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Are children no longer placed in classes by their acheivements?


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MGallardo March 2, 2009


My third graders class have a majority of students that obviously are there to learn, but then there are those 3 or 4 students that interrupt and distract the class constantly. I can't even begin to imagine how they got to the third grade. They do no work nor homework and fail every quiz and test. I don't get it. How can we change this disturbing process?

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michellea March 2, 2009


Schools are required to provide all children regardless of their learning profile with a Free and Appropriate Public Education within the Least Restrictive Environment. The law no longer allows grouping or warehousing kids with learning disabilities outside of the mainstream environment - unless there is a very compelling and legally justifiable reason to do so. This concept of the least restrictive environment came out of the the Supreme Court Ruling: Brown vs The Board of Education where "Separate but equal is inherently unequal". While initially this case was brought to deal with racial segration, it has been extended to protect the rights of disabled children.

I'm not sure if the chidren you are concerned with have learning disabilities, but often times kids that consistently fail have invisible learning disabilities. My hunch is that at least some of these kids may have a LD or two.

That said, students with special needs should have the support in the classroom to attend to their needs and insure that they are able to learn. When there needs are met, they are less apt to distract the class as a whole. But, without sufficient support, they are often square pegs being forced into round holes. They don't fit it.

The best way to change a situatuion that is unmanagable to the teacher and difficult for all students is to encourage school boards to provide the resources for positive learning environments, excellent teaching and adequate resources (monetary, human and otherwise).

I might also suggest that just because a child fails every test it does not mean they do not want to learn. I have found that most children want to be well thought of, want to be successful. An 8 year old expecially does not want to be thought of as dumb or disruptive.

Children that consistently fail most likely need a different teaching approach than is being offered. Again, schools should provide such a learning environment to all students. It is the law.

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healthy11 March 2, 2009


As michella said, it's a federal law that all children are entitled to a public education, and that includes kids with difficulties. It helped me to realize that no child asks to be born with learning issues.
I've also learned, over time, that some kids who appear to distract the class are doing it out of boredom, because they're actually very bright and the class pace is slow; a lot of what's going on in public schools nowadays is "teaching to the NCLB test."
If you want to see the situation in your child's school improved, then have the Board place more emphasis on proper teacher training, so ALL children are given better learning opportunities in a supportive environment.

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TeacherParent March 2, 2009


The composition of classes in any school can be very idiosyncratic to the school. If you ask how classes are put together, you'll often get a vague answer and you'll always make a teacher uncomfortable for having asked. It's safer to say in these modern times that classes are no longer constructed around ability level - classes are often heterogeneous or mixed having both children of strong abilities and children of weaker skills and many children falling in between the two.
Few schools take all or many of the more disruptive students and put them together in one class - unless of course those disruptive students have been 'identified' or tested and found to have a disorder - some schools do have self-contained special education classes.
But most disruptive students don't fit neatly into any category and don't qualify for special education. More common now is to distribute the children who have a tendency to be disruptive over several classrooms or sometimes to put them with a teacher who has a particular skill for dealing with disruptive children.

As to why they're not held back, there's a wealth of research to show holding a child back makes no difference in their acquisition of skills or certainly their behavior. As yet sadly there's no research that tells us what to do - only what not to do - and that is to not hold them back.
So you'll find third graders who don't have third grade skills. Perhaps in the better world for a start, there would be after school support for these children where they could get the homework done that they don't get done at home.
Change comes slowly to the places that are schools - if enough parents would become dissatisfied with how the school's classes are made up and then would speak up - perhaps then it would be possible for a principal to construct a class around and only for those students whose skills and motivation are strong.

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MGallardo March 2, 2009


Thank you for that very informative response. ;o)

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MGallardo March 2, 2009


I'm sure that all these children do need a different approach and I'm not saying that they don't deserve the opportunity given to everyone else I merely think that based on their ability and I'm not talking about disabled children, but the disruptive ones... I truly believe that these children should be placed in a separate and smaller classroom with teachers and staff that are better trained to teach and deal with such individuals. Things as they are, are not fair to the children who are trying to learn and to the teachers who are truly trying to teach. These constant disruptions in class are frustrating to both and should not be tolerated, public school or not!

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Cinderbell March 2, 2009


Unfortunately, as these younger disruptive students gets older, their antics increase as well, as well as, many become hostile in classrooms. The students who want to learn, can't learn much at all, which is sad.

I do wonder what the future holds for these children who have no motivation to learn in younger years as they generally have the same motivation in later years.

Some do have learning disabilities that are never identified but some simply come from homes that do not enforce many rules, then send them to school where they still do not abide by any rules because they don't "have to".

Every class has students who are disruptive everyday....I wish there was an easy answer as to what schools could and should do with those types who could care less about education, it would make teaching and learning better for everyone.

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MagnetMom March 2, 2009


I am very torn on this issue. My daughter has had students each year with a variety of diagnoses and accompanying accommodations--a helper (shadow), partial day in a contained class, extra support in specific classes.

While in most cases, I love how the program works and how it teaches my daughter to think outside of herself, there are other instances where I feel like the entire class can be disrupted by a single child. I like that my daughter (as well as everyone else in the class) can help others by repeating directions, encouraging another student to stay on task, and that she learns even better because she has to explain what she just learned to someone else. She learns that some people learn in different ways.

I'm one of the parents who actually doesn't prefer gifted clustering, because I don't find it very "real world" and I believe there is more to school than textbook learning.

On the other hand, I don't like that a child with a shadow continues to distract until he is sent to the principal, or that he blurts out very hurtful things. I know it's stressful for my daughter because I see her when I help in the class and I hear about it when she comes home on other days. I can see it flavors how the other children view the one child, and that can't be good for his self-esteem.

In addition, it takes an incredibly talented teacher to manage 20 kids at different levels, and our district is talking about adding 3-5 more children per class. At that point, I don't know how I'll feel.

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ConcernedMom27 April 1, 2009


Well are you the teacher of this class, if not how do you know that these students fail everything and dont listen. If you are the teacher Im sure you know that you can contact your school based support team AKA IEP team to see if they can be evaluated and placed maybe in a smaller setting

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ConcernedMom27 April 1, 2009


As parents we can only try to reach out to other parents and help and offer advice when it comes to our kids.

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MGallardo April 1, 2009


No, I am not the teacher, but a parent who has a very good relation with the teachers and staff in my sons school... These students that I speak of, walk in and out of their classroom whenever they want. When the teacher addresses them, they curse her out... Securiy is called several times a day to pick these boys out of the hallways and staircase. These are 3rd graders I'm talking about. They've gotten suspended several times already, nothing works!! They do no homework... The list goes on, and on... One of these students , I know personally and know that he's always been disruptive and disrespectful. If it wasn't for the no child left behind, he would have gotten left back from kindergarten. It's sad, but at the same time, why should students like my son, who want to learn, have to suffer and deal with this nonsense that seems to get worst by the day??



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