Cudahy elementary teacher: “Special Needs doesn’t mean special treatment.”

“Special Needs doesn’t mean special treatment.”

So says a Cudahy elementary school teacher, if right-wing extremist blogger Randy Hollenbeck is to be believed.

If that quote is in fact accurate, I hope that teacher never comes near my son while he’s a student in Cudahy’s school system. A “one size fits all” approach to special needs students – which seems to be what the teacher in question is advocating – isn’t fair to the students, each of whom face different and unique challenges given the nature of their situations.

Mainstreaming may be the answer for some special needs students, but others may need more one-on-one attention and….gasp….some special treatment.

While I’m certainly a supporter of gifted and talented programs, we shouldn’t overlook the fact that we’re setting special needs students up for failure if we don’t treat them as individuals instead of lumping them all together.

What’s more, the Cudahy teacher who said “special needs doesn’t mean special treatment” is clearly ignorant of the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act when it comes to the kind of educations schools must provide to each disabled student.

Some of the criteria specified in various sections of the IDEA statute includes requirements that schools provide each disabled student an education that:

  • Is designed to meet the unique needs of that one student
  • Provides “ …access to the general curriculum to meet the challenging expectations established for all children” (that is, it meets the approximate grade-level standards of the state educational agency)
  • Is provided in accordance with the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as defined in 1414(d)(3).[13]
  • Results in educational benefit to the child.

So according to IDEA, each special needs student is entitled to receive an education designed to meet the unique needs of that student, which means that yes, each special needs student does deserve special treatment.

Just as “normal” students deserve an education that provides them the best opportunities to succeed, so too do special needs students.


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5 thoughts on “Cudahy elementary teacher: “Special Needs doesn’t mean special treatment.”

  1. Could have been taken out of context. The teacher may have meant that special needs students shouldn’t be treated with kid gloves. I had a student with a disability that limited his ability to communicate orally. His parents and the district spent a lot of $ on a device that allowed him to be understood. Despite the fact that he was a college-bound senior, he did very little work, and did not use his technology to ask questions when he didn’t grasp the material. I conferred with his parents and they told me, “Don’t let him get away with anything that you wouldn’t allow in any other student. Give him the grade he deserves.” When he discovered that he wasn’t getting a free pass because of his disability, he bore down and did better. Until we find out what the teacher in question meant, let’s not hastily condemn.

  2. Doc is right to say the quote is likely out of context. Teachers today are bought into mainstreaming AND accommodating students. To that end, this is likely a manufactured controversy. That is, unless the teacher is somehow, against self-interest, a Walker supporter. Then the phrase sounds all too ugly.

  3. Come on now….

    he starts out his post this way….

    …they both read my blog every day. In fact, they told me that most of the educators in Cudahy do and that I am the topic of many of debates and conversations. Good and bad!

    And then you ask if he is to be believed? the simple answer is NO. The more detailed answer is teachers during the school day do not even have the time to fulfill their duties with everything happening much less discuss some “alpha male” yahoo who writes a blog. Anytime something major current event wise happens I call my wife at school and she has no idea, she goes much of the day without even seeing the vast amount of her coworkers.

    Then he concludes with this gem:

    They both concluded by telling me that they are sorry for how some of their fellow teachers have talked or treated me and anyone who takes their personal feelings out of the equation can clearly understand why this whole Act 10 had to happen. They both said they didn’t like it, but they understood it.

    Yes the teachers in this state all need to get together and apologize to the “alpha male” because he is the true victim in all of this. Yes all teachers understand that we “needed” act 10 because its very important to the republicans of Wisconsin that they deliver in 2012 for the republican presidential nominee.

    Once i stopped laughing at the ridiculousness of this, while imagining the “Type “C” Personality” as the Cat in the Hate, holding a “tea party” with thing 1 and thing 2(I mean teacher one and teacher 2) and being the “true authentic leader” led this discussion! he is starting to give Christian Schneider a run for his fantasy money!

  4. The comments from “Cudahy1st” over on Randy Hollenbeck’s blog entry are from Alderman Joe Mikolajczak, who represents Cudahy’s first aldermanic district.

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