There are certain cruel realities that are seen in schools everyday. Teachers see the multitude of barriers students face from bullying, to poverty, to learning difficulties. Schools offer various methods to help students cope with these issues, many of which are a part of policies like DASA (the Dignity for All Students Act) that offer safe environments, lunch programs to make sure students are fed, and finally, IEPs and special education services to help students with learning disabilities.
But what we’re doing isn’t nearly enough.
One of the areas where we are having too little success is with students with learning disabilities. As a middle school teacher, too frequently I have students with reading skills far below grade level. Many of these students receive special education services, but some have slid through the cracks despite scores of 1 on state exams indicating that they are “far below grade level.” These students — with IEP’s or not — sit beside peers who were taught in the same way, yet their peers progressed while they didn’t.