Realities of SY 11-12.
In the coming school year, I will teach a self-contained elementary class for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. I will be expected to teach curriculum across all subjects at four different grade levels.
The class will be twice as big as when I started two years ago. In the same time, the special education support staff has been cut by 33 percent.
Many of my students will take a new state assessment that is more difficult and allows for fewer accommodations than before. Additionally, less than a month before the school year starts, I still have not seen a sample test or received any training on it. And, my student’s scores on this test will count for 50 percent of my annual evaluation.
Class sizes all over my school will be larger. There will be fewer ancillary classes. I will take on an additional role as department chair to help make sure our special education students get the support they need. As of now, however, there is no speech pathologist or educational diagnostician assigned to our campus for this year. There has never been a counselor assigned to the campus since I’ve been there.
Despite all of this, I intend to succeed for my students this year. They will learn, make improvement and grow. They will have opportunities to rejoin general education classes. I’m not leaving any child behind.
But, if education is in such a crisis now, why does it seem “the system” is throwing up as many roadblocks as possible to tamp down good and great teachers? Why, if education is so important, is everything seemingly aimed at making it harder, not easier, to teach our most at-risk youth?