5. “Struggling Students”

Well, what do we have here when we talk about the school population of “struggling students?”

School speech-language pathologists (speech therapists), occupational therapists, psychologists, special education teachers, administrators, physical therapists and reading specialists are involved with these pupils daily. But they call them different things and talk about them differently, and the talk leads to misidentification. Misidentification is national problem.

We can call them hard-to-teach, minority pupils, low-performing, at-risk, special needs, limited English, low-income, and so forth.
Here is how U. S. Secretary of Education Duncan refers to them in 2010:

“States would measure school performance on the basis of progress in getting all students, including groups of students who are members of minority groups, low-income, English learners, and students with disabilities, on track to college- and career-readiness, as well as closing achievement gaps and improving graduation rates for high schools” (Secretary Duncan).

It is clear school administrators, under the pressures of various federal and state mandates, and under the pressures of various public policy vectors, don’t have a clue about what they are talking about (i.e., the experimental underlying population). It follows that if you don’t have clue what you are talking about, it is hard to fix the problem of failing schools in America.

For openers, you wouldn’t even know where to put the “struggling children,” in general education, response to intervention, or special education, and you wouldn’t know who’s in charge. You would probably make a lot of mental mistakes, like misplacing children in the wrong programs. And if everything broke down, you wouldn’t know where and how to look to figure out the problem.

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