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Letters to the Editor

Classes first

May 12, 2008

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To the editor:

I would like to respond to the article discussing how IEPs (individualized education plans) cannot cover sports participation. I am a teacher and coach and have had many athletes who fit this criteria. I will steadfastly support the fact that students who are engaged in school activities are typically more successful in school. However, I do not feel that KSHSAA should allow students who do not meet the academic requirements to participate in competition.

Passing five classes per semester is not a strict academic requirement. Even if the student has emotional or behavioral issues, they should have the necessary modifications included in their IEP so that they can succeed academically. I am not sure that KSHSAA relaxing their standards for special needs students is the answer. If the student is unable to pass five classes each semester, possibly the IEP is not doing its intended job.

What about graduation? If students do not pass their required courses, they will not graduate. As a teacher, I am much more concerned about the student graduating from high school than whether they can compete in athletics. Both are important, and the student, family and school need to work together to help the young person achieve academic success so they are able to participate and compete in the sports they enjoy.

Matt Jones,

Lawrence

Comments

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

I see viewpoints from both sides on this question.

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

It can be so discouraging for kids with IEPS to work hard, and then miss class trips, and extras because they are missing one assignment, even though they work hard every day, or grades too low to go, even though all assignments were completed. It upsets kids and can ruin their confidence and enthusiasm. Why work hard if the work that you did as an individual wasn't valued based on your abilities, but on others who didn't have a learning disability?

Gina Bailey-Carbaugh 6 years, 7 months ago

Mom, if the teacher is not following the IEP, then the teacher needs to answer why not. I have a child with special needs and have attended many IEP meetings. The teachers are responsible to follow the IEP and if not, I want to know why. If there is another solution, then that needs to be put into the IEP. I understand sometimes, modifications and recommendations get made in a meeting that the teacher may not be present to give an opinion on. But, if there is a problem then the teacher needs to address it as soon as possible. What frustrates me, is that no one seems complelled to say anything until the next round of parent-teacher conferences. But, back to Mr. Jones' letter, I agree.

mom_of_three 6 years, 7 months ago

"If the student is unable to pass five classes each semester, possibly the IEP is not doing its intended job."It's also possible that the teachers and/or the school is not doing it's entire job. Teachers don't always have time to follow the IEP and Integrated studies teachers don't always get the feedback /grades from the teachers as it's needed. As a parent of two students with IEP;s, I know they are not a complete solution. That would be more teachers and individualized attention for some of these students to accomplish their goals.

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