You say that “[e]very child is unique and teachers and other parents don’t always understand that or get it right.” And yet when teachers are crying out for money to be spent on training and on good provisions for special needs students they are ignored. When the government want to spend money on change principals and lead teachers via the IES proposal and teachers shout out that they don’t want bonuses but in-class support and training, the Minister says we are whining.
So, when teachers don’t get it right, bear in mind, Mr Hughes, that you and your Ministry are part of that problem. .
You say that “When things aren’t working [the Ministry of Education] will own that and work with everyone involved to find solutions.” Really? Because parents and educators instead talk of huge waiting lists to get help, paperwork mountains no money available, and children having their funding removed whenever a slight improvement is seen, only for they to slip back when the support is removed.
You throw in that $530 Million is spent yearly on Special Needs, but so what? How much is spent dealing with children who haven’t had good support? Maybe paying for health problems brought on by the stress of fighting the system for every little thing? Paid out in years to come to those students who weren’t given the best chance and are not unemployed? What is spent is a mask for what it costs to *not*get it right, and to throw it in as if it proves how hard Ministry is trying is an insult.
And it hardly helps when the Minister cares so little for special needs provision that she is happy to close special needs residential schools – sometimes illegally.
Let’s face it, Mr Hughes, you do not just have work to do – you have a complete overhaul to do, after years of neglect of special needs provision. And this neglect is to the detriment of all of our students and is a disgrace.
Start by looking at the lack of good professional development out there for teachers and teacher aides.
Try investigating at the minuscule bit of teacher training that is spent learning about special needs.
Look at the detrimental effect of National Standards on both students and teachers.
Ask parents and teachers how hard it is to get help even for the kids with severe learning disabilities.
Then tell me again you just “have work to do.”
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