Sunday, March 11, 2007

"Special" Education

The following is from an article in the Greenwood Commonwealth:

"The Greenwood City Council has given final approval for New Delta Preparatory School's groundbreaking. The school, sponsored by the Viking Foundation, will be built on 8 acres of land off Sgt. John A. Pittman Drive. It will offer courses for seventh- through 12th-grade students, said Bill Crump, Viking Range Corp.'s director of governmental affairs.

Crump said the school will appeal to students "who aspire to academic excellence and community leadership."We'll have a very rigorous specialized curriculum, which will include community service projects," he said. "The students will be encouraged to attain the highest academic and professional success that they can." Accreditation will come through New Summit School.

Dr. Nancy Boyll, the executive director of New Summit School, will serve as administrator at New Delta. Crump said it will aim to "serve a more racially diverse population than the public schools and the academy schools in the Leflore County area. The racial makeup, we anticipate, will be reflective of the racial makeup of the community."New Delta will offer honors as well as advanced placement courses. Scholarships to the school, both full and partial, will be made available based upon a student's need, Crump said.

Initially, 10 to 15 teachers will work at the school. The initial student population has been set at between 100 and 150, he said. The school will offer specialized courses, including satellite courses from various colleges and universities, Crump said. The school shouldn't diminish other schools in the community, Crump said. Rather, "this will provide another alternative for people living in our community or coming into our community," he said.

The school will interview both parents and students to determine if the proper attitude exists in the home."Parents have to push that child and encourage that child. It's very important for the parents to be on board," he said.

The council unanimously approved the special exception for development of the school. Crump said preliminary work at the site will begin this week."

Anonymous writer questions...

"The whole idea of a new private school in the area is puzzling, especially considering that Greenwood's Pillow Academy is an above-average school and has the local private market cornered, with no parochial high school in sight."

"What is troubling is the new school's "accreditation" coming from the New Summit School in the Jackson area. A quick look at that school's webpage ( states the following, in only the second paragraph on the home page:

"New Summit School also qualifies as a special purpose school; and in partnership with the Mississippi Department of Mental Health is certified to offer counseling services to students, and licensed to operate a Day Treatment Program."

Excuse me? The Department of Mental Health? Let's all RUSH to enroll our young college preppers there! (I don't think so.) Mr. Carl's money is misdirected this time.

The unfortunate truth is that since the passage of Public Law 94-142 in the early '70's, there is nothing "special" about special education. All children could benefit from smaller classes, individualized instruction, and yes, even counseling to deal with the pressures of today's world.

The true "disability" that students face these days is the disability of their teachers to meet their individual educational needs. Let face facts, not everyone's mother looked like June Cleaver!

Children enter school with a myriad of social problems ranging from drug addition and sexual abuse to emotional neglect and abandonment.

As a medical professional, if I had to align education with any one other public entity it would definitely be a mental health organization. Today's teachers can't teach because of all the emotional "baggage" that kids bring with them into the classroom.

Maybe Mr. Carl is breaking ground on an educational frontier in which all children have a true opportunity to succeed, regardless of their socio-economic status.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Forthright's response is a sad commentary on the status of our civilization. I'm glad that my kids didn't require the help of a therapist to make it through school.