A Call for a Year of Advocacy

Dec 22, 2013 by

advocacyMichael F. Shaughnessy –

A few years back, on one of the Seinfeld episodes, George Costanza, in a fit of euphoria declares that ” This is Going to be the Summer of George “. I forget what transpired, what preceded it or what followed it, but I am going to steal a page from George and Jerry and the show and try to address what I believe is a needed issue in education- and that issue is advocacy.

So, by the power invested in me by those rights and privileges and emoluments that they talk about at those graduation ceremonies and that are on those graduation pieces of paper, I hereby declare this The Year of Advocacy.

I believe, in this age of standardized high stakes testing, that someone has to advocate for the student with autism that is being forced to sit through several days of testing.

I believe that in this age of massed canned instruction that someone has to advocate for the student who has a totally different learning style or who may be left handed or who may have some other odd impediment that has not as yet been diagnosed.

I would hope that some teacher, some guidance counselor, some special educator would stand up for the student with intellectual deficiency, or Down’s Syndrome, or scoliosis that is being handed those number 2 lead pencils to fill in those bubbles.

I would think common sense would dictate that the child who is totally blind since birth should not have to have those tests read to them,. Surely there has got to be a better way to assess that child’s annual yearly progress.

Surely the child who is recovering from an open or closed head injury should not be subjected to any more headaches than they already have experiences due to their traumatic brain injury.

Surely the child who is totally deaf should be exempt from the arduous process of a week of those tests ( whatever each state calls them ).

And the child who is depressed over a death or a divorce or some other event should not have a number 2 lead pencil forced into their hands when they are attempting to grieve over the death of a loved one or relative.

This should be a year of advocacy wherein teachers stand up and say, ” this is simply inappropriate and unreasonable.

This should be a year of advocacy wherein parents stand up and say, ” I think we need to have an attorney present who specializes in school law “.

This should be a year of advocacy wherein teachers band together and discuss some of the strangest, oddest , most bizarre things that they have seen; and brainstorm ways to cope with these idiosyncratic happenings.

This should be a year of sanity rather than insanity in terms of what is transpiring in some states.

Perhaps this could also be a year of advocacy in terms of getting some kids just a bit more assistance with learning, and getting some teachers just a bit more assistance in terms of the various duties that are required of them.

A New Year’s Resolution- to speak up for the kids a bit more- Sounds good to me!

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1 Comment

  1. We should close down all teacher “training” and give the common sense of teachers a chance.
    With reading failure at 1 in 4 or worse, the teacher training MUST BE WRONG.
    Why has the British Dyslexia Assn confined its campaign to INTERvention after disaster, when PREvention would have spared millions the misery of reading failure, at no cost? Yes all children are different, but what they need to learn, for reading, is the same lot of digraphs, the same vocabulary!
    A writing road to reading works for everyone, any age, dyslexic or not.
    My “Step by Step” free at http://www.phonics4free.org is one such. It works for beginners and strugglers. Try it and see!