January 29, 2018

How corporate school "reform" has hurt students with emotional problems

Nancy Bailey, Bad Ass Teachers- We have a lot of troubled kids. As of 2016, approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.

Schools should be on the front line to assist children and adolescents with mental health difficulties. But corporate school reformers have never focused on helping children with serious problems. On the contrary, they have made problems worse. Here are reasons schools have failed children due to reform. All of the following affect how children feel about themselves:
  • High-stakes testing
  • Elimination of special education services
  • No excuses
  • A nonstop work ethic eliminating recess and play
  • One-size-fits-all standards
  • Removal of art and music
  • Focus on a disingenuous reward system
  • Collection of indiscriminate data
  • Replacing teachers with online instruction
Where are we now when it comes to helping students with emotional/behavioral disabilities?I’ve not seen or heard any statements by [Education Secretary] DeVos referring to the recent 11 school shootings in 23 days done by those with easy access to guns. Three of the shootings involved students as active shooters.

But DeVos and her supporters also don’t say anything substantive about mental health services in schools. Betsy talks little about anything other than school choice and rethinking schools.Yet how do you rethink schools if you don’t consider the emotional/behavioral problems children face today?

...Public schools need a continuum of services for children experiencing emotional/behavioral problems. They also need a whole curriculum that includes classes that are therapeutic, like art, music, and drama. These classes can help students find their niche and keep them from academically falling behind.

Little discussion currently takes place as to how to address the needs of children and teens with emotional/behavioral problems in public schools. This needs to change. Too many students are troubled and not getting the assistance they need and deserve in order to face the challenges life can bring

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