"So many dreams at first seem impossible. And then they seem improbable. And then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable."
~ Christopher Reeve

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

'Educational Reality Check' - A Parody

Province accepts all recommendations from report on black special education students, commits to track, improve performance

The province has accepted all 68 recommendations in a 2009 report that called for improving support for African-Nova Scotian  special education students.

But the onus will be on individual schools and school boards to make those improvements, Education Minister Marilyn More said at a news conference Monday in Halifax.

The 2009 2007 report Review Committee Report and Recommendations report, called Reality Check Minister’s Review of Services for Students with Special Needs, singled out the poor job that the education system does in tracking the successes and failures of the province’s 4,000 black special education students. Education consultant Edna Lee, based in California, also said more must be done to combat racism ableism in schools and that the role of support workers who help black special education students be expanded.

The department’s response to that report released Monday agreed or "strongly agreed" with each of Lee’s recommendations.

"We must work as a team to gather the necessary data and adjust our strategy to ensure African-Nova Scotian special education students have a richer educational experience," More told representatives from black special education and community groups.

A monitoring committee has been established to ensure all recommendations are carried out, she said. The committee includes representatives from the Council on African-Canadian Education,  a special education advisory group to the Education Department, the Black Educators Association Equal Education Association of Nova Scotia and the Education Department’s African-Canadian services Student Services division.

The department has also committed to bolster the staffing at its African Canadian services Student Services division. For example, an elementary curriculum consultant position will be created, as well as a consultant who will evaluate data on the black special education student population.

No additional money will be set aside for the new positions or any potential costs related to implementing the recommendations, More said. Resources will be reallocated from budget savings from such things as administrative retirements.

As for tracking the performance of black special education students, the first step will be to encourage students and families to identify themselves as African-Nova Scotians requiring special educational services, the Education Department’s report said.

From there, it’s simply a matter of better using the data collection expertise and supports that already exist, said Lee, who also spoke at the news conference.

Her report includes a checklist for principals to help them support students and guide them toward the appropriate resources.

"We are encouraging each school to look at not only who’s in school but also the conditions that exist in that school," she said. "For instance, the kinds of curriculum, the role of support workers educational assistants in the school, connections with family. All of those elements make for success."
I would suggest that you to go read the rest but, alas, there is no more.  There wasn't even this. 

Although I am relatively happy to see the Province promising to move forward with improving support for African-Nova Scotian students (I say "relatively" because pardon me if I tend to be a bit cynical regarding any of these reports), as I was reading this article in today's edition of the Chronicle Herald I fantasized what the same story might look like in regard to supporting students with special needs in Nova Scotia.  Fantasized because I'm not sure that I've ever read such a news story. 

So I thought I would take a stab at seeing what that would look like.  At least on paper. Now we know.

Update: I really should note that few things irritate me more than a divide and conquer strategy, whether it be between different disabilities or between students with disabilities and any other group of students.  That is most definitely not the intent of this post.  This is not about "us" versus "them" - it's about all students in the Province having their needs met.

I was actually playing with the idea of sending a portion of this post tin a letter to the Education Minister.

So what do you think?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see WERE YOU ARE GOING WITH THIS. I have been fighting to get a special needs seat on the HRSB.

David Barrett