Some Complaints from Teachers

21 Sep


Has anyone ever checked to see how many bureaucrats and politicians have their children in public schools in their districts?   If they are going to tell their constituents what to do in education, and truly want to be representative of them, then maybe they should be required to place their kids in their local public schools.  Most teachers are sensible creatures.  Most are obedient and tow-the-line.  However, schools are at breaking points.

One of the more serious complaints I am hearing from teachers–especially from those here in California–is that special education students are now mainstreamed and taking so much time away from other students. What this has done to the classrooms is this: Mainstreaming has taken teachers away from doing their jobs effectively, and in some states teachers are being evaluated by the job they do. Did anyone consider the rigors of Common Core, teacher evaluations, and special education students when they made this change in law and policy?

Some of the other complaints and concerns that have come in from colleagues are found in the following:

The premise is that over 80% of special education students can perform at the same levels as all other students, if teachers modify instruction for them, make workload accommodations, and deal with their disciplinary behavioral issues uniquely. That sure sounds like many special education students cannot perform at the same levels as other students in the class.

There are so many concerns with this type of policy, especially in CA. It is prevalent in high schools, as well, given that a prime motivator is to graduate students at any cost. Without special education modifications, many special education students would not make it to graduation.

First, teachers are not special education experts.

Second, students are not competing at the same levels when modifications and special accommodations are made in regular classrooms.

Third, in some California districts, one cannot grade a special education student any grade lower than a C-. Even with this, the students fall farther and farther behind.

Honestly, given the lack of challenge teachers now provide some special education students, if I was a parent of a special education student–and knowing the stress of deadlines and regular assessments–I think it would do more harm than good for my child to be in a classroom both without modification and with it. In classes around the nation, nearly one-third of each class roster contains special education students.

Fourth, regular classroom teachers are not trained in special education strategies, disciplinary methods for challenging behavioral issues and violence, or spending large amounts of tutorial time one-on-one with special education students. Teachers that have to do so, do so at the detriment of the other students in their classes.

Fifth, most special education students need “special” education, not “regular” education. What happens is that classrooms dumb-down the learning, so as not to lose everyone by either the pace or the requirements.

Our public school classrooms are flooded with students who would be better served in their own focused programs. Students in regular classrooms are being shortchanged by the time spent on students which need special attention, special accommodation, conferences regularly, and the students themselves are given so many accommodations that they are actually learning that they can do whatever they want and the system must comply. Essentially, our public schools are a mess and we are reinforcing and enabling.

In closing, teachers that are speaking out apparently have a lot to say. Is it any wonder then, that teachers are leaving the profession in large numbers nationally? This trend is terribly disturbing for the so-called “profession” that I love.

Ramp up the rigors and show grit. Learn how to change mindsets and bring down those with anxiety and rebellious temper flare-ups.

Do so while modifying your classroom rigors, not stressing out the students, and modifying expectations and work output.

Sounds like two ships passing in the night.

Continue to speak out teachers . . . In the meantime . . .

Just call me Dr. Common Sense. 🙂


The state seeks to include students with disabilities in funding for high-needs students.

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