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Our society depends on active, informed and effective participation in democratic politics. However, many people today feel powerless. They do not trust politicians or the political system and do not take part in politics at any level.
To restore trust in politics, we recognise our responsibility to enable everyone to take part in democratic politics at some level, and to enable people to develop the confidence, skills and knowledge to have an effective voice.
ADLER - AUDITOR'S FINDINGS IN WILLINGBORO MERITS CRIMINAL PROBE
Audit: Willingboro school officials faked financial reports in 2005.
TRENTON - Senator John H. Adler today asked State Attorney General Stuart Rabner to launch a criminal probe to punish those responsible for misappropriating millions of taxpayer dollars in the Willingboro Township School District.
"As we tell our children, there have to be consequences for wrongdoing," said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill. "Taxpayers need to know we will dig down to the root causes of wrongdoing and punish those responsible."
In a report by State Auditor Richard L. Fair, it was disclosed that Willingboro officials approved a grossly under-funded budget for the 2005 fiscal year and then falsified reports to cover up the shortfall, causing a crisis which was abated only after the Legislature sanctioned a $10 million bailout loan.
"It is unconscionable that New Jersey taxpayers should be asked to tolerate and to subsidize what very well may be criminal behavior," Senator Adler said in a letter today sent to Attorney General Stuart Rabner. "As a taxpayer, I am appalled. As a State Senator, I appeal to you for a corrective remedy."
The Auditor's report noted that the Willingboro School Board said its vote to approve the budget was based on "falsified" information supplied by district staff. In July of 2005, the board suspended School Superintendent Alonzo Kittrels.
In the wake of a school district deficit set at $5.9 million, three Willingboro schools were shuttered in the district of 5,600 students.
The State audit found that the district's 2005 budget set aside $13.6 million for teachers' salaries when the actual cost was $17.7 million and that a monthly report on the district's financial activity consistently understated expenses.
"Children should see that grownups who abuse taxpayers are held accountable," Senator Adler said. "Otherwise, we're all complicit."
Senator Adler served as co-chair of the Joint Legislative Committee on Public School Funding Reform which recommended tighter fiscal accountability procedures for districts throughout New Jersey.
Early Learning Initiative (or E.L.I.) is a learning program for children under the age for kingergarten admission. It provides manifold benefits.
First, it can act as a day care partial or full day schedule for working parents.
Second, it does this while fostering a child's growing mind, thereby preparing them for the rigors of a more active academic curriculum.
Third, it helps the children learn the intricacies of social interaction in a controlled, nurturing setting.
Finally, it allows for the early identification of various learning disorders in children by trained professionals.
The Governor of the State of Ohio, Ted Strickland, wants to eliminate funding for this program.
Recognizing the fact that the Virgin Islands Department of Education (VIDE) continues to engage in the practice of returning federal education funds that could be utilized for our children.
Recognizing that the VIDE has failed to explain to the people of the Virgin Islands why it has returned more than $10 million in federal money in the past 6 years.
The mission of the Earth Charter Initiative is to promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace.
We stand at a critical moment in Earth's history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.
I. RESPECT AND CARE FOR THE COMMUNITY OF LIFE
1. Respect Earth and life in all its diversity.
2. Care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love.
3. Build democratic societies that are just, participatory, sustainable, and peaceful.
4. Secure Earth's bounty and beauty for present and future generations.
II. ECOLOGICAL INTEGRITY
5. Protect and restore the integrity of Earth's ecological systems, with special concern for biological diversity and the natural processes that sustain life.
6. Prevent harm as the best method of environmental protection and, when knowledge is limited, apply a precautionary approach.
7. Adopt patterns of production, consumption, and reproduction that safeguard Earth's regenerative capacities, human rights, and community well-being.
8. Advance the study of ecological sustainability and promote the open exchange and wide application of the knowledge acquired.
III. SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
9. Eradicate poverty as an ethical, social, and environmental imperative.
10. Ensure that economic activities and institutions at all levels promote human development in an equitable and sustainable manner.
11. Affirm gender equality and equity as prerequisites to sustainable development and ensure universal access to education, health care, and economic opportunity.
12. Uphold the right of all, without discrimination, to a natural and social environment supportive of human dignity, bodily health, and spiritual well-being, with special attention to the rights of indigenous peoples and minorities.
IV. DEMOCRACY, NONVIOLENCE, AND PEACE
13. Strengthen democratic institutions at all levels, and provide transparency and accountability in governance, inclusive participation in decision making, and access to justice.
14. Integrate into formal education and life-long learning the knowledge, values, and skills needed for a sustainable way of life.
15. Treat all living beings with respect and consideration.
16. Promote a culture of tolerance, nonviolence, and peace.
The public higher eduction system in California is the best, most affordable and most comprehensive in the nation. Five of the top twenty universities in the United States are CA public schools.
The state of California is facing a $24 billion budget shortfall right now. Thus, the entire university system statewide is facing approximately $800 million in budget cuts for the 2009-2010 academic year. These cuts will result in an immediate increase in tuition/fees, an increase in class size, salary cuts and workload increases for staff and thus an overall decrease in the quality of the system. This will drastically impact the state in a number of important areas, not least the quality of healthcare that the university health centers and hospitals provide to 3.6 million patients annually and access to a quality university education at a reasonable price, two basic human rights.
Education and the promotion of American, competitiveness and innovation is also deeply threatened by an attack on this university system. Collectively more Nobel Prizes have come out of the California system than any other and many of the most important innovators, scientists and artists in the US are alumni.
Maintaining the health of the California higher education system is supporting American academic excellence that we will need, now more than ever, to ask and answer the difficult questions that will continue moving us forward for years to come.
Please send a copy of this on your letter head if available to your local Senator and Congressman and delete this sentence. 1/2
A blind spot exists in law enforcements ability to protect our school children / grandchildren from registered sex offenders, whose void is about to get much bigger unless confronted, assigned our symbiotic mandates and a federal oversight program and support is passed into law.
This petition has been created for the honours students to sign.
The State of California is facing an economic crisis like it has never seen before. It is apparent that tough decisions must be made and there have to be some cuts to the state's budget. There is no way around some form of budget cuts.
Families throughout the state are suffering in this economy and are now seeing their dreams of sending their children to have a quality education collapse in front of them. The rising cost of fees make higher education inaccessible for these families.
Thankfully California has maintained the CalGrant program even during these hard times. The future of California and its many of its citizens are relying on the CalGrant program to pay for their education and ensure a prosperous life.
In early 2008, Gordon Brown pledged to help 300,000 children in primary schools through one-to-one support. One-to-one support is mainly for those children who have difficulty keeping up in class. An additional teacher will help them out in doing so and making sure they understand it properly as a class teacher is often very busy.
However, by June 2009, research has shown that instead of being close to helping the 300,000 children that were promised help, this figure has only risen to 3,500 on average in the whole of the UK. This is not even half of what was pledged.
Ministers have talked for years about introducing better and more accesible one-to-one support. But nothing has ever been done. Only a tiny fraction of children in need of this support actually recieve it, and this is after being 'looked over' by a group of 'professional educationalists'.
484 schools IN ENGLAND have joined the one-to-one tuition programme, but little progress has been made. And what about Scotland? Where is our help?
Schools are becoming more and more accessible for disabled children (through ramps, elevators, etc), but schools seem to fail to help these children educationally when in a mainstream school.
Is this really acceptable in modern day society?
The Health teachers at San Lorenzo High are wonderful teachers. In their classes they teach anatomy, sexual health, street smarts, the effects of drug use, CPR, and other useful tools that students can take to adulthood. They have recently been notified that they are being laid-off, and will not be returning next year to teach health.
Health classes have been a graduation requirement for over 30 years, and have helped students to really understand their bodily functions and the effects of bacteria, diseases, drugs, etc. to their health. Health classes should remain a graduation requirement, because it is important for all students to know about their health.
Petition signing period 請願書簽署期限：
2009/05/30, 12:00nn - 2009/6/30, 12:00nn
In Hong Kong, the new senior secondary school biology and combined science curriculum effective from September 2009 contain a statement in the part of evolution that may encourage unscientific theories to be propagated in science classes. The related passage reads:
"In addition to Darwin's theory, students are encouraged to explore other explanations for evolution and the origins of life, to help illustrate the dynamic nature of scientific knowledge."
News media reported that at least 31 secondary schools in Hong Kong have already admitted to teach Creationism and/or Intelligent Design as an alternative to the theory of evolution during science lessons. The Education Bureau first turned their back to the complaining scientists from the University of Hong Kong, but later stated in a TV program that creationism is not “considered as an alternative to Darwin’s theory”.
In the same TV program a secondary school principal lashed out at the scientists for being narrow-minded by expelling religious ideas. Another secondary school principal said on the newspaper that "Our religious belief does not approve of evolution" . In early May 2009, a group of 62 people, including educators and scientists, signed a statement calling for controversial guidelines to be retained because it is "stimulating, balanced, non-biased and has worked well" .
To date, the theory of evolution is the only robust and established scientific theory regarding the biodiversity on Earth. It has stood numerous tests ever since publishing, and is supported by overwhelming evidence and confirmed by other areas of sciences like biochemistry, genetics, anatomy, physics and geology. This central theory in biology has substantially contributed to many of the greatest scientific and technological advancements in modern medicine and agriculture, thus has saved many lives and improved their living.
The other "explanations", such as Creationism or Intelligent Design, are not even consistent with the definition of science, and have been dismissed by scientists worldwide as pseudo-sciences with strong reasons. Scientists have already stated openly and widely that these unscientific ideas should not be taught in science classes .
The problematic statement in the new biology and combined science syllabuses will open a loophole for pseudo-sciences, resulting in a great damage to quality education in Hong Kong, whereby knowledge on the theory and fact of evolution of life on Earth are being concealed, denied, or confused with ideas or notions not testable by science, and thus contradicts the objectives of science education.
There are evidences showing damages have already been made to science education, as schools and teachers with religious background unscrupulously teach Creationism and Intelligent Design during science classes. Education Bureau, as stated in its vision statement, is responsible for providing quality education to our next generation; it must address this problem seriously and with urgency, and clearly expresses their position publicly, to prevent this problem from further spoiling Hong Kong’s international image.
To know more about the issue or to support us, please visit our website.
After seven (7) years of providing before and aftercare transportaion for school age children residing in Wading River attending Riverhead Schools (Riley Ave) the Superintendent deemed the location of Kiddie Academy Wading River as out of District by 1 1/2 blocks.
The District failed to notify either parents who attended Kiddie Academy or Kiddie Academy of their decision until a new neighbor went to register their child for September busing with the district. We feel the district has not given us ample time to appeal to the district voters, nor the education commissioner to petition for this decision. The district still has not formally notified any parent whose child is affected. We wish to appeal to the district and the board for a hold on their to decision for the school year 2009/2010 to allow for such an appeal and or alternative care and or work schedule.
There is no monetary expense for the district to bus these children to this location as they have to pass the location to provided busing to their homes.
315. Keep Coach Rowan
Our wonderful track coach and teacher has been fired. This has upset many students. It is up to us to get her back.
I AM STARTING THIS PETITION TO TRY AND CONVINCE THE BOARD OF EDUCATION AND SUPERINTENDENT KRINER CASH TO KEEP COACH DARREN STEVENS ON STAFF AT KINGSBURY MIDDLE SCHOOL FOR THE 2009-2010 SCHOOL YEAR AND BEYOND.
COACH STEVENS IS A GREAT TEACHER, COACH AND MENTOR TO OUR YOUTH, THERE SHOULD BE OTHER WAYS TO CUT THE BUDGET THAN LAYING OFF GOOD PEOPLE. COACH DARREN IS ALWAYS THERE FOR THE KIDS AS A COACH, TEACHER AND MENTOR. HE TRULY CARES!!
The Computer Science I course has been eliminated from the Saint Thomas Episcopal School’s curriculum. This has proven to be a catalyst for concern throughout much of the student body at Saint Thomas.
We therefore ask that the Computer Science I course be reestablished in a time period of a maximum of two school years. Technology is an ever-growing essential aspect of twenty-first century professions and college education. There should be a fair and equal balance between “Classical” and “Modern” education.
The State of Texas, as noted in 19 TAC 74; Subchapter B, requires a minimum of one computer science credit in order to graduate high school.
The majority of prominent public and private universities require a minimum of one computer science credit for admission.
We, the students, believe that in our right to an education, we must be equipped for the future, and the discontinuation of computer sciences is inadequately preparing us for a more technologically advanced future in careers and higher learning.
We are a group of parents who have come together to establish an Educate Together national school in the Tallaght/Citywest area of South-West Dublin, Ireland.
In the majority of state-funded schools in Ireland, the Patron is a religious leader or clergyman. As Patron, Educate Together guarantees equality of access and esteem to children irrespective of their social, cultural or religious backgrounds. The schools are also parent-initiated, usually being established by parents who want this unique ethos available in their locality. As a result, there is a high level of parental participation in the operation of the schools.
We wish to provide an option for our children to receive their primary education in such a school. In our area, we want to have a school that is multi-denominational,
co-educational, child centered and democratically run. A school that adequately reflects the growing multi-denominational nature of the Tallaght/Citywest area.
However, we were recently informed that the Department of Education and Science would not be recognizing a new school in the area in 2009. We feel this is unfair to the large number of parents who have indicated that the Educate Together ethos is their preferred option for their children. If you agree, please sign our petition.
319. Save Florida Schools
The problem with funding in Florida schools is evident- our schools are closing, classrooms are overcrowded, magnet programs are closing, our teachers are underpaid, and every passing week it seems to grow worse.
I feel that you simply cannot put a price on the quality of our children’s education. At my old High School they are closing down magnet programs, as well as in the Middle School. I know that transportation has been cut back on as well, and they are harshly limiting the areas where they offer transportation for students who have no other way of getting to school. Why must a child who is as equally gifted to another not have the same opportunities as one whose parents can afford to pay for a bus?
Other states understand the importance of quality education for our children (they ARE the future) and place much more emphasis on funding for Education- California raised $4 billion taxing cigarettes, all of it marked for early childhood health and education programs. As a result, Los Angeles County received $600 million to create universal preschool for all 153,000 4-year-olds in Los Angeles County. Arkansas raises about $14 million dollars a year taxing 3% (15-18 cents) on every six pack of beer.
People around California are losing their jobs. Why? These budget cuts are meant to save money that are supposed to be used for their salary. The plan for them is to fire thousands of Americans so they can 'save teh economy'! People affected are number one, teachers; the government will fire a countless amount of them and make the ones who aren't to take the responsibility of more kids-their classes can grow up to 40 kids! Second, people affected include people for law enforcement. We will see many investigators and such fired and sections of jails shut down. How can we do the work of justice if this happens? How can we disadvantage our children, the futures of America?
Would you want your children to be in a class of 40 kids? This would bring a disadvantage to their education, as the teacher will have a great number of kids to educate already. Do you want more crime to come by shutting down whole sections of jails and thousands of law enforcers? Signing this petition would help bring a stop to the firing of thousands of more teachers, educators, and law enforcing workers who are at a risk of losing their jobs. Think, how does making teachers lose their jobs, giving kids learning disadvantages, and allowing the stop of law enforcement helping the economy?
Currently Evolution is on a higher level than Creationism in schools nation wide. Both Darwinism and Creationism is a theory, yet evolution is a dominate course in schools. Although millions believe in Creationism, they are forced to learn about Evolution because it is "Scientific." Yes, religion and State are separate, but if that's so then make evolution equal to creationism because evolution contradicts creationism.
Many children are bullied at our schools and nothing constructive is being done to protect them! The bullies now 'rule' our education establishments and even the teaching staff are not allowed to impose control. This situation can even result in young people taking their own lives in desperation!
Society owes the young an education free from threats and violence by their peers!
WowWee Robotics makes a wide range of cutting-edge robotic toys. Unfortunately, some of them are now discontinued, such as the RoboSapien V2 and RoboSapien RS Media.
The RoboSapien RS Media is fully programmable with Linux operating system built in. There are a few good white-hat robot hackers out there that have developed the RS Media beyond what comes out of the box, due to the ability to utilize it's on-board Linux operating system and USB port. Schools have also used this robot as a teaching tool. The robot also has expandable memory via SD card and a secret built-in serial port console to get direct access to the robot's OS.
The RoboSapien V2 is a big upgrade from the original RoboSapien (which is not yet discontinued). He has the same full autonomous abilities and can move much the same as the RS Media model. While he can not be programmed via PC computer, the one feature many liked was his walking gait was a bit better and his hands featured 4 fingers (3 on top, 2 on bottom) instead of the two-on-top, one-on-bottom claw hands the RS Media features.
While many may buy robots as toys for their kids, we feel that these robots are also much loved by those of us in the robot community that love to program, alter, and improve these robots! We are not happy that WowWee has decided to discontinue the RS Media and V2 RoboSapien models without at least implementing the much loved features in a new version.
It is with great concern for our children's future that we implore the school administrators to seek alternative measures in order to fulfill budget cuts and curriculum changes laid upon them. We understand that schools must comply with state standards but do not believe that removing Visual Arts or Music from our schools curriculum is the answer.
I am writing as a concerned parent of a student who is to be attending kindergarten in the year 09/10. I currently live in Clintondale which is Porter township. I was supposed to register my daughter for kindergarten this year and I am struggling with the fact that the KCSD is purely being run by power and money. Here is my story: My daughters designated school is Robb elementary. Now I am sure all of you who don't know about the "policies" are wondering why Robb when this family lives in Clintondale. Yes, I thought the same thing. So I called to get answers. And like we all know nobody ever has any. I do not want my daughter to go to Robb for the fact that it is so big. It has three kindergarten classes and Lamar Township only has 12 students in their kindergarten. This is pure ludicrous. Not only that but the fact I am going to pass three yes that's right three other elementary schools before I get to Robb. So many students are falling between the cracks of the education system and the district is allowing this to happen. I want my daughter to go to a school where to is going to get the attention that every student deserves. Next year so far there is only 25 students going to Mill Hall elementary in the kindergarten class.
Now also attending Lamar Township is a little girl who her designated school was Robb but she is being allowed to go to Lamar for the simple fact that her mother went to a board meeting and said I live in Porter Township and if my daughter goes to Robb then she will make friends in Lock Haven and I will have to drive her to Lock Haven to play with her friends. So they passed it and allowed her to go to Lamar Township.... and you call this justification. Absolutely not....I want to send my daughter to a school where I know she is going to get the education she deserves and we are going to put social power over that. Where does it end??
That's my question to you? When are we as citizens going to stand up and say ya know this mother has a point. There was a study done by a group of people who were concerned about the education system over the entire country. Whether your going to the suburbs of San Fransisco or a small town like Mill Hall/ Lock Haven results all came out pretty much the same and the results will blow you socks right off.
It was a study on students who have dropped out of school and we currently have about 30% of students dropping out and 45% of those students said that they dropped out in high school because during their elementary education years they were simply not prepared to handle the knowledge at the high school level. WHAT?!?!? That is what is going on here folks. That is what is going on. When I called the attendance office, transportation office, and the superintendents office and said all I am asking is for justification for my child going to a school that is in Lock Haven when I have an elementary school 2 miles from my house they all said the same thing....that is what the board passed. Blows me away. So in closing here is what my conclusion is.
My daughters education will be determined my a handful of people who all have political power and a better social status than John Doe down the street. Is that really justification? And at the end of the day who are we??? It is a question that we as citizens need to really think about. This is a serious situation and I am sure I am not the only mother or parent for that matter who has the same concerns. Let's come together as a community and make our education system what it needs to be. Or we will just be another statistic?
My son has been refused entry to my daughter's Catholic school based on the schools own admission and boundary policy. The decision has not been based on our religious beliefs, family unit or how strongly we support the Catholic community school and church.
The school does not operate a sibling priority within its policy which as a Catholic school discriminates against the family unit.
گزارش های نگران کننده ای از تصمیم اتحادیه اروپا ، برای قرار دادن نام دانشگاه صنعتی شریف( از دانشگاه های معتبر ایران) در لیست جدید تحریم ها علیه فعالیت های غنی سازی اورانیوم دولت جمهوری اسلامی ایران در دست قرار دارد
The DCF Regional Schools across NJ are very beneficial to disabled, “at-risk” high school students (students who would regularly have to drop out or fail in the traditional public school setting because of legal troubles, parole, multiple explosions, etc…) and pregnant and parenting teens who want the best for their futures and the futures of their babies and don’t want to be another static and drop out.
The State of New Jersey wants to get rid of these programs to “save approx 4,000,000 dollars in the 09-10 year” but think of all the welfare costs that are going to skyrocket if the 500+ students who attend a DCF Regional School across NJ have to drop out because of lack of accommodations, childcare, and because they just can’t mesh with the normal high school setting. Most school districts do not provide any form of childcare for teen students who have infants and toddlers.
The Project TEACH (Teen Education and Child Health) educates teen mothers about proper care and nutrition for their children on top of letting them get their high school credits and finish high school months earlier than the traditional high school student.
Please help keep our schools open!
Students for Palestine claims to be a collective of the Union, run by the Education Public Affairs Office in response to the recent events in Gaza. No motion declaring that this collective is part of the Union has passed through any committee or meeting of Students Council, the peak representative body for students at the University of Melbourne.
In a time where students are faced with structural changes due to the Melbourne Model, increasing class sizes, staff cuts and reduced subject choice, increasing costs and challenges like rising unemployment and costs of living, we reject the notion that these issues should be considered less important by the Education Department than taking sides in a conflict on the other side of the world.
The Education (Public Affairs) Officers moved a motion at Students’ Council to allocate $1000 to Palestine Solidarity Week out of UMSU’s general-use “Whole of Union Fund”. This motion did not pass, due to concern over the appropriateness of the money coming from Whole of Union, and concern over the inclusiveness of the events.
In response to a direct question, Education Public Affairs Office Bearer, Tim Arnot said that the Jewish Students Society would not be allowed to participate. When asked who could take part, Arnot replied that the collective would decide - and that any student that they defined as racist and/or Zionist would be banned from participating. We have a problem with people being banned from an event, due to the decision of a small amount of people on whether they are “racist” or not.
Previously, a motion at Education Committee had passed asking for $650 for Palestine Solidarity Week in the case that the $1000 did not pass at Students Council. That decision is now being appealed by three members of the Education Committee.
Then, at the next quorate Welfare Committee Meeting, $650 was asked for from the Welfare Budget for Palestine Solidarity Week. This was also passed, and is now being appealed by 30 members of the Student Body who believe that the Welfare budget should be used strictly for issues surrounding Students Welfare on Campus.
This comes at a time when so many students are in need of emergency housing that the University Housing Service is renting out backpackers hostels to house them. It comes at a time when no Postgraduate or International student can get a concession card. It comes just as it’s about to become even harder to receive Youth Allowance. It comes at a time when the Welfare Department needs to focus on serving students, not fighting the war in the Middle East.
Socialist Alternative, like others in the past, use student unions as resources, strip-mining them for funds to support their political agendas, which do not necessarily agree with the majority of Students. For the Union to be truly representative of the students that it aims to serve, the union needs to listen and take note of the majority of students. It must reflect their needs, their ideas and what they want the Union to be.
It’s time to draw the line. Student Funds are for Student Use, for the benefit of our students. If Students Council won’t reign in political corruption, then we will have to do it ourselves.
When signing this petition, please put in the ‘comments’ section your student number and a Y if you are a union member. We can't use your signature without your number and proper name.
About 1 in 150 children has been diagnosed with autism, based on a 2002 study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. This can be rephrased as being a rate of 6.6 per 1,000 children. This outdated census is based on results conducted in only 14 out of the 50 states in the United States of America. Nor does this study include the most populous states such as California, Texas or Florida. Clearly the study is limited and the numbers reflect only the tip of a monumental and critical iceberg. There is little interest or regard for a problem that needs to be solved.
One problem is that children are being diagnosed too late, a good amount of time after they have already started school. Autism is hard to detect in its early stages, and its symptoms are not obvious until its victims have reached school-age. That is when there is a distinguishable difference between the child and its companions as well as the rate of learning and progress. Many studies prove that autism can be diagnosed by age 1. That is true. However, that is if parents take their children to doctors and specialists for evaluation. If there are no symptoms and no ways to look for early signs, about three-fourths of children will begin to appear to have the condition at age 9 years. This is according to a report in the June issue of archives of General Psychiatry. This means that before the child reaches the age of nine, he/she will be shuffled through his/her early years of school and then fall far behind other students upon diagnosis.
Another problem is that after these children have been diagnosed, they are placed in cramped environments labeled “Special Education”. Overcrowded classrooms and scarce teachers for the growing population of autistic students is one obvious aspect. These classes consist of teachers who work with a wide variety of disabled students from learning disabilities to speech or language impairments, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, visual impairments, autism, combined deafness and blindness, and traumatic brain injury. These classes are not much better in providing aid, the only difference is that the students with disabilities are removed from “normal” society and grouped together where teachers will attempt to educate the wide variety of disabilities similarly. According to executive director Kim Sweet of Advocates for Children of New York, only “a small number of special education teachers work with students with severe cases of mental retardation or autism, primarily teaching them life skills and basic literacy.”
A fourth problem is pointed out in an article by Thurlow, Sinclair and Johnson. Published in the Publication of National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, it states that “the dropout rate for students with disabilities is approximately twice that of general education students (Blackorby & Wagner, 1996)… and have been identified as being among the lowest performing students on current high-stakes tests… These scores have consequences for schools and often for students. Increasingly, high-stakes tests have significant consequences for students—they determine whether they are promoted from one grade to the next, or graduate from high school with a standard diploma (Thurlow & Johnson, 2000). Students who experience failure or who see little chance of passing these tests may decide not to stay in school—because either they will not be promoted or they will not graduate with a standard diploma… Accountability without the necessary opportunities and support for youth with disabilities to achieve high standards may increase the rate at which they drop out of school and fail to successfully complete school.”
In today’s state, helping students develop emotionally, feel comfortable in social situations, and be aware of socially acceptable behavior is not enough “general education” to equip them for the real world. The effects of general certifications versus advanced certifications to teach in private schools for autism are vastly different. The difference is that private schools receive enough funding (from parents) to effectively train students while public schools only have enough to get by. One example of an effective private school is the McCarton School. By the end of 2007, five of the 23 children in the school will be mainstreamed back into their districts into regular classes. Private schools use many tools that public schools can’t afford to use which include: intensive speech therapy, occupational therapy, sensory integration, etc. to “teach the children to function in their community and in their homes—in the places they actually live”, according to Feldman who is an instructor at the McCarton School holding a PhD. in psychology. The key is that their teachers have specialized training- something that many schools lack.
Does it make any sense at all that in a society where the rate of autism is steadily rising year after year, our school budgets continue to be cut more and more year after year? That is like withdrawing from a deposit in the bank while obliviously expecting to never run out even without making more deposits and at the same being shocked that the interest rate of return in our savings is decreasing. The more you put in, the greater the interest rate of return that our society will have. Children are the future. To take money from the future, is to set the nation up for doom. What kind of nation will it be in 20 years from today or even 30 years, when high school drop-outs are our voters and politicians while special needs adults join the growing number of homeless people? It will be a nation void of stable citizens producing stable incomes to support the social security system. Eventually, the system will crumble from the burden.
If governments need further proof that this crisis is real, let them look no further. Let them observe the increasing rate at which private schools are opening to make up for the obvious lack and inefficiency in public schools. Dr. Cecilia McCarton, Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine founded the McCarton Center for Developmental Pediatrics in 1998. She founded the McCarton School based on the increasing number of parents searching hopelessly for a cure, for treatment, for improvement, a sign or anything to relieve. “The numbers of autistic children we began to see in our Center suddenly became an avalanche. We would be giving therapy to these children and there would be no schools for them, no places for them to go to after age five. Autism overtook us,” she writes.
Let governments observe the flooding of public schools with autism and the inability of small private schools to keep up with demand. Additional solutions for inadequate education involve the increase of funding so that the range of influence and therapy can expand and provide more benefit from the use of IEP’s rather than requiring the use of such plans and not providing tools to carry them out. Public schools can be slowly turned into similar replicas of private school systems.
A small but growing number of districts are modeled after private schools with their personalized environments and highly qualified teachers. Health coverage is often brought up as an alternative to private schools, except health coverage does everything but that…cover. The responsibility is left to the schools.
Today, under P.L.102-119, all schools must offer special educational services and, unfortunately, the government ensures that only the bare minimum is done.Public education is not broken, we just spend too little on our schools and waste too much on less important issues.