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August 10th, 2001

Corey H

I’m a person who believes in equality and equal opportunities. I don’t think people should be discriminated against, say, getting a good education simply because of a disability.

But I also acknowledge that some people have special needs. Illinois, like most states, has a separate Special Education program that caters to the needs of people who are mentally or physically handicapped. The class sizes are generally small, so teachers can concentrate on working with these kids.

In 1992, a lawsuit was filed against the city of Chicago, the state of Illinois, and two educational organizations on the behalf of eight disabled students – including one named Corey H. The lawsuit claimed that the city had not given these students a fair shake when it came to education. In 1998, Federal Judge Gettleman ruled that the Illinois State Board of Education, as well as the Chicago Board of Education, had failed to provide a proper environment for these kids. The suit had expanded to include the Illinois State Board, so any ruling would affect not only the city but the entire state as well.

And what a ruling it was. It appears innocuous, and looks to be a good thing, but in reality this lawsuit means that kids in Special Education are no longer permitted to be separated from kids in the “normal” education system. I don’t know if I need to tell you how incredibly inane this ruling is. Imagine that you have a class filled with 4th graders, but two of them are at the age of three mentally. One has little control over bodily functions; the other also has a physical handicap. The teacher hasn’t gone through any training to understand the needs of those two kids, and she shouldn’t’ve. But now you’ve got everyone in that class affected. The teacher now has to deal with these kids, which affects the time that would be spent on lessons. The “regular” kids will sit around and goof around while the teacher tries to attend to the kids… or they’ll just make fun of the kids. And the disabled children? It’s a toss-up. We’ll have a huge mess on our hands.

In addition, this ruling severely affected the certificates Special Ed teachers must obtain. While one could concentrate on, say, working with kids exhibiting just one type of disability, the ruling lumps almost all disabilities into one large group. This means that, instantly, thousands of teachers will be deemed inadequate and will have to head back to school just to teach; a Special Ed classroom would have kids with various disabilities.

It’s a shame that the original issue has ballooned into something so ridiculous. While it’s possible that the city didn’t provide the proper environment, it’s silly to suggest that all students – including the severely disabled – will have the same opportunities in the same classroom. Special Education is so named for a reason. This judge’s ruling cuts a necessary system off at its knees. -pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

FROM: Robert
DATE: Friday August 10, 2001 -- 12:10:06PM
If these parents actually were in the school and they saw the differences between the two kinds of classrooms, I'm sure they'd change their minds. The problem seems to me that parents of disabled students don't really want to believe that their kids are all that much different from the rest of their peers. At first they were only fooling themselves--now they're fooling the state.

FROM: liz
DATE: Friday August 10, 2001 -- 9:51:53PM
but i'd ask what the point is in shielding these kids from "normal" life, and shielding "normal" kids from the handicapped ones. placing them in the same classroom might lead to more compassion.

and just because a kid is in special ed doesn't automatically mean they can't function -- a friend of mine works with mentally handicapped people, taking them to work every day, so that they can function in society.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Friday August 10, 2001 -- 10:27:13PM
Compassion doesn't mean shit when the kids who have the potential to learn faster are being slowed down by the special-ed children. That will lead to a greater lack of compassion in the long run.

FROM: Paul
DATE: Friday August 10, 2001 -- 10:58:54PM
Liz: I can see your point. Many of the kids in Special Ed can function well, or fairly well. A lot of my disappointment on this verdict deals with the lumping of all Special Ed kids in the same group.

Currently, kids with disabilities are generally separated out based on the severity of their condition. And, teachers can choose to deal with a particular group. Each one of these groups of kids requires a different method of instruction, and certification as well.

With this law, all kids are in the same group. If dedicated Special Ed classes remain, teachers must now be certified to teach all the recognized disabilities. How will a blind child interact with a physically and mentally challenged child?

Insofar as bringing the kids into normal classes goes, the big problem is that some of the Special Ed kids simply can't function at their age level. So now you've got a potential scenario as I mentioned in the Ping. Many of these kids have conditions that need constant attention. Others don't. Now, all teachers will have to deal with all of them in the same classroom.

The original lawsuit, just against the city, might indeed have merit. But I think that bringing Special Ed kids into one big group, and then putting that group into so-called normal classrooms, is a huge, huge disservice to their education.

FROM: Shawn
DATE: Tuesday June 17, 2003 -- 1:35:18 pm
It seems as though you an I are on the same page. I am a parent of a child who has a learning disability. When people hear LD they automatically think , dumb, unteachable, slow, stupid. There are children who have learning disabilities who average and above average IQ's. Example.. My son is extremely intelligent. He can hold a conversation with you about things that a typical 8 year old wouldn't talk about or have any knowledge of. He is dyslexic. Because of his dyslexia he is unable to read. he has problems with the written word. If given a test and asked verbally, he passes with flying colors. My problem is that the schools lump all of children with disabilities together. It is no way that a child like my son shoud be in a classroom with emotional and behaviroally challenged kids. I believe that the new system may not work for everyone. Self-contained classes should still be implemented for children who simply cannot function in a normal classroom setting. I encourage everyone to educate themselves about the different types of disabilities and Illinois previous structure. It really did more harm than good.

DATE: Tuesday November 18, 2003 -- 12:02:15 pm
My daughter is Blind and has Asperger's she is currently being mainstreamed with support services and is in a Vision resource room 1hr a day and an Autism room 1hr a day for services. I feel the mistake of Corey H is not in addressing each childs individual disabilities. I fear for the day when they no longer address the specifics of the childs diability and we are back to a time when we herd all the spec. ed kids in one room self-contained all day until these kids are 21 and out of the system.

DATE: Saturday January 1, 2005 -- 3:33:01 pm

FROM: brittney
DATE: Monday January 31, 2005 -- 3:27:15 pm

FROM: Lisa
DATE: Thursday December 15, 2005 -- 1:40:55 pm

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FROM: cate
DATE: Saturday May 20, 2006 -- 10:01:41 am
i love full house! i watch it everyday though ive seen every episode. i love hoe stephanie always makes hilarious come-backed to kimmy. michelle is sooo cute i cant believe mary-kate is/was struggling with anerexia she used to be soo cute. they had all there little videos when they got older!

FROM: jk
DATE: Saturday May 20, 2006 -- 11:11:45 am

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