On Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 5:05 PM, Haim <email@example.com> wrote: > Robert Hansen Posted: Feb 15, 2012 3:40 PM > >>Why you? I guess I am not following why someone at the >>elementary school can't teach algebra? > > This is one of those "how many mistakes can you spot in this picture" kind of puzzle. > > First, we have a system of elementary education in this country wherein teachers are required to teach math but they are not required to know math. It is unlikely that anyone among the permanent teaching staff of an elementary school can teach algebra. Again, in a large, highly variegated country like the U.S., one will find an exception here or there but, on the whole, it is highly unlikely. Subject specialists do not start to make an appearance until middle school, and even there they can be rare. > > Therefore, if a 5th grader is going to be taught algebra, either he gets transported to a middle school (or high school) or, if there are several such students, a specialist will be transported to the elementary school. > > This now brings up the question of the specialist teacher. In many cases, the simple fact of math competence will not qualify our Richard to teach algebra to a 5th grader. Richard may be competent and qualified to teach algebra to a middle school student, he may even be excellent at it, but to teach algebra to an elementary school student, many school districts will require certification in special education or gifted education. > > We now come to the underlying assumption: that the school district is going to teach algebra to a 5th grader. Lottsa luck with that. I remind you that the iron-clad rule of most school districts, sometimes written sometimes unwritten, is: no academic acceleration under any circumstances. > > Furthermore, I point out that Richard has posed a hypothetical. Take a moment to consider the strangeness of that. Why a hypothetical? With all his years of teaching, why does Richard not tell us about some real 5th grader who really got taught algebra in his school district? How was that organized? > > What are the odds that in all the schools in his district, over all the years, not a single 5th grade child was ready, willing, and able to learn algebra? Why does his district not already have a policy for teaching algebra to 5th graders, to say nothing of a program for it? Why, in the year 2012, a hypothetical? > > I think the answer is self-evident. Richard has to talk in hypotheticals because the hypothetical he describes never happened. The rule in his district, like in most districts, is No Academic Acceleration Under Any Circumstances. His scenario has never happened, and never will, and it has nothing to do with transportation costs or on-site instructors or any such thing. > > Haim > Shovel ready? What shovel ready? >
There is one thing hat would driver up the cost, a thing that you always seem to forget: It's called The Law.
The main reason special education costs so much is this: Everything that is done is legally mandated. And the reason it is legally mandated is because some parent of some special student somewhere sometime in the past got a lawyer and sued the hell out of the school district on the claim that the district was not meeting the special needs of that special student and won that lawsuit. And the judge ordered the district to do such and such and spend such and such. And this began new case law. And then another parent did the same thing. And then another. And another. Before long, a very large body of case law got created that never existed before, requiring every last school district in the country to treat every last special student as special enough that they required extra attention and extra spending, not "just another xth grader" who would have been in some later grade had he/she not been special and therefore requiring special attention and special expense.
If you go down the road of not really going all the way in terms of meeting the needs of the gifted and most especially the profoundly gifted according to some parents of these gifted and most especially these profoundly gifted, then you had better be prepared to see that sooner or later one parent after another of gifted and profoundly gifted children who have the resources to hire high-powered lawyers hiring said lawyers, and, well, you should be able to imagine the rest of the story. And so if you are going to treat the gifted and most especially the profoundly gifted as special to even the smallest degree, then you had better be prepared to eventually be given the legal mandate that says that they are no less deserving than those at the opposite end of the giftedness spectrum of being granted the legal status of being special and all that that entails in terms of money spent.
And perhaps you might now know why the districts do not go down that road you want them to go down as much as you want - the lawyers that they retain, unlike you, understand the long-term legal consequences.
(Why is it that some people are tone-deaf with respect to the potential legal fall-out of things in a society where the legal profession exists according to a capitalistic free market where the generation of revenue and profit determines whether or not a lawyer or a legal firm survives?)