Education needs are the same for students

Posted: Sunday, May 07, 2000

It is unfortunate that the newspaper gives voice to efforts to divide parents of special needs children. Here we are referring to the story about the needs of English as a Second Language (ESL) students, which implies a disparity in funding the needs of gifted students at the expense of ESL students.

First, let us note that the educational needs pointed out in this article are the same for both groups of students - an adequate number of classroom teachers who are trained in delivering a differentiated curriculum and other mechanisms for individualizing instruction to meet students needs. Parents of gifted students have been advocating for years for the availability of such services for gifted children with very limited success. Instead, the school district has ``managed'' the need by declaring fewer students to be ``gifted'' and, therefore, in need of special services.

Before parents rush to condemn the money ``spent'' on gifted education, they should be aware that budget games are at play here. Paper budget allocations mask that few services are provided to ever fewer students by teachers lacking access to specialized training and resources.

Parents should not allow themselves to be pitted against each other. We need to focus on the real, and very similar, educational needs of special students.

John Kern Chairman Extended Learning Parent Advisory Committee



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