Monday, April 7, 2014

When I was in high school Special Ed, which we are now supposed to call Exceptional Ed, hadn't become the burgeoning industry that it is today.  Every grade had those couple of kids who were politely called "slow."  You didn't really see them because they existed in their own classes and maybe turned up for gym and lunch.  If a kid happened to be really slow, he ended up at a different school with his fellow brakes-applied learners.

But of course we can't do that anymore because someone, somewhere, might have his feelings hurt and sue the bejesus out of the school system (which doesn't really give a damn about whether people are learning or not, but does care about being sued).

So, in order to keep as many SpEd teachers, counselors and coordinators employed as possible, we keep coming up with changes in diagnoses so that people will have to spend hours filling out reams of new paperwork.

I just learned that Asperger's Syndrome doesn't exist anymore. (It's now properly called High Functioning Autism.)  This didn't really surprise me as I didn't really believe in it in the first place.  The first time I'd ever heard of it was the one miserable year I spent teaching at Parkville High School, which is in a suburb of Baltimore.  I was at a meeting in the beginning of the year when I heard somebody talking about a kid who had what I heard as "ass burgers."  I was shocked because I thought the teacher was talking about the kid's ass, which is of course totally inappropriate, until I gleaned enough from context to realize that she was talking about some supposed disorder.
Of which I'd never heard.
Despite being well-educated and well-read.
And having been in classrooms for three years already.
I soon learned that Parkville had over thirty students diagnosed with Asperger's.  Now, I realize that the air and water in Parkville are not that great; it's a crappy suburb of a crappy city, but still it defies logic that thirty  kids all born within three years of each other in one suburban area are going to have this disorder.
Well, they didn't, because now we've decided that it doesn't really exist.

Eventually, we're going to realize that as a culture we're painting ourselves into a small corner, educationally.  At least, we would if we could find kids who wouldn't whine to their parents about having to paint.  By the time the Karing n Koncerned SpEd folks are done, there will be fewer than ten percent of the population who doesn't have some sort of ostensible learning disability.  And parents will eat it up, because a "disability" absolves them from any parental responsibility.

Has no one figured out that employers do not have Accomodations and Modfications? You show up on time and do your job, or you stop having a job. We have got to stop coddling children who, for the most part, have nothing wrong with them except laziness and indulgent parents.  If they're really that "exceptional," they need to be in an exceptional school where they can draw exceptional bunnies and make exceptional macrame until they're seventy, by which time we will have gone through forty new terms for "exceptional" because that will have become passe and offensive.

I'd say "Will the last person to finish reading this blog please turn off the lights," but I don't have all of your Individualized Educational Plans, so I don't know who has to have a calculator or extra time to flip a goddamn light switch. 

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