Monday, May 05, 2003

In the news

The New York Times has a story about how SARS is affecting families who are planning to adopt children from China. In some cases, American agencies are postponing adoptions, in others China is saying "Don't come." In no cases mentioned in the story are parents wanting to stay away. But a few of those coming home in recent weeks are showing SARS-like symptoms. ... The Bergen Record has a story about how children in special education in New Jersey are failing the state's new pre-high-school-graduation test at an alarming rate. As a parent of two children in special-ed in NJ, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I can't see my kids ever doing well on a test like this, and I'd hate to think that's going to cost them any hope of a high school diploma. On the other hand, I have to laugh at all the hand-wringing and wondering why kids with special needs aren't measuring up, because it reminds me of Child Study Team meetings when my daughter was still in self-contained in which nobody could tell me what grade level she was working at, or even imagine why I would want to know. You can't drift along with no particular urgency or connection to the normal curriculum and then be surprised when the kids don't know as much as their peers. Things have improved in our district in recent years -- the special-ed kids are at least using the same textbooks as the rest of the school -- but there's sure room for improvement ... And finally, when I feel all whiny about something for the next little while, I'm going to think about this guy, and stop.

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