The Moore American

April 9, 2014

Mother urged to be advocate for her child

The Moore American

MOORE — I’m very fortunate to have a daughter who is very bright and has been placed in a gifted program. This year, however, she has been assigned to classes where a special education teacher and her teacher work together in the same room. There are numerous special education students in this room whose needs are very great. She comes home saying she learned nothing because of the disruptions during class.

I do not understand the reasoning behind this type of teaching and feel it is a true detriment to not only my daughter and her learning processes but to many other students in that classroom as well. I’ve thought about enrolling her in a private school which she is very opposed to.

Where do I start or to whom do I talk to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

Pam, Norman

Dear Pam,

We completely agree that team-taught classes — blending special needs kids with regular education kids — is a detriment to students and teachers alike. Although “mainstreaming” has been around for many years and does have some value, the recent trend of co-teaching classes baffles us. We have heard disturbing stories from those in the trenches. If you read our column regularly, you know we both taught elective classes which were a delightful combination of every child imaginable. We are all about every child getting the best education possible, and sometimes, this means separate classrooms.

We believe in starting with the source, but in this case, you would be preaching to the choir. Perhaps letting your objections be known, with specific examples, should probably start with your daughter’s building principal. We never suggest not talking (double negative, but you know what we mean) to the teacher or even a counselor, but in this case, they would be of absolutely no help since they have no authority to speak of.

Your responsibility as a parent is to advocate for your own child’s best educational experience. If you are not satisfied with what you initially hear, don’t give up until you are. Follow the chain of command. As we have all heard many, many times — the squeaky wheel gets the grease. It’s true in education, also. You can be pleasant and nice at the same time to get the desired results.

Send questions to Jeannie and Sally are certified school counselors with 49 years combined educational experience. Jeannie has two children, Sally three. The responses presented don’t necessarily represent the views of any certain school district.