Thanks to Brian Kieran for writing an article about the issues surrounding special needs students.
I would like to clarify some points. Readers may have some misconceptions of how teachers feel because of some statements made in the article. First, teachers have never maintained that special needs students do not make positive contributions to their classes. We all know that every child makes important contributions and is a valued member of a class. Most importantly, we have never made the assumption that the special needs students themselves are the “problem.”
Teachers care deeply about their special needs students and about all the students in their classes. The problem lies with the government’s removal of massive amounts of funding by removing limits on the number of special needs students in each class. This translates into situations where teachers are not able to meet the needs of those students in particular. In addition, they do not feel they can do a good job of meeting the needs of all students in some classes.
We agree with Mr. Longridge that this is an extremely complex issue. It will only get more complex as the government has indicated it intends to remove all designations in the future. We hope that by making it a political issue in the upcoming election, the public and the politicians will be more aware of the situation, and this will result in some relief for the long suffering students and teachers who have not been adequately supported over the last decade.
In our presentation to the School Board and to our DPAC, we made it clear that we do not blame our district administration who are doing the best they can within their budget. But we asked the trustees, senior administrators, and parents to join us in taking every possible opportunity to highlight the issue of adequate funding to allow reasonable limits on special needs students in classes, so that every child will have an opportunity to have their needs met.
Campbell River District Teachers’ Association