Note: This week on the blog, parents who have chosen a variety of schooling options will be sharing their educational wishes for 2016.
My wish for schools is that administrators and teachers focus on individual children’s strengths and not their weaknesses.
As an example, let’s look at high school athletes. Say the Department of Education set a minimum requirement that to play any sport, students must be able to swim a hundred yards. For one athlete who already knows how to swim, this would be reasonable. For another, it would simply take a little practice. But for a third student, who may not know how to swim, it could become an obstacle that would discourage the athlete from pursuing any sport.
We have a similar case with our son. He has speech apraxia, a motor speech disorder which makes it difficult for him to speak. Despite this challenge, he is at the top of his science and computer-science classes. He also takes advanced algebra.
Do we want to make it harder for kids to excel because of the challenges they face, or do we want to offer multiple paths so kids can be the best they can be? We immigrated to the United States to be in the land of opportunity, only to find out that for our son, it may be the land of obstacles.
My son acknowledges that his career choices are limited because of his speech challenges. Even some menial jobs that don’t require education would be a struggle. STEM is his strength. At the same time, many claim there is a shortage of students pursuing Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) careers, in fields where my son excels. Continue Reading →