What a crazy teacher loop I find myself in sometimes! I have befriended a couple of teachers who spent time teaching in one of my school's feeder middle schools. One teaches there now and another has "promoted" to the high school. It makes me proud of the community we have, that they check up on their kids and that I am able to understand a bit of their history.
But sometimes it hurts!!!
My middle school friends have given me the backstory on a couple of kids. One is a girl in the foster system who lives for books and aches to be adopted (I mentioned The Federalist and Anti Federalist Papers one Friday, and she shows up Monday with them read, she is a freshman!). Another is...well...Nipsey Junior Russell III. My middle school sources give me the sad story of how he left his parent's home last year after he was discovered to be beaten. He has missed volumes of content due to his absences and now could serve as the poster child for the No Child Left Behind Act (that is, if it was true that teachers refused to teach him and that he was in school every day and did in fact have parents...wow, that's crazy, we all know that it's all the teacher's fault).
What on earth do these two wacky kids have in common? Guess which one is in special ed? Nope, not Junior III, it's the bright little light bulb girl. She was placed for a math deficiancy that I wonder if she could fix with a little motivation and organization (her test scores in math are decent, I hear). I am filling out the paperwork for Junior III to be tested but even that bothers me. Is this a real disability or just a need for remediation?
Take a look at a special ed class (specifically the learning disabled). I saw one in the library the other day and I wonder how many are organically LD. Most are minority, all are poor, and most have behavior problems. Is labeling a kid special ed a way to keep them away from our "normal" kids? How can you get a kid extra help but not give them a label that sticks them in a class where they may not really get ahead?
Perhaps I have reached my quota of friends from my feeder schools.