Sunday, June 1, 2014

Window-dressing at my daughter C.'s school

As often happens, I returned home fuming today after dropping C. off at school. No, it wasn't only the usual scene of  children left unfastened and unattended in the sports room equipment. I won't bore you with that today - beyond this snapshot below from a few days ago.

Here was today's irritant. I remembered to remind C.'s teacher of my request to get instruction from the new vision expert. I first made that request several months ago, shortly after the expert began working at the school in September 2013. I had followed up twice to no avail.

The expert works at the school for a whole six hours a week. The parents were never informed of her existence. But I recognized her from an old salsa class we both attended once upon a time and asked what she was doing there. When I requested her help with C. - who though cortically blind definitely has residual vision - she advised me to approach the teacher. I pointed out that C.'s education will be terminated in two years so there's no time to lose, right?

Today the teacher finally approached the expert. Yes, I know, we were going round in circles. Why should the teacher ask her what I already had. But, as parents everywhere know, challenging the teacher is never a good idea.

In any case, this was the response:
"I've been hired for six hours a week to advise teachers of the four youngest classes on vision-promoting environments. If the school decides  to increase my hours of employment, then I would be glad to speak to you."
Again, a child with special needs left alone, unsupervised,
in the school's sports room
This clears up one question. Why only six hours/week to care for over 100 children? Not because the expert was unavailable for longer hours. Six was probably the lowest number that she was willing to accept. As I wrote here two weeks ago, the new seating expert also puts in only six hours/week.

With this brazen window-dressing, the school has bought - for a pittance - the right to boast to the government, to donors and to parents that its staff includes these services. In truth only a small minority of the students are benefiting. Isn't there a law against this?

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