Today Ricki is not going to school. No, it wasn’t cancelled, and she is not sick. Today eighth grade classes are taking a national exam on Mishnah Pirke Avot. I see no reason to “Thank” Ricki’s school for including her by bringing down their scholastic level on the national exams. So I am keeping her home today.
Now I’ve heard people in America calling for special students to be included in national exams, in order to push schools to promote more access to the curriculum for them. To me, it seems that such a plan is a great way for the inclusion movement to stab itself in the back. What school will gratefully accept the challenge of including a special needs child if that student will pull down their scholastic rating? If YOU were a principal, would you risk needed funding for your school by including a child with Down syndrome in your classrooms AND national exams pool?
I think much more sensible would be to rate children’s degree of disability, and give exams that provided extra credit (and only good credit) to schools that succeed in bringing the general curriculum to the special needs population. And those special exams should not just be on history and the like, but on vocabulary level, writing skills, and math. Lets push our schools to excellence, not punish them for taking in our special needs students.
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And just a view of the start of this morning:
Knowing that I could sleep in late this morning, I stayed awake until some atrocious hour typing up an article that I had promised someone. So this morning at 8:45 I open my eyes to Ricki patiently standing by my bed. She was fully dressed, having taken her morning shower as well.
“Mom? Aren’t you going to get up? It’s ten o’clock already?”
“Yes, Ricki, I’m getting up. Look again at the clock. It’s not ten, but quarter to nine.” (Mental note to myself: We need to do some review work on telling time.)
I get up, and meanwhile, on her own, Ricki notices that the trash is full, and takes it down to empty it. While I sit down to quickly type up this blog, Ricki cooks for herself two slices of French toast (I hid the loaf so she shouldn’t make more than that, and I lit the stove as well because the pilot light doesn’t work). Now she’s started a fight with her imaginary friend. I hear her scolding her in a very authoritarian tone of voice. Guess I’ll have to quit here, give her something a bit more productive to do, and start my day.