Hi Yolanda, I read your article about the necessity of text-to-speech resources in schools and public libraries, and would like to mention ReadSpeaker to you. ReadSpeaker works with a number of educational organizations, as well as LMS providers, to integrate text-to-speech into educational settings. You can read about how ReadSpeaker fits in with UDL here: http://www.readspeaker.com/how-universal-design-for-learning-helps-all-learners/ You can also read an interview with Renee Citlau, an educator at the Anaheim Union High School District, which uses ReadSpeaker, here: http://www.readspeaker.com/text-to-speech-for-education-qa-with-renee-citlau-anaheim-union-high-school-district/ If you would like to mention this on your blog, that would be great! Kind regards, Hannah Hassig ReadSpeaker
All educators should give their very best to assure that their students optimally learn, regardless of a school’s zip code or location, regardless of the race or socioeconomic status of any students, or whether students are mainstream or SpEd. Even the lowest functioning students should receive routine and adequate instruction in all subjects appropriate for their ages or level of progression.
Imagine students being placed in SpEd classes, and they have no learning disabilities. Imagine students who are of age and grade where they should be capable of reading and cannot. And the only problems in both scenarios were/are instructional methods, or the students merely need(ed) additional elaboration or tutoring on certain course material that they were too bashful to request; and their instructors never followed up with something as simple as corrective grading (returning graded papers and rendering, in distinctive ink, correct answers and written examples, where relevant, showing step by step methods of solving problems similar to those missed, and requiring students to correct missed or similar problems for homework).
Imagine a blind, deaf/mute and/or incapacitated student never being taught more than basic information, when they are capable of much more than realized, as their schools never introduced them to braille or sign language, etc. Blind, mute, deaf, or incapacitated, all students can learn, and all students should be taught, the blind indeed via braille, the mute and deaf indeed by sign language, the incapacitated by normal methods, physical therapy, etc., as if recovery were possible, and as if such were the means; and appropriate methods and means of instruction should commence in early childhood, upon initially entry into school.
When an instructor gives anything less than their best they compromise futures, their students,’ their own, those of communities, and that of the world. Mediocrity should never be among the options.
No one but the Lord and Heavenly hosts knows the precise date of Christ’s birth. I do know that December 25th (today) is my cousin Christopher Carl Martin’s birthday, and, ironically, his mother’s name is Mary. So happy birthday, Carl! We do know that Jesus was born likely in Spring, as shepherds were out attending to their sheep during that time.
He was born in a stable and placed in a manger (a trough from which animals eat), as the Lord would have it, as a display of His humility. Angels visited and announced him to the poor, rather than to the kings. Three wise kings (magi), who were astrologers, who’d seen His star (the Star of Bethlehem), traveled a great distance to bring Him gold, frankincense, and myrhh, however.
Though the Lord perhaps purposely concealed the specific date of Christ’s birth for knowing that it would be exploited, as is this day among many, I am yet among the consensus who agrees that we should observe His birth, and dittoing my Godparent’s assertion that Christmas is whenever Christ is born into our lives.
The Coming Kingdom
Christ’s return and establishment of the Lord’s Kingdom (government) here on earth is what truly we celebrate forward today. Despite frequent discussion in the news of unfolding prophetic events in the Middle East, most people seem to have forgotten that God ISreal, or perhaps we’ve grown immune to His miracles, and particularly that of the continuing war between the descendants of the two sons of Abraham, Isaac and Ishmael. It is a war that commenced in Biblical times, and one to which only the Messiah will bring about a genuine resolution [the eschatological Anti-Christ will sign a pseudo seven-year peace treaty between the Israelis and Palestinians, according to Daniel 9:27]. In fact, Christ settles the disputes of all nations.
The Aliyah (predicted by many prophets), “going up,” or migration of the Jewish people from among the nations and to Israel preceding Christ’s return, is occurring at present, and is being facilitated by organizations like The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews.
While the Armageddon campaign and the subsequent return of the Lord occurs as a direct result of the division of the land of Israel, I have yet to hear of any edict expressly stating that the Israelis and Palestinians cannot live together. They are all children of Jewish Abraham.
It is that day, when all Jews and Gentiles live peaceably amongst one another, that we anticipate on this and every day until the prophecy is fulfilled. So it was written. So let it be done.
Merry Christmas & peace in the Middle East, Anno Domini
I was shocked when told by an instructor a while ago that some parents were disinterested in their children learning, or with any normal or accelerated progress, quote unquote, out of concern for continued qualification and receipt of “benefits” for their “learning disabilities.” I was more so shocked that this instructor and school administrators appeared to comply with the parents’ wishes, and even went so far as creating obstacles for me as I endeavored to teach the students.
I was really baffled, as I’d been hired to assist with teaching, and had never heard of parents or schools coercing ignorance for profit. I had a conversation with someone who was less indignant on the issue than I was, and asked that I consider that that is the only means of keeping a roof over some children’s heads.
Though certainly sympathetic of the reasoning of some parents, and determined that those issues too should be addressed, when considering the potential of many of the children I’m referencing, most of whom actually want to learn, my position is unwavering.
Additionally, the cost of ignorance far exceeds investments in sound education. Ignorance costs the government millions of dollars each year, those paid in benefits for “learning disabilities” and benefits paid permanently to some individuals who are crippled primarily by the desire for ready comfort or relief from poverty.
Confining a child with illimitable potential to a life of poverty for ready comfort and convenience is not the answer. When ignorance is encouraged proactively, in fact, it is no less daunting than chattel slavery, which hinged on ignorance.
That is not to downplay the fact that there are those who do have learning disabilities, but to point out that many claims are unfounded and frequently cloak destitution, social abuse/racial discrimination, etc. in some instances.
How about offering incentives, i.e. special monetary bonuses to schools and such bonuses and increased public benefits, housing, learning and employment opportunities to parents of “special” students who demonstrate academic progress that would better incline the students to self-sufficiency and subsequent alleviation of burden on the government…
For quality assurance purposes, student/staff meetings, i.e. disciplinary hearings or meetings of any sort, diaper changing of special education and/or early childhood students, etc. should always be open-door, performed by or in the presence of two or more designees, and/or surveilled to curtail episodes and/or resolve claims of student sexual exploitation or other forms of abuse, for which there should be zero tolerance…
Student changing stations enclosed within medical curtains or screens in relevant students’ classrooms are ideal for incapacitated or convalescent students; any and all SpEd students who are capable of walking and are trainable should be taught to independently use lavatories; in fact, it should be a component of their Individualized Educational Programs (IEPS)…
Student Changing Abnormality Reporting Procedures
When an instructor or paraprofessional observes an abnormality while changing a student reporting the abnormality to an appropriate official or officials should always be followed up by examination by a school nurse and/or by a district-appointed on-call physician, who should be equipped with the authority to conduct the examination and make proper recommendations.
If the abnormality is a condition that has been medically addressed by an external physician or pediatrician the school should require documentation from the doctor stating what the condition is and the prescribed or administered treatment.
ALL instructional curriculums, material (assignments & tests/quizzes) and teaching methods should come from school boards to ascertain that instructors are in compliance with Common Core requirements and are utilizing best teaching techniques and instructional material.
Instructional material and methods should be determined by delegated committees who would produce said material based upon material and methods that have proven most effective. Thus, said material and methods would be gathered from the highest performing instructors.
If an instructor wishes to introduce new instructional material (including scanned documents) for consideration they should be enabled to do so, ideally through their district website. All instructional material should be approved by the relevant school district, which would assure that the material is reasonable and free of errors, before it is introduced to students.
The reason for this is that some instructors are not always in compliance with Common Core, which significantly affects students’ performance, particularly when students are tested on material that they have never been introduced to.
For example, an instructor quizzing/testing 1st and 2nd graders (and SpEd students at that) on contractions, identifying edges and vertices, and reading material or similar that is in active use in 4th grade classes, or that should be introduced no sooner than 3rd grade, all of which actually occurred at a school. A student at the same school was administered an online math test that told her that answers that she’d correctly given were wrong, a matter that I queried by calling the instructor over to witness it. Such things not only confuse, but are discouraging to students.
At the other extreme are certain older students in Special Education classes who are capable of doing the same work as mainstream students, but may have gotten behind for whatever reasons, and are rendered substandard or lax course material that inclines them to failure and/or elongated SpEd classification when they could test out of the courses and into regular classes if they were rendered appropriate course material and instruction.
Assuring that all students are rendered appropriate course material/instruction would help to assure that all students achieve academic success. It would also alleviate burdens on instructors to perform what school boards should delegate to them based upon the very best of proven methods and material.