Special Education Has Changed Over Time

Special education has been assisting students with learning disabilities in the United States education system since the end of World War II. The first push for special education started when a group of parent-organized advocacy groups surfaced. In 1947 one of the first organizations, the American Association on Mental Deficiency, held its first convention. That … Continue reading “Special Education Has Changed Over Time”

Special education has been assisting students with learning disabilities in the United States education system since the end of World War II. The first push for special education started when a group of parent-organized advocacy groups surfaced. In 1947 one of the first organizations, the American Association on Mental Deficiency, held its first convention. That marked a starting point for special education as we know it today.

Started during the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1950s, the United Cerebral Palsy Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and John F. Kennedy’s Panel on Mental Retardation were among an increased amount of advocacy groups for assisted learning programs. This strong push helped bring special education into schools across the country in the 1960’s as school access was established for children with disabilities at state and local levels.

The parent advocacy groups dating back to 1947 laid the ground floor for government legislation being approved by Congress in 1975 that was called the “Education for All Handicapped Children Act” (Public Law 94-142). This act went into effect in October of 1977 and it was the beginning for federal funding of special education in schools nationwide. The act required public schools to offer “free appropriate public education” to students with a wide range of disabilities, including “physical handicaps, mental retardation, speech, vision and language problems, emotional and behavioral problems, and other learning disorders.”

The law from 1977 was extended in 1983 to offer parent training and information centers. Later in 1986 the government started programs targeting youngsters with potential learning disabilities. The Act from 1975 was changed to the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA) in 1990. Since establishment of IDEA more than 6.5 million children and 200,000+ toddlers and infants are being assisted each year.

Special education in schools often unintentionally overlooks a key aspect of why students suffer from learning disabilities. The reasons for common learning disabilities are weak cognitive skills. Studies show that 80% of students enrolled in special education at some level suffer from underlying weak cognitive skills. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities that one needs to successfully learn academic subjects. In more detail cognitive skills are learning skills used to retain information; process, analyze, and store facts and feelings; and create mental pictures, read words, and understand concepts. They are not to be confused with academic skills which would include subjects like math, science, or history.

Proper testing to identify these weak cognitive skills will help quality learning centers put together a plan of action to strengthen them. This sort of training will last a lifetime. By not targeting the cognitive skills a student will struggle for the rest of their life until they are trained properly. It is highly recommended that you get your child tested at a learning training center that provides cognitive testing. Once tested a personal, unique training program can be developed for your child to overcome their learning disability.

Why Communism Collapsed? – Education!

Note how the communism did exactly the opposite of what The First Amendment was designed to do.

The United States adopted the First Amendment of the Constitution on December 15, 1791.

The Bolshevik revolution started the creation of Soviet Union, a country almost ten times the size of the United States and Canada combined, in 1917. That was 126 years after the First Amendment was added to the US Constitution.

Did the Soviets try to learn anything from the so called “New World”, America?

No, a resounding NO!

Communism collapsed on its own weight of an incompetent government that meddled too much into peoples’ life instead of setting them free. All they had to do is learn from America. But that’s not the way communism operated.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights.

The amendment prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion”, impeding the free exercise of religion, infringing on the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

US First Amendment to the Constitution:

1. Prohibits the making of any law “respecting an establishment of religion.”

The founders did not want a state sponsored church or religion.

Communism replaced the church and God with communist ideologist Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. Communism became the church and its leaders the Gods.

The communists established the new sponsored state religion, Communism.

2. Prohibits the making of any law that Prohibits impeding the free exercise of religion.
The founders wanted the religion to be free of government interference.

Communism did not close the churches. It elevated the head of church to a ministerial position and kept all the priests and clergy on government payroll and there were no complains from the clergy.

On the other hand, the public was advised not to attend the church. Planted spies reported on individuals who attended, and these individuals were reprimanded. Within few years, the churches were empty and stayed that way. Only elderly women attended.

3. Prohibits the making of any law that Prohibits infringing on the freedom of speech. This is self explanatory.

The freedom of speech is probably the most difficult topic to explain to the American public, mostly because there is no precedence in the American history. The political correctness speech comes somehow close.

Communism: To critique the government was a criminal offense, even if it was done in private. If one was reported even by one’s child, the secret police would open an interrogation often preceded by the individual’s arrest. All criminal charges were executed in secret. My uncle was arrested as he got off the train. Nobody in our family knew anything about his fate, until two years later when he showed up. All he did was sharing his frustration about the communist government with a stranger in the train while traveling. The stranger was an informant.

Even the legal system, whatever was worth, was so deeply affected that it was impossible to sue any institution (since all belonged to the government and run by loyal communists.) The main reason was: The communist government could never be wrong.

People learned at an early age what could not be said in public. We became diplomats even in private conversations at home within the family.

4. Prohibits the making of any law that Prohibits infringing on the freedom of the press. Freedom of the press is also self explanatory although “fairness doctrine” comes close to what the communism implemented. The press could only attack the enemy of the state. The state was immune.

Communists understood the power of the media even before radio was invented. When the communist government took hold of power, the first thing they did was to control all media organizations. The media became the propaganda machine. It included also arts and movie industry. Each media organization was assigned a very strict censor.

5. Prohibits the making of any law that Prohibits interfering with the right to peaceably assemble. Peaceful assemblies are also self explanatory. It is more difficult to explain how the communists managed to ban all unofficial assemblies.

Communists knew very well the power of assembly, especially if held in secret. They themselves used it quite successfully to gain political power. The government decreed that each assembly and its purpose must be reported. An assembly was defined as three people or more. The Soviets went so far as to build restrooms with open stalls (no doors) to make sure nobody could hide in the privacy of the bathroom. At least that’s what I was told in a visit at an aircraft factory in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

6. Prohibits the making of any law that Prohibits the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. Even this government has been trying to make it very difficult for private entities to sue but it is still possible.

Communism made it impossible for any private individual entity to sue any organization. I am not talking about suing the government. No attorney would dare. It was suicidal. I am talking about suing government owned factories or food processors who sold tainted food. The reason was very simple. They were all run by loyal communist managers, most of them incompetent. The court, controlled by the communist leaders, took the position that the government entities were always right and charges were unsubstantiated. No one could ever win, unless the top manager involved fell out of favor with party bosses and was summarily dismissed.

Test Madness – The Multimillion-Dollar Industry of Educational Testing

Students sit nervously but neatly in rows of old school desks. Hopes are high and so is the pressure Whether it is a group of pre-law majors taking the LSAT Test, or a group of expectant high school seniors taking a college entrance exam, the scene is familiar to millions of students every year.

In addition to becoming the latest group of students to perform the traditional rite of passage of test-taking, they are also part of a multimillion-dollar machine called the educational testing industry.

The market for education is enormous, representing roughly $750 billion annually in the United States alone. It is about 10 percent of the US gross domestic product and growing. It doesn’t matter where you are on the education curve – small child, kindergartener, high school student, college grad or even corporate executive – your life will somehow be touched by educational testing.

Thanks to the tests mandated under No Child Left Behind, states will spend up to $6 billion to implement new testing procedures according to the Government Accounting Office. And that only includes the costs associated with creating, scoring and reporting on the tests. It doesn’t include extra costs for the teachers who have been tapped to prepare students for the new tests, proctors who must administer the tests and the time parents and educators spend. The real costs of new testing could be 15 or even 20 times higher than the GAO’s estimates.

It’s a heavy investment, especially when you consider that many teachers and parents are at best undecided about the results of the testing programs. The focus has shifted from traditional learning methods to pure test preparation as schools battle it out for the bragging rights to the highest median test scores in each district and state.

Parents of stressed-out high school students have argued nationwide that colleges and universities need to apply a more personalized process to admissions rather than ranking their students solely on test scores and grade point averages.

But most universities continue to require the examinations for entrance. They have created a market place where students and their parents must bear the additional financial burdens of test preparation in addition to the costs associated traditional education. While the entrance tests themselves are relatively inexpensive – less than $100 for college-related tests, over $100 for graduate related tests – test preparation is another issue entirely. It isn’t unusual for a student preparing for the LSAT test to pay $5,000 in tutoring.

“This seems to create a bias for rich kids,” says M, the founder of Test Sherpa, a web site devoted to bringing free and affordable test preparation tools for the LSAT Test and SAT Test. “If you can afford tutoring, you will score higher. So those with privilege have a special advantage in testing.” To level the playing field, M has put all of Test Sherpa’s LSAT courses into an easily accessible format on it’s web site and is working on converting content for SAT and GRE as well.

“We still charge for tutoring – we incur a cost for that so we have to charge,” M says. “But we want to get as much information about the LSAT out there as possible.” When other companies are charging several thousand dollars for the same information, what Test Sherpa is attempting is quite laudable.

One thing is for sure — tests are not going away any time soon. Colleges and universities will always face the daunting challenge of assessing student performance and success metrics. And in the meantime, many will continue to profit from the increase in spending on test preparation and administration.