Are Our Schools Only Teaching Middle Class Students?
Middle Class Students
What is happening to the poor children in our schools across America? Are they receiving the same educational experiences and opportunities as the middle class students? Are the poor students placed in Special Education too often?
It is my belief that our schools in America are doing a wonderful job of teaching our middle class students. However, what is happening with our poor students? It is my belief that our poor students are being overlooked in their educational experiences.
Teachers are middle class themselves so how can they possibly teach a child who is of a different socioeconomic status than themselves. God forbid a lower class than themselves. Will these teachers be able to understand the plight of their students?
Will a teacher who has a home to go to at night be able to understand a student who is homeless? Will a teacher who has a bed to sleep in at night be able to understand a student who sleeps on the floor at night? Will a teacher who has food to eat at night understand a student who does not eat at night?
Enter into a special education classroom. What do you see? Do you see children who are healthy? I am not going to say that every special education classroom is going to have children from households that are poor but many of them do. Children who are poor tend to miss school more often than children from more affluent homes. Students need to be in school so they can learn! Any teacher will tell you that they can't possibly teach a student who is not there. When a student is habitually absent from school it creates holes in their learning.
Who decides which students get placed into a special education classroom? This answer most likely varies from each individual school. Some schools have a team of professionals that meet and decide if a child qualifies for special education services. The teacher is usually the person who refers students to this team. So, teachers are typically the persons who decide which children need special services. Some children get placed into special education simply due to their behavior. Is that fair? I do not think it is. Should children get placed into a classroom where the learning happens at a slower pace just because they have a behavior issue? I think this is unfair to the child and to their education.
What does the communication look like between teachers and parents who are poor?