Nationally, we do a lot of hand wringing about how to “reimagine” education and fix a thousand individual problems in the system. Yet, most of our imaginings are timid, within budget, and designed to preserve the meritocracy, or designed for profit.
All while there are options that are possible but bolder and way more functional. Try this:
If class sizes are capped at 17 and every class has a paired team of teachers both dually certified in SpEd and GenEd in every classroom, we can truly meet the needs of advanced, median, and unique needs students.
I know this because I have taught SpEd and GenEd and Advanced Academics in a variety of configurations. So, I have seen how this can work.
And with the $$$ from oil subsidies, or war funding, or tax breaks to billionaires, we can afford it -no sweat. We are spending well more unnecessary funds on any one of those items than it would take to educate our children with truly effective world-class services.
As often as possible, we can pair the teachers with one each from different ethnicities or genders– modeling collaborative work and giving more students a teacher who looks like them.
Some added advantages of this model are:
- No students’ needs fall through the cracks
- We always meet the number of hours needed and can tailor and meet students’ goals for SpEd services.
- We gain the focus on both enrichment and remediation for all students
- We have the flexibility to do meaningful rather than 4-choice assessment
- We have the staff time to stay in close partnership with parents
- And last but not least, we open the door to dramatically increasing minority teacher numbers systematically.
All we need to do is change a few accreditation docs, reconfigure class size formulas, open some new teacher training options, and take back the money taken from our communities.
Let’s fix this.