To the Editor,
Re: District hopes to recover lost EA money, July 12.
Children do not develop in reading skills at the same rate. Many children fall one or more years behind in reading skills as early as Grade 2 or 3. By Grade 6 or 7, they are sometimes three-plus years behind in areas of reading.
Intervention, of course, would be more effective at an earlier age if it were available, readily, in the public system. However, repetitive budget cuts and the re-assignment of work to non-teaching tasks, compounds the problems.
For example, a typical special needs or learning assistant teacher in a school spends the first part of the school year assessing and completing paperwork, such as Individual Education Plans (IEPs).
Recently, their job has become more paper-bound because school districts are being audited and monies clawed back from special needs children. This has resulted in the loss of education assistants for some.
As a regular classroom teacher, I’ve seen less and less intervention help over the past 10 years. I’ve adjusted my practices as much as possible to meet individual needs.
However, more rigorous intervention is needed for groups of children. One of the groups is aboriginal children. We often talk the talk around aboriginal children (i.e. goals and special announcements) but we don’t walk the walk.
Actions speak much louder than words. We need to free up special needs or learning assistants to teach and/or intervene, not to spend up to half the year completing paperwork and then telling us that these same children need more help.
It’s a bureaucratic conundrum, not an educational solution. We need to streamline decisions to help children better.