My son, Clinton attends an out of district school because public school had not been and could not meet his needs. Clinton is a wonderfully creative, imaginative, sensitive, hard working autistic boy who happens to also have Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. Clinton received all these diagnoses between the ages of five and six. I spent the next five years and the previous three years constantly at odds with teachers, staff, administration and a system that was more than willing to just pass my child along without the appropriate services. There were thousands of emails, hundreds of phone calls, countless meetings and more binders of paperwork than I can count. Thru everything – all the ups, downs, joys, tears, sleepless nights, arguments, meetings, therapy sessions, doctor appointments, paper works, fights with insurances, missed work, the bullying, the judgement – I always believed teachers and parents were on the same team. I was never anti-teacher, but just as there are bad doctors or lawyers – there are bad teachers, but if I say that then I become a vengeful mom out from blood looking for a scapegoat – right? wrong. So wrong.
I recently had a falling out with a friend who is a teacher because I disagreed with a post she shared on social media. I do not remember the exact wording, but it was praising teachers for organizing so quickly to adapt to remote education while simultaneously saying the educational system isn’t broken. I in no way disagreed with the fact that teachers organized quickly for remote learning, but I disagreed that it makes our educational system any less broken and if I am being honest everyone had to adapt during this pandemic, not just teachers. I should add that this friend, though a teacher is not a special education teacher and though she may have special education students in her classroom, she does not teach in a special education classroom. She came at me with her mind made up, completely unwilling to listen, to hear me or my side instead making snarky, sarcastic, personal and very hurtful comments. The truth is no matter what I said or how I said she was not going to listen because she simply did not want to and this is how parents and teachers stay divided and our children stay struggling.
Folks, the system is broken. Schools are underfunded, there are not enough teachers or resources and when things go sideways or someone gets called out – there is no ownership, accountability therefore the system stays broken and our kids stay struggling. We all need to come together to make some noise to make a change – our children’s future depend on it. Personally, I believe this pandemic will inspire a movement of parents taking back the reigns on their children’s education and you will see an increase in home schooling and I pray that movement sends a message that our children need and deserve more.
I will conform to an opinion to save a friendship, I will never go against what I know to be true to simply avoid a difficult discussion nor will I go out of my to be cruel to simply be right. Here are some numbers that explain why.
- 70-80% of people with poor reading skills, are likely dyslexic.
- One in five students, or 15-20% of the population, has a language based learning disability. Dyslexia is the most common of the language based learning disabilities.
- Nearly the same percentage of males and females have dyslexia.
- In minority and high poverty schools, 70-80% of children have inadequate reading skills.
- According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 38% of all fourth grade students are “below basic” reading skills. They are at or below the 40th percentile for their age group.
- Nationwide 20% of the elementary school population is struggling with reading.
- National Center for Education statistics, 5% of all adults are “non-literate”.
- 20-25% of all adults can only read at the lowest level.
- 62% of non readers dropped out of high school.
- 80% of children with an IEP have reading difficulty and 85% of those are Dyslexic.
- 30% of children with Dyslexia also have at least a mild form of ADHD.
- 80% of people associate dyslexia with some form of retardation, this is not true. Einstein was dyslexic and had an estimated IQ of 160.
- Over 40 million American Adults are dyslexic – and only 2 million know it.
- Dyslexics may struggle with organizational skills, planning and prioritizing, keeping time, concentrating with background noise.