I'm sitting in yet another meeting for staff development on the common core curriculum. This meeting is for Special Ed Teachers, the Special Ed supervisor for the district is talking about "hotspots" – "And one of the "hotspots" as you know, is that our students must tell us where they are academically and how they intend to move to the next level." I raised my eyebrows and made a face in her direction. "What?" she questioned, "We're all professionals here, and do you have something to add?" "Not really" I replied, "No, I insist, you obviously have something on your mind and we'd like to hear it." "Look" I stated firmly, "I don't know many adults who can tell you where they are academically and how they expect to get to the next level, no less children, no less special needs children! Now, the kids can tell you what they like to do and what they don't like to do, but to ask them to present their academic portfolio on the spot is simply not appropriate. The professionals in the classroom must discern and administer efficient methodologies to teach the kids and get them to the next levels; this should not be a concern of the students." We're seated in a big square table; the other teachers are all within my sight. As I look around seeking support, most remain mute not daring to question the status quo, only one strong dynamic teacher nods her head feverishly in agreement and asserts "Exactly!" "Well," maintains the supervisor, "This is what is coming down the pipe all our kids have to be 'proactive learners'." "Yes, well," I quipped, "it's simply not appropriate." "'Proactive learners'" I rolled my eyes thinking, "These people love to use phrases that have snappy ideals with little meaning in the classroom."It's amazing how fast the jargon turns over in public education. I've been paying close attention for years, and every time I turn around a whole new...hotspot...pops up. Now the new hotspot is HOTSPOTS, for god's sake.
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that special-ed parents are not going to take kindly to the notion that their kids will now be required to proactively take charge of their own education.