by Mohamed Ali
In reading the article Devos Needs to Focus on Mental Health in School Aged Children, I feel that the education of our children is the base investment for the future of our country. In order for children to maximize their educational experience, the state must first accommodate to the unique make up of every child. The newly appointed Secretary of Education reminds us that millions of children in the United States suffer from disorders that are detrimental to their mental health, behavioral health and emotional health.
These disorders have a direct negative impact to the growth of our youth. I truly believe in all facets of this article from the notion that mental health or learning disorders leads to dropping out of school, to the fact that emotional and behavioral problems can lead to disciplinary measures in schools, suspension, and or retention. Most importantly, these impacts can lead to a life of unemployment, underemployment, and or worse imprisonment.
This article talks about the statistics and the possible future, of our future leaders yet it doesn’t discuss what steps or measures that will be taken to make it happen. We as a country need to focus on these children to make our country “great again”. These children need advocacy in their community starting with their parents. We have to teach these parents what rights they have about their child’s education. Only few schools have the resources or programs to accommodate for these debilitating disorders. Without informing these parents we are not advocating for these children. Hopefully Devos takes her newly acquired position seriously. She will need to look at it from the eyes of teachers, parents, and health therapist to advocate for our children. Not from the national bank account.
Thanks for sharing this editorial. I agree, but again think it’s quite a complex issue. While all children are entitled to an education that fits their specific needs, I do not think that schools should provide mental health services. I know that several “community schools” in Philadelphia are starting to integrate such services (among others) into the schools. I think this is a good idea, but only if the funding of these services is external to regular education funding. Otherwise, schools will continue to add additional responsibilities to those that they have already started to add to their plates (before- and after-school care, feeding children, health services, etc.). I don’t know what the answer is, but it seems that adding more “to dos” to public schools, though well intentioned, will not ultimately improve student performance.
I agree that securing an equal education to all children is always going to have issues. IDEA (Individual with Disabilities Education Act) is a flimsy scotch tape holding everything together. I worked with a retired school teacher who talked of the absurdity of having to administer the state tests to young adults with sever learning differences who were not going to be progressing in school to a higher education or working at jobs that required them to do so. Likewise, children/young adults sometimes are also flagged for behavioral differences, and are pulled into a different learning atmosphere. Ideally, they will be rehabilitated and reintegrated in mainstream schools, but if they haven’t been held to these academic standards then they will just be shuffled back to classes that won’t engage them and continue a disconnect with learning and their belief in themselves to thrive in an educational environment. In both extremes we have youth who would not do well in a mainstream class room and are put in a better alternative. However, the mission currently stops there and there needs to be more effort in making sure that the measurable outcomes for those classrooms reflects realistic and functional goals for everyone, no matter what an “appropriate” education is deemed to be.
Mental health and learning disorders, specifically the former is normally not something that is wholly understood or at the very least has a stigma attached to it. I grew up in a school where there were psychologists and social workers on staff as well as significant assistance for children with learning disorders, through collab classes, just special needs classes and individual aides for students. However I have also seen many times were I have seen parents have to advocate for the services that the children might need in the school, whether its speech or reading therapy as well. However I also know that my school is not the standard in concern to public education and many schools do not have all the same amenities in concern to the mental health and the learning disorders of their students. It starts with educating parents, teachers and the general public alike, and providing funding to these schools in order for the children to be able to achieve academically and emotionally, In all essence I agree, that the mental health issues and learning disorders should be on the new Secretary of Educations agenda for all students.
I agree. Since I work with children that have all disabilities, disorders, backgrounds and the like, mental health and welfare of students should definitely be an important focus for the new Secretary of Education. I recently worked with a child that was taught to advocate for herself, but is that really necessary? Shouldn’t she be working with educators and people associated with her welfare to help make the best decisions possible for her?
Every child is different. Different needs are required to be met. I’m not really sure if our new Secretary is adequately prepared to handle the throws that are coming her way. The mental health of America’s youth is important and most definitely should not be neglected.
Commenting months into the new administration, it is hard to say that they have changed the minds of those that were worried. I think it is important to focus on education for everyone. We need to start advocating for students and you are right, parents should be first, but the community in general needs to come together. Education is an important thing for a child because that is mostly where they learn to communicate and learn to become adults. I think the new administration needs to come out soon with their stance on education and what changes will be made.