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You’ll wonder where the money went

September 22, 2011 by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) at 05:52 AM

(Guest blog by Nancy Wagner)

After 12 days of school my grandson has come home with the following requests for money:

  • An agenda $7.00 - optional, but he had already written in it.
  • Money for pizza day. We sent in $60 for him and his brother. Good for 2 months.
  • Book order forms for recreational reading.
  • Money for sub sandwich lunches. We opted for every other week. Cost per child $31.50 for 9 lunches.
  • School "meet the teacher" night is this week. It is combined with a fun fair fund-raiser. Minimum cost if you take 2 kids and don't eat anything yourself is $20.00.
  • Terry Fox Walk Day is this month. Children are asked to bring their toonies.
  • Finally, class and individual pictures will be taken next week.

These are optional costs, but many parents feel pressure to give/buy. I know this has to be a difficult situation for families where money is tight. In my opinion, this has really gotten out of hand. The really sad part of all this is that parents/ grandparents like me avoid complaining about these money grabs because we don't want any blow-back on our kids.

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Comments

Two hundred dollars, and it is quite the cash grab. Sixty dollars for pizza days of two months?  Subs at a cost of $3.50 each?  I bet the local shops of pizza and subs, would work out a deal with the school, reducing the price to something more reasonable seeing that the costs are picked up by the parents. At least in my area, limited the options and choice on the food items is the norm, and therefore everyone is happy. My major complaint is the hidden costs joining clubs, sport teams and drama. Last year, a drama t-shirt cost me $38, of poor quality. The material was so thin, no doubt after the third washing, it will be put in the rag bin, for washing floors. Not looking forward to paying for the next shirt, and much rather pay for the coach track suit for Special Olympics, at a cost of $60. Excellent quality, and no doubt, will be hanging in my daughter’s closet for the next 20 years, unless she puts on weight in the next 20 years.

And here I complain about the $20 to $30 dollars monthly, on the extras regarding school. As for school pictures, the costs are rising way above, for the same picture quality one can find at a major chain store. Apparently digital pictures raise the price of school pictures, unlike the decreasing retail prices that the major chains charge.

Posted by Nancy on 09/22 at 06:49 AM

Student life in Canadian public schools (likely in many private schools too) has grown to be about being entertained, and about subscribing to every new fad of social engineering.  Lost count of how many “causes” my children were expected to donate towards (it is simply assumed that if a cause is popular, it must be right and it must be worthy of support).  We give aplenty to registered charities of our choice, but we don’t feel obliged to route this through the schools.

School has become a fest of appalling Michael Moore propaganda (imagine that man’s profit from these films!!), pizza days, and bringing in money for yet another ____-a-thon.  I have even received brochures in the take-home materials advertising various businesses that I suspect are owned by parents or by teachers’ families.  Conflict of interest, anyone? Then there are the inaptly-named “Book Fairs”, at which absolute junk abounds, and they give you a funny look when you ask for, at the very least, a Newbery Award winner (what’s that?).

Ugh!  Hold the academics and just send in the money, right?  Like life outside the classroom, it is becoming mainly about junk culture, and how to consume more of this.  Cheque, please.

Posted by A. on 09/22 at 04:40 PM

Just dug into my pocket, and hand over $20 for the Mole Day t-shirt, to celebrate chemistry. At least Mole Day redeems itself, in learning a bit more about the world of chemistry, but really $20 for the third Mole Day shirt.

Posted by Nancy on 09/22 at 05:01 PM

Pun intended?

“Dug” in your pocket for a “Mole” shirt - that’s a good one!  wink

After Ontario’s new law about providing all the materials needed for school, I was a little surprised to see the Back to School supplies lists up in our local stores.  Then I noticed that at the top they were ‘voluntary’ and that any child bringing in the supplies would be ‘donating’ them to the ‘pool’ to be used by all the students.

Posted by Wayne Scott Ng on 09/22 at 05:19 PM

If I saw that, a trip down to the dollar store, and I keep the good stuff at home. I hate sharing. I guess I did not received the required dose of progressive dogma when I went to school. But than again the school I went to, would never pool brand new supplies, and always had extras for students who did not have anything. Always look forward to the first day of school, since I always had some nifty school supplies, since my birthday is so close to school opening. Why, it was the first time and the last time my drawer of my desk was tidy and neat. And I never did book covers either, which was supplied by the school. The only money that was being asked in the elementary years, was a few dollars for the field trips, and supplying the bake goods, for the monthly bake sales, and sometimes weekly at the local church on Saturday morning. Otherwise, as a class each year we collected to give a gift to the teacher, at Christmas time and at the end of the year. The most that was ever collected was 25 cents each, and one could buy something neat at the local five and dime store. A quarter was a big deal back than, because it could buy a bag full of candy at the local candy store. Most of the kids spent a dime at lunch time for their candy vice, and than 15 cents when the dreaded sales tax was put on candy. I still remember the day when the tax went on, and I hated it then, and still do today.

And now, it is far worse than when I went to school.

Posted by Nancy on 09/22 at 05:57 PM

Inflated wages and benefits, layered bureaucracy, and in general over staffing.  This is why there’s no money left for supplies.  Government has become too big and greedy.  They retire with an average of 4.7 times more wealth than the workers in the private sector, which means that we work to pay for our pensions, plus theirs, and therefore the private sector workers have to retire at a later age…

Posted by Bev on 09/23 at 07:06 AM

Just entering this world for the first time from the perspective of a parent. My oldest just entered JK, and the requests cited here are sounding very familiar.

I went to the school parent council meeting on Monday and most of the conversation was about fundraising: pizza days, Lunch Lady, Fun Fair. Yikes.

The pressure to “be included” in these activities might require that I get another job on the side. Or else, I could decide to put my foot down and limit our participation. After all, it is all “optional” now, isn’t it?

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 07:34 AM

“Donating” supplies that a child brings in, to a pool, is just a euphemism for theft of personal property.  Or, you could also call it Communism.  Should a teacher relieve any of my children of their purchased supplies, I will be contacting the Board.  Or will the Board actually do anything? After all, it’s their policy to begin with.  How about the police?

Notice that the much-touted and equally nutty leftist plan for redistribution of wealth never touches their own holdings.  Better to steal supplies from a young student than to, perhaps, expect a donation from the heartily-remunerated executive members of the School Boards that dictate this nonsense.

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 08:40 AM

Actually, the communication that we received from the school was very that any supplies sent from their request would be used by the whole class. It was also an optional “donation”. New to me, and I’ve been teaching for almost 30 years.


My son still has the ability to keep his own supplies to himself (not that he needs anything in JK)

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 08:44 AM

Should have read “the communication that we received from the school was very clear that…”

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 08:54 AM

Stephen, I may be getting the wrong end of the stick here, but if you have been teaching for almost 30 years, would you not have been in the thick of these school practices for a long while now?  You would have been in a better position to observe them than parents, even.

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 11:39 AM

While I am on a roll, let me say that this whole “extra costs” issue can be deceiving on various fronts.  For instance, I was the sort who felt I wanted to thank teachers with a gift at Christmas — we were in the Catholic Board where we all celebrated, and to me this was meant as a sign of appreciation and goodwill.  No one had to twist my arm, and I do not shop at the dollar stores for cheap mugs for the teachers in our lives, let us just say.  As it happened, I picked up all of the teachers’ gifts one year on an Autumn trip away.  Then the week before Christmas break, just after I had wrapped everything, a note came home from our school Principal dictating that no parent or student was to give any teacher a gift that year, but that as a better show of our generosity, we were to donate to her chosen charity, information for which was included with the note, to be sent back to school the next day, signed and with a cheque.  I gagged.  Who in blazes was she to tell us that we could not give a gift to a teacher, but that instead, we had better donate to her favourite cause?  It was insinuated that the gift givers were only rampant consumerists, and that her cause was the most noble avenue by far.  Children who arrived with gifts would therefore be sent back home with these. 

Well, nevermind that the gifts would all have been purchased already by Dec. 22, and that the children knew they were absolutely expected to bring in the charitable donation as well,  So we paid twice that year.  The children were afraid to bring so much as a Christmas card to their teachers, for fear of getting a rebuff from the Principal.  I could not return the gifts, and they were not the type of things that the Men’s Mission or a similar group would use.  Eventually they sold in a garage sale for a song.  And yes, I donated to that forced cause as well, which a few years later was shut down for fraud. 

This horrible sanctimoniousness has got to stop.  Parents decide how to disperse their own monies as far as school extras go, thank you very much.  If they wish to spend on children’s school supplies or on teachers’ gifts, that is absolutely their prerogative, and no one else’s.  If they wish not to spend on extras —same idea.  Who are all of the holier-than-thou types forcing our hand either way?

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 12:05 PM

“Stephen, I may be getting the wrong end of the stick here, but if you have been teaching for almost 30 years, would you not have been in the thick of these school practices for a long while now?’

Precisely. That’s exactly my point. I guess it’s like the adage, “I’m not sure who discovered water, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a fish!”

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 12:45 PM

Sorry, that point didn’t come across well.

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 12:49 PM

No problem!

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 12:50 PM

I happen to have an M.Ed., Stephen, and that did not blind me to the educational/school nonsense.  Quite the contrary.

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 12:51 PM

Moi aussi, and I don’t think that I was blinded to it. In fact, in sitting on parent councils for years as a teacher I often questioned many of the requests that were being made to parents. In particular, I’ve been very concerned about the monies that come and go to feed children in school.

I think what is hitting home is the way things add up…quickly add up.

I think what my experience and education has prepared me to do as a parent is speak confidently and in an informed way about this as my own children enter the system.

And I look forward to that!

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 12:56 PM

You can talk, Stephen, but no one will be listening on the other end.  MY experience has told me that.  I have been in this game a very long time.

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 01:02 PM

Hmmm…so what’s a guy to do?

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 01:06 PM

I agree with A. on this one. Parents should decide without any undue pressure from the peanut gallery. Pressure from other parents higher up the pecking order, is enough pressure within the school’s environment. One year they tried that one, to donate to a charity. It did not work, and Christmas gift exchange was back on the menu for the students at the grade school, the following year. As well as donating food, for free admission to school events, which I do like. The choice between buying a ticket or to provide food. I usually chose food, because I know the food goes to the local community, as well as it does make me feel good for a moment or two, where often charity donations, only a fraction reaches the people that are in need of help.

Posted by Nancy on 09/23 at 01:08 PM

What’s a guy to do?  Invest in the background reading for the real educational issues of our time, Stephen, and then become political.  These are our children’s futures at stake.  This isn’t just a bit of chat from complaining parents who have nothing better to do.  Have you really read through this website?  What graduate program did you take?

I have children on the Autism Spectrum, and I can tell you that they were left out of everyone’s education consideration from day one, apart from a smarmy and over-paid “Special Ed. Director” telling me she could get my 16 yr. old a grocery store job stacking vegetables.  Um-m-m…...he’s a Math and computer genius — do you really think he is better off in the eggplants and green peppers section as opposed to pursuing a PH.D. somewhere like MIT?  How about helping to make THAT happen?

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 01:20 PM

You know, I admit that I haven’t read every single word of this website, but I am here every day, even on the weekends. Most people here know that I don’t always agree with the views of some others here, but some are aware of the fact that I’m very heavily invested in the “real” issues of the day. I use my real name, so it’s pretty easy to find out what I’m reading and what I’m writing about some of these.

I’m an old educator, but a new parent, and I like to think that my views on both roles are being enriched by being both.

I’m in agreement with many of the views on this particular thread but, as I said earlier, the issue of financial “drag” on the home by schools is something on which I’m gaining some new insights.

As a teacher in a low socio-economic area, I’ve always felt uncomfortable with how costly “full participation” (pizza days, school trips, book fairs, etc.) can be. In fact, we were just talking about this very issue earlier in the week in our staff room.

As far as my reading list is concerned?and I only say this because you’ve brought it up?I pay a couple hundred dollars a year to the University so that my access to the current research journals can be maintained. (that’s just our secret though…my better half doesn’t know!!!!)

So, that’s me. Passionate, hopeful, and a little left of center. But I like being here! Really.

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 01:55 PM

I’m pretty serious about my educational involvement too, Stephen (don’t stop with just the sanctioned journals….).  It has been a life-long interest that became even stronger when all of my children were proven to have varying levels of Special Needs, and there was nowhere for them to obtain appropriate education.  And I do mean nowhere.  Anything that anyone might suggest — tried that years and years ago…...doesn’t work.  According to our educational laws, they are entitled, really,  to just a place in the classroom and freedom from overt harm.  Would you accept that for your child?  So my husband and I have cobbled together a long-running educational and remedial program of our own.  If I have led you to believe that too many pizza days are our biggest financial concern, education-wise, I may have neglected to mention self-funded ABA X 3.  I protest the force-feeding of the rest of the extras on principle.

Oh, and I am right of centre —also love being here.  Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 02:13 PM

I have to agree whole heartily with A.
On all points, including this one: ” have children on the Autism Spectrum, and I can tell you that they were left out of everyone?s education consideration from day one, apart from a smarmy and over-paid ?Special Ed. Director? telling me she could get my 16 yr. old a grocery store job stacking vegetables.  Um-m-m?...he?s a Math and computer genius ? do you really think he is better off in the eggplants and green peppers section as opposed to pursuing a PH.D. somewhere like MIT?  How about helping to make THAT happen? “

I had the same experience, telling me that I should accept the limitations of my child, and considered her non-academic material. And this was before she was ever tested, and it took me 3 years to get the testing, a letter from a lawyer plus the family doctor doing his bit giving an earful to the educrats , who think doctors and other outside professionals are not qualified to rendered education decisions. Lot more I can write, but I leave with how about making something happen to the opening of doors, instead of the slamming of doors I and other parents have heard, as they wound their way through the levels of schooling. And by the way, I was also called a liar which really ticked me off, because I refuse to bend to the will of the educrats, over my youngest child.

Lastly, do go off the sanctioned journals and reading material of the public education system.And taste the rest of the world’s research and thoughts on education, learning and the advances being made on the real science. You may not be aware of it, but the research that takes place outside of the public education realm, is sent to the ministries of education, and the knowledge sits on a dusty shelf. None of it is passed down to reach the teachers of the classrooms, according to the two researchers that I spoke to.

As for traveling outside the sanctioned research and articles of the public education system, here is a sample, that I find intriguing concerning the brain research in autistic and dyslexic children.

” Wired: You make the case in your book that the brains of dyslexic people are wired differently. What do you mean by that?

Brock: From our perspective the most interesting data comes from Dr. Manuel Casanova, from the University of Louisville, Kentucky. He has analyzed the brains of thousands of individuals. He?s found that, in the general population, there is a bell-shaped distribution regarding the spacing of the functional processing units in the brain called minicolumns. These bundles of neurons function together as a unit. Some people have tightly packed minicolumns, for others they are spaced widely apart.

This is significant because when the minicolumns are tightly packed, there is very little space between them to send projecting axons to make connections to form larger scale circuits. Instead the connections link many nearby minicolumns which have very similar functions. As a result, you get circuits that process very rapidly and perform very specialized fine-detail functions, like discriminating slight differences between similar cues. But people with this kind of brain tend not to make connections between distant areas of the brain that tend to support higher functions like context, analogy, and significance.

Among individuals with the most tightly packed minicolumns, Dr. Casanova found many who were diagnosed with autism. In contrast, people with broadly spaced minicolumns, at the other end of the scale, tend to create more connections between functionally more diverse parts of the brain, which can help to support very life-like memories of past events, and more complex mental simulations and comparisons. It?s at this end of the spectrum that Casanova tended to find people with dyslexia.”

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/09/dyslexic-advantage/

Posted by Nancy on 09/23 at 04:18 PM

Agreed!

I have had a subscription to Wired for the past several years. I’m thrilled with the new iPad electronic version.

I also read fiction.

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 04:48 PM

Do you know the ramifications related to learning with dyslexics and autism students, concerning the WIred article?  Immediate changes concerning instruction, would be in order, that are more suited for the brains of these children, and customization to play at their strengths, while improving the cognitive weaknesses. Unfortunately, the public education structure is not well suited to act on the research using constructive approaches. What usually happens, is that the kids received the watered-down solution, that does nothing for their weaknesses nor their strengths.

Posted by Nancy on 09/23 at 05:22 PM

My adolescent computer-whiz son cut his teeth on WIRED Magazine;  we renew his subscription every Christmas.

Nancy, even the doctors cannot be fully trusted all of the time to do right by Special Needs children.  Though I took ours to specialists before their first birthdays, because I recognized significant markers, we were consistently shrugged off until they were all very well past the age of cut-off for our provincial Applied Behavioural Analysis Programs (maybe it was planned that way…...).  Do you know that school-age children on the Autism Spectrum are treated as virtually invisible?  They may have an I.Q. of 150 +, but no one wants to acknowledge their needs, period.  “But they must have received their ABA before 6 yrs….... “.  I reply, “well, no, actually, even the correct diagnosis was denied to them until well beyond that age, and was finally issued at our expense through a private practitioner.”  Everyone just stops getting back to us at that point. 

I truly and fully understand your frustration, Nancy.  Your experience sounds v-e-r-y familiar.  Sanctimony, thy name is the education system.  Administrators stand, teetering, on their self-appointed pedestals, and the parents are often treated as dirt under their feet.  And you are right….last school Principal I dealt with was an expert in organizational management, but knew zero about learning.  Told me a great deal.

By the way, I don’t read fiction.  But then again, that’s probably because I am on the Autism Spectrum myself.

Guess I have gotten off-subject here!

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 05:29 PM

See CABAS Schools —Dr. Douglas Greer.  My husband and I tried to establish a CABAS School in Canada several years ago, but there was so little backing that it fizzled.

See Haugland Learning Centers, in Ohio (and the far-thinking $20,000 annual scholarship from that state to every child on the Spectrum).

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 05:34 PM

Speaking of Autism, whatever happened to the much-ballyhooed initiative announced last December for all Ontario Autism families by Premier McGuinty?  Try as I might, I have not heard a word since.  It seems to have simply vanished into thin air! 

Malkin, Doretta —could we start another blog piece on this McGuinty Initiative topic?

Posted by A/ on 09/23 at 05:37 PM

No, I would not say off topic, because there is a lot of waste and time within the public education system, that monies and time could be better spent on. Perhaps the SE parents should be in charge of SE expenditures, but the educrats keeps on repeating the message, that SE parents are satisfied with what is being done for their child.

Interesting approach on the CABAS schools. My child would have thrive in a school with that kind of structure.
http://www.tc.columbia.edu/news/article.htm?id=6100

And Stephen are you referring to research, and articles that are outside of the public education realm fiction?  Well, I got some more fiction, stencils and how they help a child to learn. There is very little within the public education systems that is very useful from a parent’s perspective, concerning children who have learning difficulties. But the time that I spent combing over the research, the science, prove to be really useful and constructive in all the re-teaching at home.

Even today, in grade 11 chemistry it was my kid who was the first one to understand, and solve the complicated chemistry problems, without a solid foundation in symbols. The teacher walk over, shook her head and said out loud, “It figures, leave it to you make the complicated stuff look easy, and the easy stuff, look difficult.”  I even know what will be on the agenda in the next teacher-parent interview, without anyone calling me - symbols and the rest of the easy stuff that is difficult, but never the complicated stuff. This weekend, I be doing a cut and pasted job, have it laminated on every symbol in chemistry. I be relearning chemistry symbols, in order to sort the chemistry symbols in their shapes for a reason, and that is based on the research in symbols and the dyslexic.The same process repeated from time to time, starting with the 4 operation signs in math. And the teachers will thank me, because they can now concentrate on ensuring her and the other students will have the stuff needed to pass the public exam.

And by the way, the teachers at the local high school do not think any of the research is fiction, since they are using much of it, to addressed the weak skills in the 3 Rs.  The stuff that should have been learned in grade school.

Posted by Nancy on 09/23 at 06:20 PM

No, I wasn’t suggesting that any research, well-designed and well-executed is fiction, no matter where it resides. I’ve ready plenty of peer-reviewed research that is not very helpful, and have found great hope in writing that would not be considered “real” research by some.

My fiction comment was merely an effort to assure myself that I am able to relax with some things other than that which takes up most of my bookshelf.

I think that the conversation about how schools are able to respond to students and parents with “special needs” is an important one. It’s becoming clearer to many (finally) that our efforts to be everything to everyone may need to be revisited. I’m not suggesting returning to a system that segregated and “wrote-off” many. I think we’re ready for a different type of conversation.

I’ve encountered so many stories where our children succeeded in spite of what schools provided. They are both disturbing and sobering.

Posted by Stephen Hurley on 09/23 at 06:36 PM

I am glad to see that viewpoint, Stephen, If anything teachers need to speak out more, and faced the educrats with frank discussion. Easy to say, but difficult to do when one’s job is on the line, in a system that has throughly politicized the education of children.

Just last week, I came across an Ontario government article on Autism. I regretted my decision in lifting the cover, because it was more of the same watered-down approaches and a waste of money. I regretted it, because it has upset me to see the same-old same-old approaches and not keeping up with the advances and science in Autism research. But what is worse, all the lost potential of all children, their talents and abilities. No one would have thought in a million years, my child would have a natural aptitude for physics, including me. I have a funny feeling she is on the way to switch forensics for something in the physics field. But the nurturing of physics would have never happened, if I did not re-teach and tutored her at home. Plus teach her how to write a test, and all the rest of the abilities and skills needed to do advance work. And by the way, physics is a field that is populated by the dyslexics, including the ones who have numeracy difficulties. And than the autism adults come next.

And to make it very clear, the funding geared to SE and remediation is being misspent and redirected to other areas of education spending.

Posted by Nancy on 09/23 at 07:06 PM

One of my children was written off in grade one as “very bright, but will never be literate or numerate”.  We went through the useless IPRC process for him, then he was assigned to what turned out to be a holding tank for children in the board with his difficulties.  That was treated as if it were a huge favour they were doing for us. The week before he was to begin, I received a call to say there had been further budget cuts, and “last in, first out”.

I did very extensive research, and settled on the direct instruction/precision teaching approaches for him.  We subsequently took all of our children to the U.S. for an intensive program in this (might be offered in Canada within the next two or three centuries…..we are so far behind in effective educational innovation,  it hurts).  I would cringe to put in writing what the out-of-pocket cost was.  You know what?  After three months of heavy-duty daily remediation using these methods, he was reading and doing Math at basic levels.  He continued to improve, with our help at home.  We homeschooled for a time as well.  It has been nowhere near easy, for years, to keep up this parent-provided remediation.  Now, several years later, he is coming closer to being at grade level in literacy and numeracy skills.  He will pick up a book and read it without too much prompting.  Had we left him to the mercy of the school board and their “Special Education Team”, I have no doubt he would have remained illiterate and innumerate.  It is such a sham.

There are scores and scores of parents out there who have Special Needs children receiving no real benefit from the Special-Ed. provided by the school boards.  These children are lucky if they just tread water in such situations. 

When our son went back to a board school after time away for homeschooling, the Principal acted astonished when we asked if, this time around, anything more would be offered to enhance his skills.  What would he need that for?  Well, he was identified as Special Needs through IPRC.  No, he wasn’t!  Um-m-m, yes he was…..you were even at the rather lengthy meeting yourself, and said, “if there is anything I can do, Mr. & Mrs. Smith….. “.  This Principal did not so much as check our child’s file until well into the year.  I phoned him back sometime later, and he had to gruffly admit this.  So much for doing their best for students.

Posted by A. on 09/23 at 08:54 PM

Speaking of watered-down approaches to Autism remediation, you might have noted (if either of you are anything like me) that all of the formal mouthpiece organizations for persons with this condition content themselves with faddish, feel-good workshops and seminars galore — the information from which could have been picked up in five minutes on the internet, and was never truly useful to begin with. 

These Autism organizations, in the main, work to justify their own existence, and project that Hippie-dippy-huggy persona well-polished over the last 40 years or so in our society;  when we talk about having any serious lasting influence or effect on the lives of Autistics, however…......they fall so far short I wonder whether we should keep funding them at all.  If I get another announcement exhorting me to sign-up my children for one more “socializing” workshop or afternoon session on “how to reach out”, I am going to gag.  If it were so easy to change that a 30-minute talk—with the dreaded and useless group role-plays afterwards — was doing the trick, Autism would not be the serious condition that it is.  The schools and the Autism organizations minimize the entire issue.  The question is, what has caused this condition, and what can we do to really eradicate the misery-inducing aspects of Autism?  A few feel-good workshops may sound very noble (well…..not to me), but this really and truly is not going to make any difference.

As I keep telling anyone who shows an interest, I went through a whole career of elementary and secondary and post-secondary and graduate education — missed exceptionally few days of classes, even —and though I was one of the academic superstars of my firmament, the downside of my Autism Spectrum disorder still haunted me and sucked me into the nether regions.  I spent hundreds of thousands of hours in very social environments, but it had the same lack of effect on social communication capacity as Whole Language has on literacy. 

When will the education and Autism establishments learn to look for and apply what will really make the difference?

Posted by A. on 09/24 at 11:26 AM

A, your blogs make for interesting reads.  Thanks for imparting, like so many others on this blog, so much information. 
It is frustrating and heartbreaking that children are suffering because of woefully inadequate government-run very expensive monopolies (don’t know if the autism organizations would fit into this category).  Personally, I think that they refuse to teach math properly, won’t teach children how to read, and have ‘feel good workshops for autistic and gifted children, because, at the end of the day, it’s way less work.  Many within these systems are caring, hard-working people, however they’re obviously not the majority, therefore the status quo remains.

Posted by Bev on 09/24 at 11:57 AM

Anne asked us to find out what happened to the government money promised to families with autistic children last December. We checked with Elizabeth Witmer who reports that nobody seems to know where the money went.  A lot of the recent money announcements are either old money being reannounced or money that gets used for other purposes, according to her. It may be that the autism money is just pretend money.

Posted by mdare on 10/01 at 06:24 PM

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