I would usually reserve comment on a major report that’s about to be published until the full report comes out and I’ve had a chance to digest it. But a piece from today’s Toronto Star is so disturbing that I can’t wait.
First, here’s the piece itself: http://bit.ly/KeCFCW
The title itself is depressing: ‘Caps’ mean special education students not getting help, People for Education report says. How, in 2012, are children with special needs in Ontario not only failing to be served by the public school system, but also not even receiving their PROVINCIALLY-MANDATED RIGHT TO BE TESTED?
As the Head of Toronto’s leading high school for students with learning disabilities and learning style differences, I’m very much in the middle of the fray here. When I read something in this piece like: One Ontario board told its principals there could be “no assessments for this school year since they are trying to catch up on last year’s referrals” it infuriates me and, from the comments I’ve received from people even early this morning, I’m not alone.
You need to read this article. The news only gets worse:
People for Education also found the ratio of special education teachers to students has gone up, from 22:1 in 2000 to 36:1 this year in elementary schools. In high schools, the ratio has jumped from 48:1 to the current 69:1.
69 to ONE?
I hope you’ll forgive a bit of school promotion here on behalf of The YMCA Academy. Every one of our teachers is special-education trained, our student-to-teacher ratio is under 5:1, and we’ll keep it that way. Each student at The Academy receives the individualized attention he or she needs and deserves. And no mission-appropriate child is ever turned away from our school for financial reasons. We always find a way to help and make it work for the family.
Imagine that you’re the parent of a special-needs child and you read this report. What would your level of frustration look like?
It’s time for the province to step to the plate and do what’s right here.