Giving Compass’ Take:
• Chalkbeat examines Detroit superintendent Nikolai Vitti’s vision to see more schools in the district catering to kids with special needs. Opponents say that segregating such children from the general population is not in their best interests.
• What is the best approach when it comes to making sure kids with autism and other mental disabilities thrive? Vitti’s argument is that regular schools don’t have the resources or teacher training to provide adequate attention to these children. Would more funding to programs in mainstream schools address that gap?
• Vitti says he will talk to families before enacting vast reforms, and as this Giving Compass about autism details, that’s always a prudent approach.
On the carpet inside a language arts class, three boys quietly play a word game with their teacher. In the same room, on a comfy sofa and chair, two students discuss a poem’s message.
But across the room, where the soft sunlight washes through the windows, one of their classmates sits alone, rocking to and fro in a chair, his hands covering his face.
At some schools, allowing such behavior from a student might come as a surprise. But at Aim High School in Farmington Hills, a private school where almost three out of four students have a formal diagnosis of autism, things are different.
The teacher and students realized he needed to cope with something that was troubling him that day. So they let him be.
If Detroit schools superintendent Nikolai Vitti gets his way, more schools like this one that cater to students with special needs could be coming to Detroit. Though the district already has a number of schools and programs that serve students with disabilities, Vitti has said he’d like to open two or three new specialized schools in 2019. He is considering a school for students diagnosed with dyslexia, one serving students with autism, and potentially a third serving students who are hearing impaired …
Some parents said they welcome the additional options. But Vitti could run into opposition from advocates who believe that segregating students is not in their best interest.
Read the full article about the Detroit school superintendent rethinking special needs schools by Kimberly Hayes Taylor at Chalkbeat.
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