One of my four children has multiple disabilities because of a genetic mutation called Fragile X Syndrome and, while we’ve had disputes with our local school district, Jonah’s assorted services—speech and occupational therapy, modified course content and instruction, vocational training—always take place during the school day. Not so in one of the poorest sections of… Continue reading A Dead Canary in Hunts Point: “Vouchers” Instead of Special Education Services
A few days ago I was walking by a school and I heard what sounded like door alarms going off. Usually alarms indicate an alert to impending danger that creates a sense of urgency to protect oneself and others. In this case, however, everything (from the outside looking in) appeared to be business as usual.… Continue reading Remembering Avonte Oquendo
This is a guest post by Felecia Brown Butler. Felecia was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She is a dedicated mother of three beautiful sons and a fierce advocate for her community and great schools for all children. When my son was in Kindergarten, he didn’t seem to be learning like the other children.… Continue reading Dear NAACP: This Charter School Embraced My Son After a Traditional School Tried To Push Him Out
In my eleven years as an educator, both in the States and abroad, I have always viewed my relationships with students as an indicator of student achievement. I truly enjoy growing and fostering relationships with each child, and think of it as an integral part of my teaching practice. Additionally, I have noticed that when… Continue reading “Home Is Where I Feel Safe and This Classroom is Home to Me”
“Museums are boring!” And, “at least we get to go to the park for lunch.” These are the refrains I have heard over the years from students before going on a field trip to a museum. While the middle school where I teach is in Manhattan and most of the students reside there, many have… Continue reading Day At The Museum? This Teacher Turns Boredom To Excitement
Two days before Christmas, seven-year-old Ka’veon Wilson came to class at P.S. 194 in Harlem with a tray of cupcakes for his classmates. His teacher, Osman Couey, shoved him out the door and locked it. Ka’veon, a special education student, started banging on the door to get back in. School psychologist Steven Castiglia heard the… Continue reading A Teacher Tosses a Seven-Year-Old Out the Door and Keeps His Job?
The other day as I was mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed a friend request popped up. One of my former students at the high school where I had once worked, a student whom I was quite fond of, wanted to chat. Knowing the rules of the NYC Department of Education, I gently reminded him… Continue reading Joe Dropped Out of High School and That’s Not His Fault
Today is World Down Syndrome Day. I didn’t know this until my son told me last night, after conferring with Siri, whom he consults with about every holiday that he considers significant. (Today is also National Day of Forests and World Poetry Day, by the way, and tomorrow is World Water Day.) Jonah doesn’t have… Continue reading It’s World Down Syndrome Day But There’s Not Much To Celebrate in New York City’s Schools
Earlier this month I suggested that grouping New York City schoolchildren by age rather than ability would address two issues that stymie the NYC Department of Education: strict birthday cut-offs that ignore readiness and the perennial shortage of Gifted and Talented seats. In this post I cited a report which asserted that, in some American… Continue reading Is the US Education Bar Set Too Low For All Kids?
(Guest post by Teresena Wright) My parents — and by that I mean the families with whom I work — ask me all the time, “how did you get started in this line work?” My journey began like this… I tell them that, for me, it started 13 years ago. Yes, my children are the most… Continue reading Don’t Tell Me My Child Can’t Learn. Because She Can.