I am not sure how they can explain this one away! The Denver Post reported last week that while High School dropout rates have dropped and more students are graduating, colleges are reporting that they are now having to provide more remedial classes.

This doesn’t make much sense to me. But then again neither does the teacher changing a grade because the administration put pressure on them for failing too many kids or because the parent called to ask what all those extra special education classes are for if the child isn’t succeeding in the classroom. Instead, it seems that the schools are lowering their standards rather than figuring out how to teach these children. However, I am not sure that is the only thing going on here. In our label happy, over medicated, and over stimulated society, I think we have hyped up disability as an excuse.

Yes, I did say that. I work with children and adults who have disabilities on a daily basis. It is very real and for some it impedes their ability to live independently. Yet, I see some families and therefore their kids using that excuse as an explanation for their failure. They become apathetic and no longer want to take personal responsibility for their own actions. It is something that has become more and more prevalent in our society and it makes me sad.

In my generation, Special Education was just beginning its movement. It was about bringing those kids and adults, who were hidden in the shadows, out to shine in the spotlight! Yet children who didn’t fit in the mainstream had to find their own way. Hundreds of children went undiagnosed with Aspergers, AD/HD, sensory, or processing disorders. They had to forge ahead like those before them. Many of those people went on to be our best scientists and out of the box thinkers.

So how do we change the mindset? How do we get kids back on their feet, confident in themselves and their own abilities? I know that I don’t have all the answers, but I am sure going to try everything I can to make every child and adult I work with see the value of wanting to learn, setting goals, and reaching for the stars! For my students, there is no excuse for not trying their hardest and working towards their goals.

Oh, and one more thing, it is  ok  fantastic to be different! That is what makes you special and uniquely who you are.

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