All people and students have needs, even those the Government doesn’t consider as “special needs”. These children are also tested on the information they retain. I do not think it is fair to students of any ability to fully integrate every child in every class in every grade. I know it sounds a bit harsh but this is my reasoning. There are children whose mind will not retain knowledge past a certain point and it’s not always that they’re acting out or just being lazy. Some people have brain chemistry that just doesn’t allow their brain to remember or utilize certain information. This group of individuals would be in the educational system for the socialization; both for them to see and be around others of their peer group as well as for their peers to see and know them too. The difference is the child that is there for socialization and has a disability which prevents learning will move on to the next grade in most systems. The child that is not marked as having a disability and has to learn the information being taught and is tested in their retention will not move on if they do not pass their battery of tests. If a teacher, the aids in class, and any other educational worker has to constantly stop the progression of the class to attend to a student acting out, throwing objects, etc, then the other students do not learn as much. If the students do not perform as well on the test, then it reflects on the teaching abilities of the teacher, at least according to the Government and many educational systems.
I am not saying that it is only the children or people with disabilities that cause the disruptions in learning. There are many children that are not considered to have a disability that tend to cause trouble in the learning environment. I believe that all of the children, both disabled and not, should have a chance to learn and interact with their peers, up to a certain point. If the student insists on disrupting the learning environment and slowing down the progression of their peers, then they should be moved to a class setting more adjusted to them.
A child should not have to worry about being safe at school or worry about failing a grade because the teacher never taught material that the student would have to know for an exam. There are classes outside of the core curriculum of classes that are not graded as strenuously, such as basic arts and crafts classes, basic PE classes, recess, lunch, basic music courses, and appreciation of the arts courses. These courses focus on other parts of learning and are more hands on and keep the children involved. Some courses do not even require the child to interact with their peers for a set task but instead empower the child to make a decision about what he or she would like to do. These courses are geared more toward socialization and expanding the ways of interacting, thinking, and achieving a task; than the core curricular courses. The core curricular courses I think of as those courses that are a basis for learning throughout one’s educational career and are usually observed by officials to determine accreditation standings as well as funding. When someone applies to an institution of higher learning the scores most generally looked upon are Mathematical and Verbal, then the institution will test you in Science, History, Math, and English for placement. These four areas are tested more and more throughout one’s educational career and the subjects are difficult enough for students to have to master all at once without having to raise other concerns about behavior of their peers or if they’ll even have the chance to learn the material they will need.
I am glad to see that there are programs for non-English speaking students to learn English. I am also glad to see there are programs for students to learn other languages from around the world. It is important for students to understand more about people with whom they share our great planet. The American culture itself is not just all people speaking only English; there is great diversity on so many levels. There are many countries that do have an official language and still have segments of their population that speak either a different dialect or a different language all together. In Thailand, many people speak Thai but depending on where in the country they live they might also speak a different dialect and/or another language all together, like Lao. Language education is very important not only for college entrances, but also for a greater appreciation of one’s life and the people they share it with.
Not all children are college bound. For this reason I am glad to see schools that offer college prep and also vocational courses. Maybe a student didn’t think they could go to college but takes a college prep course and enjoys it. It could change their mind and possibly open new doors for the student as well as their family. Maybe there is a student that is better with hands-on than with lecture based. Possibly they would like to work as a chef, electrician, carpenter, auto tech, or other vocation but does not have the resources to get a job or training in their field. Many workplaces will not train an employee and also have policies where they cannot employ persons under a certain age due to the nature of their work. Many jobs cannot hire persons under 18 years old due to insurance liabilities. So how is the student going to gain the experience it takes to get a job without having a job and also possibly being under 18 years old? The Vocational studies programs allow these students to be better prepared to enter the workforce in their chosen profession. The student will already be trained on the basics and will already have experience in the field. In many classrooms there are no chalkboards, there are dry erase boards. Many children have never seen a chalkboard. Younger and younger students are using computers proficiently. Laptops and calculators are becoming more standard for more and more grade levels. Microscopes, telescopes, DVD players, televisions, projectors, and many other technologies are becoming components in the educational environment. I imagine my classroom to be a diverse and dynamic place of learning and understanding, where children will feel safe and experience the joys of education. Mbran009 (talk) 22:17, 25 January 2009 (UTC)