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Maybe private schools get better results because they teach better….

March 07, 2012 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 09:24 AM

Critics of school choice often argue that the reason private schools get better results is that they pick and choose their students, excluding those with disabilities. Now a State of Wisconsin study suggests that, "while the percentage of students in the voucher schools with disabilities is substantially lower than the disability rate in the public schools, it is at least four times higher than public officials have claimed." As well, the study points out that public schools have an incentive to identify students as disabled (because they receive additional funding for disabled students), while private schools have no such incentive. Indeed, many private schools are relucant to identify their students as disabled - because of the danger that the children will be stigmatized. This means that private schools may actually have an even higher percentage of students with special needs.

This was similar to the findings of a 2004 Canadian study, which found that at least 13% of Ontario schools serve exceptional students.

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192,000 students were identified by an IPRC as exceptional and an additional 96,600 students were provided with special education programs and services, even though they were not formally identified as exceptional.
If all boards used provincial criteria for their IPRCs and if all data were reported independently, special education funding could be allocated more consistently and more equitably while maintaining local flexibility and decision-making.
Recommendation 6-18: The province should review its special education programs and the results they have achieved, including both ?section? programs for students in care, custody or treatment, and hospital boards, with the aim of ensuring that funding is being used effectively to improve student outcomes.

Posted by Medhat on 03/07 at 10:31 AM

As rapidly as special education funding has risen, many school boards report ?a deficit? in this area. It should be noted that to a large extent such deficits are artificial.ARTIFICIAL ???

Posted by Medhat on 03/07 at 10:34 AM

To add to Medhat, most private schools will accept the mild to moderate LD and ADHD students, without a second thought.

A lot of parents in the U.S. with the mild to moderate LD and ADHD take advantage of the voucher, and send their kids to the private school, for a more traditional curriculum, and some old-fashioned grammar and spelling lessons. Most of the mild to moderate LD and ADHD students, are in need of effective curriculum and instruction. If the students are not advancing in their studies, than the parents will go back into the public system, or just go private all together, and send their kids to a LD school.

Most kids like my child, don’t need the bells and whistles, but an education that includes a firm foundation. Which brings me back to the costs, as the funding increases, the students with disabilities are still no better off in terms of academic standing, than there were 25 years ago. Funding should follow the children with disabilities, and let the parents decide.

On another note, and connected somewhat is a Toronto Star article, on a Toronto school hold Saturday morning classes.

” And in a high-need, low-income neighborhood where test scores sit well below average, a group of teachers has launched this monthly ?Weekend Warriors? group to give students extra help cracking the educational code. They practice writing at ?level 3 or 4? ? the equivalent of a B; the standard set by Queen?s Park ? by using vivid language, quoting from the text and weaving their own experience into their answers.”—-weekend-warriors-battle-for-higher-eqao-test-scores

Teaching the students the stuff that is needed to pass a test. Wonderful concept, learning all about the terms such as inferencing and evaluate or irony and how to look for it in a text. It is what private schools do well in, and parents no longer have to take this task on at home, or as I did. Imagine, some at the board actually told me I was giving my child an unfair advantage.

Sure is paying off now, since my child is now in senior high school, but really this is the kind of stuff that should be taught in the course of the school day, and not allow students to learn it on there own, or pick it up through some mysterious process of osmosis.

Of course Kidder is against the Weekend Warriors, to which I really like the name.

“.Annie Kidder of the advocacy group People For Education worries that focusing on test scores can narrow the scope of education to the point where broader interests get squeezed out.

?One never wants to condemn helping kids overcome an achievement gap, but it might be more enriching overall to have a Saturday morning book club, or reading club, or even health and phys. ed. club. If we focus on kids? ability on standardized tests, do we miss seeing the forest for the trees??

But Brookview teachers Darlene Jones and Nancy Toor and teaching coach Cathy Pollock believe that Weekend Warriors simply helps level the playing field for children whose parents often cannot help at home.”

That what I thought too, when I was tutoring my child at home, I was levelling the playing field for my child, as the teachers rightly pointed out.

I bet the Weekend Warriors, feel the same way as my child did, when tests were returned with a 70 or higher on it. And it does motivate students to work harder, and as well to constantly improve their grades.

Posted by Nancy on 03/07 at 06:11 PM

Kidder’s against anything except making the right choices for her own kids….because she has the means to do so.

Kidder should mind her own business and leave the Weekend Warriors alone.

Why would a parent, any parent be against helping kids this way, UNLESS this is not really about the testing as much as it is about those teachers who are going over and beyond their call of duty to give up their Saturdays to, wait for it, help students. Teachers like this stand out.

Good for these teachers and it’s time Kidder retired.

Posted by Dan Sing on 03/08 at 10:07 AM

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