As I was perusing the internet, I stumbled upon this great article about what to do when a child’s school suggests testing. It’s US-centric, so I’d be interested to hear how other countries address testing.
As I read, I reflected on how complicated the politics behind evaluating children for learning differences is. On the surface, the child’s needs are the most important. That’s certainly true for the parents, teachers and anyone who cares for the student.
As you go deeper, however, things like politics, budgets, stigma and local laws come in, too. I’ve heard way too many stories of schools kicking kids out because they were diagnosed with dyslexia, autism or some other neurodiveristy, and every time, I wonder how that’s legal.
Aren’t public schools bound under IDEA to provide an adequate education for all students with disabilities? I know some of those schools rejecting students with disabilities may be private, but I also know some where public entities. How does that work?
Does state law trump federal law in those cases? Are the protections put forth under federal law really that fragile?
As great as home schooling and unschooling can be, those aren’t options for everyone. Many private schools charge huge tuition fees which are completely out of the question for too many families. How are they supposed to help their struggling child when those who are supposed to assist them abandon them?
It’s a depressing issue to think about. It’s also one frequently overlooked in today’s world, in favor of other problems, or superficial things like celebrity gossip or sport obsession.
Ruminating on these issues is difficult, and it’s easy to lose hope. The problems are so complex and far reaching that a solution seems impossible.
What I’ve come to see more often is that there is no one solution. There are many.
A lot of the attitudes that minimize the attention given to this largely invisible population are so deeply ingrained in our culture that they’re sometimes hard to even identify. The divisiveness I see left and right also causes a lot of the damage.
And, of course, there’s always the power and money dynamics at play.
It’s a lot to think about. It’s a lot to research, and it’s a lot to learn about. Those three things are all vital steps in the road to a better world, though.
What does give me hope is the support groups that spring up, and true public awareness campaigns. Those have then led to changes in legislation, and in some cases, improved school conditions. There’s a long, long way to go, but at least we’ve finally gotten started.