Oct 21, 2018, Holland (MI) Sentinel: Wilson: Too many kids are still struggling in school https://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20181021/wilson-too-many-kids-are-still-struggling-in-school By Ron Wilson, superintendent of Ionia Public Schools …I have entered my fourth decade in public education and have witnessed a great deal of change that gives me pause for concern. When you look at the challenges facing our nation, it is not hard to recognize how our schools and communities have changed. After all, schools are just a mirror image of what is happening in our society. Despite advances in technology, science, medicine and brain dominance theory, we have not been able to improve the standard of living for an increasingly large and growing sector of our population. This is especially true in K-12 education. The number of students who traditionally have had little success in school is growing. I am referring to English learners (students who are not fluent in English), students living in poverty, minority students, and students with disabilities. Meeting student needs has become an ever changing challenge for schools in Ionia and across our nation. … Recently added to the list are children who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences. ACEs are potentially traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being. A recent national survey found that 60 percent of American children have been exposed to violence, crime, or abuse in their homes, schools or communities, and that 40 percent were direct victims of two or more violent acts…. … Childhood trauma can lead to a cascade of social, emotional and academic difficulties and self-medicating behaviors such as substance abuse, smoking and overeating. … A child who experiences a traumatic event may struggle in school. These struggles can be manifested in poor concentration, aggression, anxiety, defiance, fear, isolation, physical complaints and even suicide. Research shows that trauma can undermine a child’s ability to learn, form relationships and function appropriately in the classroom. Ionia Public Schools has partnered with other local agencies to ensure that children who are exposed to violence receive appropriate interventions so they can succeed in school. I believe that our public schools are at a tipping point, and our best hope for returning to “the good old days” rests in our ability to nurture and coach our youngest generation….
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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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