Rules and Reason
Rules are a good thing. They give structure to life and keep us all in our proper lanes. Rules let us know what to expect and give guidance on how to behave. Rules are fine and make life more predictable, except when they make no sense at all and we insist on keeping them and holding people accountable for them.
Our school is a school for children with learning challenges. We serve 16 of the 24 school jurisdictions in the State of Maryland. We also serve the District of Columbia schools which include DC public schools and numerous charter schools that are within the political confines of the District of Columbia.
Our school does a graduate survey ever year. We check to see how many graduates are working, in post-secondary education or both. We have been doing this for over 20 years. We go back to our very first graduating class. Every single year, well over 90% of our graduates are working, in post-secondary education or both. These results are quoted not only to show off but to show that we know what we are doing in preparing our students for life after our school.
The Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) - even though there is no state, has decided to limit referrals because we refuse to offer a course in the history of the District of Columbia and two-years of a foreign language. We have never done this because it is the view of the school that the time of a student with disabilities would be better spent on improving English language skills, learning to write a coherent letter or email, deciphering credit applications, understanding the latest and greatest news and other important life skills that we each need to survive. Our graduate survey supports the notion that our kids are successful post-high school. We have a solid minority of our grads who have completed 4-year college degrees. Even the rep who came to visit us acknowledged that her two years of high school foreign language had been of no use to her whatsoever.
In past years, the District of Columbia representative has allowed its students to earn a Maryland private school diploma that is accredited by the Maryland State Board of Education and does not require DC history or the foreign language.
Now there is a new “sheriff “ in town. He is not willing to take the path less travelled regardless of the benefit to DC students. He insists, in spite of documentary evidence to the contrary, that DC reps never allowed this work-around in the past.
Rules are rules, he says; to which I respond, reason is reason and there is no cure for stupid.