When my son Jonah was a few months shy of three years old, our Central New Jersey school district, which had no appropriate programs for a toddler with multiple disabilities, sent him to a county preschool handicapped program. My husband and I were new to the world of special education (our three older children are… Continue reading A Personal Story: Why NYS’s Special Education Waiver Is Bad for Kids
There are certain cruel realities that are seen in schools everyday. Teachers see the multitude of barriers students face from bullying, to poverty, to learning difficulties. Schools offer various methods to help students cope with these issues, many of which are a part of policies like DASA (the Dignity for All Students Act) that offer… Continue reading NYC’s Plan “Isn’t Going to Cut it”: Striving toward Universal Literacy
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”
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?
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
I have written about John W. Lavelle Prep Charter in Staten Island before. I helped start it as a middle school, built on the crazy idea that you must integrate students with mental health challenges with the general population for them to be successful. Mind you, these students tend to have the highest dropout rate of… Continue reading A Different Kind of Integration: Bringing Students With Mental Health Challenges Into Our School and Watching Them Thrive
“We are blessed that we have a mayor who will stand with every single public school teacher to defend our profession and the right to be unionists.” That’s Mike Mulgrew, president of the New York City teacher union, announcing UFT’s endorsement of Bill de Blasio after a short debate at last Wednesday’s Delegate Assembly. After… Continue reading UFT Prez and Bill de Blasio Concur: The Zombie Apocalypse is Upon Us!
(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.