Diane\'s Blog

Genevieve Szafran

Dear Dr. Ravitch,

I just finished reading an article about you and wanted to thank you for speaking up for teachers! Yes, most of us are weary of the public disdain for our profession.

I have been a special educator for over thirty years, and my profession has changed drastically. We special educators now find ourselves inundated with responsibilities other than teaching. Our days are filled with assessing our students, writing reports, and writing lengthy IEPs. We attend professional development workshops that focus not on the latest research about children with learning disabilities, and how to reach them, but on the correct writing of IEPs. In addition we are repeatedly reminded of the lawsuits that might result if we do not cross our t’s and dot our i’s properly! We find that little time is left to actually plan creatively for what we love to do…  that is, to teach!

I am wondering if you have focused at all on the very unique plight of special educators. We are losing young special educators by the droves. Most of them burn out within five years.

I too am concerned with the state of education in this country. As you said, successful people don’t necessarily do well on standardized tests, and there are so many ways to be successful and productive in life. I think there are many young people who graduate from high school feeling like failures because they don’t fit the mold, and having never discovered their own unique talents.

If there is anything that I can do to help reform education I would love to participate.