Occupy Education part 2

Occupy Education part 2


Occupy education is a movement to change education as it is today.  Today there are tests that all kids need to pass in order to graduate.   The school makes a very big deal about these tests.  The first year my son had to take these tests he was having anxiety attacks every night the weeks leading up to it.  I had to actually tell him the tests didn’t matter.  He kept saying the teachers said that the tests are a big deal. I explained they would not affect whether or not he graduated and only affect how the school was rated.  That particular year they did not affect whether or not he graduated and I had to tell him something for him not to be so anxious.  In the weeks leading up to the test they change schedules and curriculum to focus more on the tests.  By the way he always scores above average on the standardized tests.

Instead of rote memorization they should learn how to assimilate information.  They need to know how to think creatively and how to think outside of the box.  More importantly kids should learn to love education and love school.  This prepares them for life more than anything else.

Transition planning is for special ed kids and starts in high school.  All kids need assistance with transition and it should start in kindergarten.  Currently they do start transition planning for all kids in middle school, at least at our school, by discussing career goals and college planning.  But it goes deeper and yet more basic than that.   All kids should have social skills, life skills, and study skills built into the curriculum.

For example they have kids do group work for them to learn how to work together.  Do they ever teach them how to work together?  The most common issue is one kid doesn’t do any work and the other kid does all of the work.  Kids are told to just figure it out but they don’t.  And guess what, the same thing happens in the real world.  Adults still don’t know how to work it out.  That is why there are millions being made by consultants for coaching and team building.  To help the adults learn so clearly this is an issue for a lot of people.

Learning social skills and compassion also helps to prevent bullying.  There are lots of programs teaching how they should stop bullying but they don’t get to the bottom of what causes bullying.  Every school should have an environment of understanding and acceptance.  The argument is that parents need to teach this.  I agree parents should teach this but the school also needs to teach this.  Currently teachers point out kids for their differences instead of embracing them.

All teachers need to be educated about differences that exist in children.  Many teachers are not familiar with ADHD, let alone Autism.  Whether or not a child has a label the teachers are not understanding when a child forgets an assignment.  They say they need to remember.  I always say give them the skills to remember.  I use a calendar and sticky notes, (and an assistant).  Help kids learn these skills (not the assistant).  Work with them until they are comfortable using them.  Teachers should communicate with the parents.  Most parents would love to know what is going on and work on life skills as opposed to 50 math problems.

Special notes about Special Education:  When kids do have a diagnosis it is really hard to get additional services to help the kids.  Teachers are sometimes very resistant to put the kids on an individualized Education Plan.  It has been a real eye opening experience to have to go in and battle for my son.  One teacher will say he can have a certain accommodation and another teacher will say that accommodation isn’t available.  I do not want IEPs to be cookie cutter since that would defeat the purpose but schools should be more willing to discuss the accommodations that are available.  Also all teachers, including regular educations need further instruction on diagnoses and how to interact with kids.

I am sure I will have more to discuss in the future…



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