical or average students will complain that it’s not fair to them.
After all, we want education to be a fair setting for everyone, regardless of ability or needs. No one needs labels like Gifted, Twice Exceptional, or Special Needs because all children are the same and have the same needs. I know that with the right amount of discipline and a fair distribution of resources we won’t have any problems whatsoever.
Yes, I’m being brutally sarcastic. I’m not trying to be offensive to anyone with genuine special needs, and in fact, my oldest is, truly, twice exceptional with learning disabilities. I’m trying to make a point: that if you replace “Gifted” with “Special Needs” it’s just as offensive and tone-deaf. All of my points are things that I’ve been told about gifted students, and the rationale and thinking behind these points makes just as much sense when applied to special needs: i.e no sense whatsoever. Children of all abilities deserve to have their needs met in an educational setting. It’s not unfair to meet needs – and that applies to average, gifted, twice exceptional, and special needs students. Just as in life one person may need special accommodations to navigate a set of steps, so it is in education. Would anyone actually say a handicapped ramp is a special accommodation that wastes resources? Of course not! It’s necessary to allow a normal life for those individuals who can’t do steps for a variety of reasons. Educational accommodations are no less necessary, but not as physically evident.
Please, don’t send me hate mail. This is sarcasm. It’s not my true opinion.