Over the last few days, it has been interesting to watch the reaction to MLA Kent Hehr's Private Members Bill regarding funding to private schools here in Alberta.
I will admit, I was shocked when I first moved to Alberta from Ontario, at the amount of funding and the different kinds of school options offered here. However, now that I have worked in a wide variety of schools and with special needs programs IN public schools: I get it.
Alberta has the highest drop out rate in the country - and my guess is that it is not just jobs in the oil patch that draw students out of school. We are not serving the needs of those students. I know curriculum has been updated blah, blah, blah. I know that we are on this mysterious path to inclusion. but we are trying to create a system for a student that either doesn't exist OR are so rare, its a miracle we get students as far as we do.
Let's develop a system that serves the many, not the middle of the road. That allows for diverse NEEDS & interests to be served. Let's create a system that prides itself on individualized education, well educated, prepared and flexible teachers for all classrooms. Let's focus on a system that bends without compromising quality and gives teachers the latitude AND resources they need to reach the majority, not just the middle of the pack.
Until we are ready to overhaul the system, leave the funding where it is - at least someone out there is trying to meet the needs of special needs kids, the ones that fall through the public system and into my office.