Bitter Digression

I wrote this comment in April.  I posted it and then I switched it to “Private” .  I felt it was too bitter and too accusatory to be left here.  But this is what I believe each and every day.  Moreover, I think that these feelings/observations are shared by many parent of children with disabilities. 

As I am writing this blog I often feel immobilized by resentments and regrets.  For the last three days I wanted to write about how Robert learned to be helpless. But this topic is not only complex but also loaded with  bitter reflections. They come from the fact that  too often and for too long I was not able to assure that Robert  was taught properly at schools he attended.  There is no doubt that I had times when I felt stressed by caring for Robert.  Yet the stress related to dealing with Robert’s schools was usually much higher. I experienced  times of relative contentment when many of my son’s needs were addressed properly and times of terrible hurt when I watched my son pushed back on a downhill slope of regression.

In this system parent has to be a  teacher, lawyer, negotiator, enforcer of the quality of education while at the same time he/she is kept blind  and has his/her hands tied.  It is an inhuman system. The emphasis on following the special education laws leads to emphasizing administrative paperwork  and not the classroom practices. That has a terrible  effect on children’s education as it leads to ignoring the significance of  the quality of the education delivery – teachers training as it relates to specific disabilities, application of proper methods, good curricula, and most importantly, the quality of education the future teachers receive at their graduate schools.

The  quality of special education received by students with disabilities can be, theoretically,  assessed by parents.  But who is checking the quality of education the future teachers receive at their graduate schools?

Teaching Robert is easy.  Teaching educators is hard but doable. Teaching people who teach future teachers? Impossible.