Oct 6, 2018, Hamilton (ON) Spectator: ‘It’s alarming’: Zero grade six students meet provincial standard at one Hamilton public school https://www.thespec.com/news-story/8949996--it-s-alarming-zero-grade-six-students-meet-provincial-standard-at-one-hamilton-public-school/ No Grade 6 student at R.L. Hyslop Elementary School had the math skills required by the province last school year…. “Without question, when we see a number like that, it’s alarming,” said Peter Sovran, associate director of learning services for the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB)…. It is worth noting that when the standardized test was written, R.L. Hyslop had the highest percentage of Grade 6 students with special education needs, excluding gifted, in all of Hamilton including the public, Catholic and French boards. Just under half — 43 per cent — of the Grade 6 class had been formally identified at the small school on Lake Avenue South. But it’s not yet known how, or if, special needs affected the test results. The identification encompasses a broad range of students who have difficulty learning for a wide-variety of reasons. Each has an independent educational plan which is a customized system of support that spells out what services and accommodations will be provided. “This puts a great strain on schools,” said Judith Bishop, former longtime HWDSB trustee and current education advocate. “To be on an independent educational plan, you need to be at least two years behind, usually.”… An analysis by The Spectator of the school-by-school results released by EQAO in September, raises questions about the role special needs plays in standardized testing results. Tecumseh was the Burlington school with the lowest math score and the highest special needs with nearly-two-thirds of the grade 6 class being formally identified. St. Brigid was the only Catholic school to appear among the worst 10 math results in Hamilton with a mere five per cent of students having the skills expected by the province at the end of Grade 6. But it also had the third highest number of identified students in the board with 30 per cent of the Grade 6 class having special needs. The Catholic school with the highest special needs was St. Patrick on East Avenue South in central Hamilton with 33 per cent of the Grade 6 class identified. It had the second worst math scores in the board with 17 per cent of Grade 6 students meeting the standard. “We’re very very cautious not to compare individual schools and in particularly individual classrooms,” Pat Daly, chair of the HWCDSB, said about drawing conclusions from the results. “Demographics, school size, class size and all of those kinds of things are factors.” It’s not clear whether special needs are part of the puzzle of what is going wrong in math from grades 4 to 6 in Hamilton and across the province as revealed in Spectator investigations over the years. …
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Children today are noticeably different from previous generations, and the proof is in the news coverage we see every day. This site shows you what’s happening in schools around the world. Children are increasingly disabled and chronically ill, and the education system has to accommodate them. Things we've long associated with autism, like sensory issues, repetitive behaviors, anxiety and lack of social skills, are now problems affecting mainstream students. Blame is predictably placed on bad parenting (otherwise known as trauma from home).
Addressing mental health needs is as important as academics for modern educators. This is an unrecognized disaster. The stories here are about children who can’t learn or behave like children have always been expected to. What childhood has become is a chilling portent for the future of mankind.
Anne Dachel, Media editor, Age of Autism
(John Dachel, Tech. assist.)
What will happen in another 4 years? How can we go on like this? This is a national (and international) problem of monumental proportions. We have an entire new class of children who cannot be accommodated by the system: many are manifestly neurologically impaired. Meanwhile, the government and the medical profession sleep on regardless.
UK media editor, Age of Autism
The generation of American children born after 1990 are arguably the sickest generation in the history of our country.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It seemed to me that with rising autism prevalence, you’d also see rising autism costs to society, and it turns out, the costs are catastrophic.
They calculated that in 2015 autism cost the United States $268 billion and they projected that if autism continues at its current rate, we’re looking at one trillion dollars a year in autism costs by 2025, so within five years.
Toby Rogers, PhD, Political economist
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