“When people are placed in positions slightly above what they expect, they are apt to excel.”

~Richard Branson

I saw the following student work displayed in a 9th grade science class:

I waited for the teacher to turn around before I snapped the pic.  I didn’t want her to know that seeing this caused me have an ulcer for the day.  This is exactly what I taught my first graders when we were learning about the same topic.  Something is horribly wrong here!

Lately, a running theme in my work has been observing urban educators with low expectations of their students.  Many times, I don’t even think they realize they are doing it.  I have been a part of multiple conversations recently where people use the label “SPED kids” or Special Ed kids”.  This terminology makes my skin crawl.  We have to look at the child first.  People can say it’s all the same thing, but is it?  I would rather hear “student with special needs” or a “student with a disability”.  I heard a school administrator call a student: “the downs kid” – REALLY???  How about calling a student by name?  Or saying the child with Down’s Syndrome? We must stop using these identifiers in this manner.

How can we better model and teach the language and practice of inclusion and tolerance? How do we change the discourse?

Comments welcome


School of One

EDspired is about advocacy and being inspired to make change.  EDspired had the pleasure of interviewing Dorothy Jones of Washington, DC about her experience as a parent who transitioned one of her three children from attending public schools to homeschooling.

Set the stage for us; share your journey of how you became a homeschooler?

When we left The School for Arts in Learning (SAIL PCS) a few years back we enrolled Zari in our neighborhood school.  The school worked for my two other children following the transition from SAIL, but not for Zari.  No efforts made to individualize instruction or make accommodations for her learning style.  After years of struggling and feeling ignored by the staff and the special education team, I decided not to allow Zari to lose the love of learning and curiosity about life.  We looked at other schools and weren’t impressed.  So, this fall, we started homeschooling.

What have been the greatest challenges you have faced?

So far, time management has been the biggest challenge.  They give you a rough schedule, but because I know the areas she needs more help in, we spend more time in those areas.

What are the successes thus far?

Zari loves school again!  She hasn’t had a meltdown since we started the online program.  She does still get frustrated, but she handles it better.  Math has always been a weak point for her and she is really excited about the online math course.  The online class is what I believe sold her on the program.  She is a techy and says she feels like she is in college.  Soon she will be conducting science experiments.  She didn’t have a lab at her former school.

How do you think this has impacted her school career?

She has choices on what she wants to tackle first.  Her attitude towards learning  and her confidence have improved.  In school, she didn’t actively participate and now she is comfortable talking and sharing what she thinks and what she knows.

Would you recommend homeschooling to others?  Why or why not? 

Yes.  If you have a child that is struggling socially or academically, homeschooling is a good option.  I am a believer in the public school system as I was in public schools my entire school career.  I think the social aspect of school is important, unless your child is floundering or withdrawn.

What are the top 3 things to consider before homeschooling?

  1. How would your child react to not physically being around other students?
  2. Do you have the time to dedicate to being your child’s teacher?  You have to teach a minimum of five hours a day.  It’s not something you can take lightly.
  3. Do you have patience?

How can we find out more about you and all the other projects you are working on?

Check out:

Urban Offspring on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/urbanMama74

Classroom 5612:  http://www.classroom5612.blogspot.com/