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Thursday, November 12, 2015

The real problem with the Grasp Academy.

I was referenced in the Times Union’s piece about the grasp academy as being critical and where I am about the allocation of resources, the numbers to me just don’t add up, I however am not critical about the grasp program.  The bottom line is shame on us as a society for ignoring the plight of so many children with dyslexia for so long and kudos to the district for finally taking steps to help them but you know who also needs extra resources? Children who don’t have the same address as the superintendent. My question is less about money but more about why their needs are going unmet.

The superintendent’s words are very telling. He said, “It’s not just about dyslexic children, it’s about creating a learning environment that is tailored to the individual needs of children.”  That sounds great, the thing is he started with his children first and how many other people’s children aren’t having their needs tailored to let alone met? Ask around, the amount is staggering

There is one important point the piece left out that I would like to clarify. ESE students with IEPs do bring in extra money. The students at Mount Herman are profoundly disabled so they bring in a lot more money. Students with just learning disabilities on the other hand do not bring in much more than regular education students. So it is hard to know how much the ESE students at the GRASP academy are bringing and if that accounts for all the extra resources, but let me ask you this. Is the money they do bring in being spent exclusively on them or is it being spent on their regular education peers too? Quite often special education money at comprehensive schools has been funneled away from special education services because the district does sight based management. That’s once the money comes in it can be spent on whoever and whatever. 

Once again I believe the concept of the GRASP academy is noble and the district should even be lauded for implementing it. We just have to make sure we are not robbing Peter to pay Paul and if it is important that the children there have their needs tailored to, then it should be important that all our kids have their needs tailored to.

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