Sunday, November 4, 2007

Disgraceful: BC government fails learning-disabled kids

Shame on the BC Government and Shame on Education Minister Shirley Bond. Vancouver is due to host the 2010 Winter Olympics. This article will describe the disgraceful funding situation in the Province for children with learning disabilities. Think about this when the Olympics is flashing across your screens in 2010. Consider amid the beautiful shots of mountains and forests and ski hills that the situation for learning disabilities in BC is an international disgrace.

No funding for technology whatsoever for children with Written Output Disorder. If your child needs a keyboard in the classroom, they will not fund it. If they live in Ontario they can get one, but not BC. The whole system is a big fudge, which assigns codes to children and then gives certain codes absolutely no support. The government passes the buck to the school board, while providing no funding, and the school board are just as ineffective in their own unique way. Meanwhile the children are abandoned. Disgraceful. No one cares. No possible recourse for parents trying to get Learning Assistance in the school to aide children struggling with writing. It's like they are completely invisible. Little or no assistance for dysgraphia. No occupational therapy treatment in schools. How can you be an Education Minister and so woefully neglect some of our most vulnerable and fragile children. Shame on you Shirley this is an area you have the power to change in the morning.
From the Georgia Straight Jessica Werb's article:

"Watching her kids struggle, McIntyre says, "is devastating".

How did the McIntyre family end up in this predicament? The answer lies in recent history. In 2002, the B.C. government "detargeted" $230 million from special education, allowing school districts full discretion on spending. At the same time, the ministry changed its data reporting so that school districts were no longer required to outline expenditures related to high-incidence (relatively frequent) special-education needs. According to the B.C. Teachers' Federation, many school districts stopped providing extra funding for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia. The consequence, says BCTF first vice-president Susan Lambert, is that "we're just not designating those kids."

....Other startling findings of the survey included that only 18 percent of students were receiving resource-room support, although 44 percent had a severe learning disability. Learning assistance outside the regular-education classroom was being provided for only 28 percent of students. Fifty-nine percent of parents reported a decrease in their child's service levels from the previous year, and 56 percent paid for private support services. Only three percent of parents indicated that the system was fully meeting their needs.

It's time to name and shame these governments and School Boards who collect tax dollars and do next to nothing to support Learning Disabilities and Written Output Disorder. Send your stories and links of disgraceful neglect by local governments, who don't give a toss about these children. Equally send stories of School Boards and governments who have progressive and technological support in place.

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