Here's a question related to serving the needs of special education students: Is it better for a truly gifted teacher to be working with kids steadily throughout the day in a less-than-stellar school setting or a so-so instructor who spends less time teaching, but does so in a pristine classroom environment?
Trust your instincts on this one.
Because you're right.
A recent media article on that subject -- what it takes to best promote learning in the realm of special education -- flatly notes that, when it comes to best serving special ed kids, it's far more about the teacher -- and the time he or she spends teaching -- than anything else.
That's not very surprising, is it?
"[S]kill and training matter a lot," says the president of a company hired to audit the special education program of a school district in one state.
Although the findings of that effort are not California-specific, they certainly speak in a universal way to what works best for kids.
"It's not the wisdom of your superintendent, the consultant you hired or the curriculum you build," states the above-cited auditor.
"It's the teacher."
More specifically, it's ample time spent in teacher-student interaction, pure and simple. Shiny classroom innovation, high-tech learning assists, pricey supports and so forth, while commanding value, pale in worth to the throughout-the-day presence of an adequately trained and committed instructor who clocks the hours necessary to instill learning in a special education setting.
This blog often references the meaningful education that every California special ed student is entitled to by law.
It hardly seems arguable that nothing is more meaningful than having a qualified and caring teacher readily available throughout the working day who takes the requisite time to ensure that students are getting the most out of their learning environment.