Disabled children excluded from education

 By Bill Hicks        ­                            

 Team work: A pilot project in Zambia has brought more disabled pupils into school

One in three of the children around the world who do not have access to primary education have a disability, suggests research from the charity Sightsavers.

The charity, which works to reduce blindness, says at least 23 million disabled children are missing out on education.

Such lack of access represents a huge barrier to achieving the millennium goal of primary education for all children by 2015.

Sunit Bagree, co-author of a report from Sightsavers, argues that there is no real chance of the world meeting that target while so many disabled children are excluded.

“I think the issue of disability has been under-reported historically,” he says. “You can say there was a lack of attention to this aspect.”

‘Punishment’

The report says that disabled children are denied education because of a lack of physical access and specialist facilities.

There are also cultural attitudes, such as shame, fear and embarrassment on the part of their families as well as teachers and other pupils.

Mr Bagree says such reactions to disability are “most prevalent in the poorest rural areas, where traditional and religious beliefs can make people believe that having a disabled child is a form of punishment, related to the concept of sin”.

In some developing countries, the proportion of disabled children receiving an education can be as low as 1-3%.

A survey of data from nine developing countries shows a pattern of disabled children being more likely to miss out on education – with this increased likelihood of exclusion ranging from 15% in Mozambique to 59% in Indonesia.

 Manisha, from Rajasthan, India, was blind from birth. An outreach project enrolled her in a local school

Children in households with disabled parents are also more likely to miss out on education.

The report does offer some hope, with examples of children whose lives have been transformed by educational initiatives.

Based in Ghana, Sightsavers’ social inclusion adviser for Africa, Gertrude Fefoame, is a powerful advocate for inclusive education.

“At the age of 10, my eyesight was getting worse, so I reported I could not read,” she says.

“But nothing was done. By 14, I couldn’t even read with glasses, I was in a mainstream school, I had no support. As far as my teachers were concerned, you were either blind or sighted, there was no in-between.”

She considers herself one of the lucky ones – she had been in school, she was bright, and she had friends who she could persuade to read for her.

At 18 she was admitted to a blind school to learn Braille – at which point her friends’ attitudes changed: “It was all, ‘Oh! Poor Gertie!’ and it really hit me hard, it was when I first realised that something was terribly wrong.”

She went on to become a special needs teacher – and she is “highly optimistic” that the necessary changes in attitude are gradually happening.

ZAMBIA OPENS SCHOOL DOORS

Mukonde wants to be a journalist. The 14-year-old pupil is one of 15 blind children at Mano Basic School in Mufulira District in Zambia.

In this pilot project, supported by the ministry of education, sighted and visually impaired children study alongside each other.

Miriam Nyendwa, the boarding mistress at the school, says the children with sight problems are not struggling in lessons.

Out of the 15 visually impaired students, seven are among the top 10 in their classes.

In future she wants disabled children across the developing world to be able to enjoy what she was denied – a full education in a normal school, with specialised help available.

That is the model which she has been helping to pilot in Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Kenya – where the old special schools become resource centres and special educational needs experts become teachers who can move between schools.

‘Neglected’

Mr Bagree maintains that this model benefits not just the disabled children, but all pupils, as well as teachers and the wider community. “It’s also more cost effective in terms of running the schools.”

In Zambia, 15 schools are taking part in an inclusive education initiative, where teachers are being trained by four special needs co-ordinators.

Mr Bagree says that the Zambian government, having seen positive results, is now putting money into inclusion. And worries about disabled children slowing everyone else down have been scotched.

The failure to provide an education for disabled children is also worrying human rights groups.

Human Rights Watch is concerned that the United Nations and aid agencies are not doing enough to ensure that funding to widen access education is reaching disabled children.

MISSING OUT ON SCHOOL

  • Fewer than 10% of disabled children in Africa attend primary school
  • In India, 74% of people with physical impairments are unemployed
  • The proportion of disabled children getting any education is only 1-3% in some developing countries
  • Fees for special schools can be too expensive – and there will be prejudices about whether it is “worth” teaching disabled children

Source: Sightsavers

The human rights group published a report about Nepal earlier this year which claimed that “tens of thousand of children with disabilities… are being shut out from or neglected by the school system”.

It reported that parents can’t cope, teachers are not trained to deal with disabilities, and schools are often under-equipped and inaccessible.

It gave examples of exclusion, isolation and great hardship in getting access to school, and disabled pupils being shunned by pupils and staff.

There is more than a personal cost from this.

Failure to educate such a large part of the population impacts on the health and wealth of developing nations, preserving the cycle of poverty, says Sightsavers.

It cites a World Bank finding that by not educating disabled people the economies of sub-Saharan Africa are effectively losing $60bn (£38bn) in potential GDP each year.

There is also a push to raise the issue further up the political agenda. Earlier this month, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, speaking in Qatar, admitted that many of the millennium development goals would be missed – but he called for a concerted international effort to achieve the promise on universal primary education. Sightsavers now wants to look beyond these targets to ensure that disability and inclusion are deeply embedded in the next wave of the international community’s goals for widening access to education

Teacher charged with masturbating while teaching class

Paul A. LaDuke

 SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (WLS) – A teacher at a northwest suburban Christian school masturbated behind a podium while teaching his class, according to police, who said he may have been doing it for the last 10 years.

Schaumburg police and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Special Prosecution/Mass Molestation Unit have charged Paul A. LaDuke, 75, of 1204 Court-H in Hanover Park with sexual exploitation of a child, a Class 4 felony, a release from police said.

LaDuke was charged for a Friday incident at Schaumburg Christian School at 200 N. Roselle Rd. in Schaumburg, where he is a teacher. A student reported to a teacher that they saw LaDuke engaged in inappropriate lewd conduct while seated at his podium, according to police.

The teacher notified the school administration, which initiated an internal investigation that resulted in Laduke’s termination on Friday afternoon, the release said. School officials then contacted Schaumburg police on Monday.

Police interviewed several who said that on Friday, while seated behind his podium, LaDuke unzipped and lowered his pants, then and masturbated while students were present in the classroom.

Investigators believe this behavior occurred multiple times per year over the course of 10 years or longer while LaDuke was teaching at Schaumburg Christian.

While there is no evidence that any students were inappropriately touched or physically harmed, any current or former students who may have information are asked to call police at (847) 882-3534.

LaDuke is scheduled for a bond hearing Wednesday in Rolling Meadows.

LaDuke taught 9th grade geometry honors and alegbra; 10th grade algebra II; and 11th and 12th grade algebra II and trigonemtry-pre calculus, according to the school’s website

Congress pushes back on healthier school lunches

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 … …

 WASHINGTON (AP) — Who needs leafy greens and carrots when pizza and french fries will do?

In an effort many 9-year-olds will cheer, Congress wants pizza and french fries to stay on school lunch lines and is fighting the Obama administration’s efforts to take unhealthy foods out of schools.

The final version of a spending bill released late Monday would unravel school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year. These include limiting the use of potatoes on the lunch line, putting new restrictions on sodium and boosting the use of whole grains. The legislation would block or delay all of those efforts.

The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable, as it is now. USDA had wanted to only count a half-cup of tomato paste or more as a vegetable, and a serving of pizza has less than that.

Nutritionists say the whole effort is reminiscent of the Reagan administration’s much-ridiculed attempt 30 years ago to classify ketchup as a vegetable to cut costs. This time around, food companies that produce frozen pizzas for schools, the salt industry and potato growers requested the changes and lobbied Congress.

School meals that are subsidized by the federal government must include a certain amount of vegetables, and USDA’s proposal could have pushed pizza-makers and potato growers out of the school lunch business.

Piling on to the companies’ opposition, some conservatives argue that the federal government shouldn’t tell children what to eat. In a summary of the bill, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee said the changes would “prevent overly burdensome and costly regulations and …provide greater flexibility for local school districts to improve the nutritional quality of meals.”

School districts have said some of the USDA proposals go too far and cost too much when budgets are extremely tight. Schools have long taken broad instructions from the government on what they can serve in the federally subsidized meals that are given free or at reduced price to low-income children. But some schools have balked at government attempts to tell them exactly what foods they can’t serve.

Reacting to that criticism, House Republicans had urged USDA to rewrite the standards in a bill passed in June. The Senate last month voted to block the potato limits in its version, with opposition to the restrictions led by potato-growing states. Neither version of the bill included the latest provisions on tomato paste, sodium or whole grains; House and Senate negotiators added those in the last two weeks as they put finishing touches on the legislation.

The school lunch proposal is based on 2009 recommendations by the Institute of Medicine, the health arm of the National Academy of Sciences. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said they are necessary to reduce childhood obesity and future health care costs.

USDA spokeswoman Courtney Rowe said Tuesday that the department will continue its efforts to make lunches healthier.

“While it’s unfortunate that some members of Congress continue to put special interests ahead of the health of America’s children, USDA remains committed to practical, science-based standards for school meals,” she said in a statement.

Nutrition advocate Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said Congress’s proposed changes will keep schools from serving a wider array of vegetables. Children already get enough pizza and potatoes, she says. It also would slow efforts to make pizzas — a longtime standby on school lunch lines — healthier, with whole grain crusts and lower sodium levels.

“They are making sure that two of the biggest problems in the school lunch program, pizza and french fries, are untouched,” she said.

A group of retired generals advocating for healthier school lunches also criticized the spending bill. The group, called Mission: Readiness, has called poor nutrition in school lunches a national security issue because obesity is the leading medical disqualifier for military service.

“We are outraged that Congress is seriously considering language that would effectively categorize pizza as a vegetable in the school lunch program,” Amy Dawson Taggart, the director of the group, said in a letter to lawmakers before the final bill was released. “It doesn’t take an advanced degree in nutrition to call this a national disgrace.”

Specifically, the bill would:

— Block the Agriculture Department from limiting starchy vegetables, including corn and peas, to two servings a week. The rule was intended to cut down on french fries, which many schools serve daily.

— Allow USDA to count two tablespoons of tomato paste as a vegetable, as it does now. The department had attempted to require that only a half-cup of tomato paste could be considered a vegetable. Federally subsidized lunches must have a certain number of vegetables to be served.

— Require further study on long-term sodium reduction requirements set forth by the USDA guidelines.

— Require USDA to define “whole grains” before they regulate them. The USDA rules require schools to use more whole grains.

Food companies who have fought the USDA standards say they were too strict and neglected the nutrients that potatoes, other starchy vegetables and tomato paste do offer.

“This agreement ensures that nutrient-rich vegetables such as potatoes, corn and peas will remain part of a balanced, healthy diet in federally funded school meals and recognizes the significant amounts of potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C provided by tomato paste, ensuring that students may continue to enjoy healthy meals such as pizza and pasta,” said Kraig Naasz, president of the American Frozen Food Institute.

The school lunch provisions are part of a final House-Senate compromise on a $182 billion measure that would fund the day-to-day operations of the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. Both the House and the Senate are expected to vote on the bill this week and send it to President Barack Obama

Juvenile morbed Obesity Pandemic makes Cholesterol Testing For Children A Part of Everyday life

 

 

 Up until recently, testing a child’s cholesterol levels was very unusual and only done if there were obvious signs that testing was warranted or if there was a family history of early high cholesterol.

 But due to the alarming increase in overweight and obese children in America, conditions like type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol are being tested for in young patients.

The American Academy of Pediatrics is endorsing new recommendations by a panel that was subsidized by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The panel has suggested that all children have their cholesterol levels tested starting between the ages of nine and 11 years.

Children with a family history of heart disease at an early age are encouraged to get tested much younger — some as soon as age two. Unlike with adults, tests for children would not necessitate fasting.

According to an EmpowHER article, an earlier study “published in the journal Pediatrics, doesn’t advocate for or against screening, which some experts say is unwarranted and might do more harm than good. But it does find that fasting produced only minuscule differences in cholesterol test results compared to tests done when kids had recently eaten a meal.

“When compared to the burden and cost of return visits, and increased anxiety about returning for a blood draw, I think the difference is negligible,” Dr. Michael Steiner, who worked on the study, told Reuters Health. “It’s very hard for kids to fast.”

One in five American children have abnormal levels of cholesterol in their bodies — much of it attributed to obesity. One in every three children is either overweight or obese.

The best way to avoid juvenile health problems like this is a healthy diet and regular exercise. Key to this are the parents. Pediatricians are encouraged to talk to parents about their children’s diets and the level of daily activity they get. Medication (like statins) is the last resort, with most doctors believing they should only be necessary in extreme cases.

You have heard of The Blind Needing the Blind well here’s A Monster leading a Monster!

We all heard The Disgusting  Interview  with Sandusky, the one  where he was asked was he sexually attracted to boys and he said yes he showered naked,  and yes he may have inadvertently let his genitals graze them in the shower, and yes he might have touched their naked leg but the disgusting pig claims he Is not a paedophile!

Well folks we have all asked what kind of scum bag lawyer takes a guy like this as a client? I’ll tell you what kind ANOTHER PAEDOPHILE! Sandusky’s lawyer   when he was 49 was representing a high school girl who was 16 and facing minor criminal charges ,he slept with her had a relationship with her groomed her and married her. She was evidently legal by 2 months, but apart from sleeping with a client an extreme breach of ethics she was a child. In Pennsylvania the age of consent is 16, so yes it might have been legal by just 60 days. So 61 days ago he would have been charged with statutory  rape and  spent the rest of his life in jail. But morally it was disgusting, and for a man of almost 50 to lust after a 16 year old and have repeated sexual encounters is paedophilia. So when Monsters need help it seems there are other monsters waiting to get them off, after all when they do it makes it easier for the day their arrested with someone’s baby.

Barriers Keep Many Disabled New Yorkers Trapped in Poverty

Gotham Gazette: Social Networking Print Story

 

 

reposted from a story by Jilllian Jonas Put up by CIDNY
Nov 2011

Photo by Bonnie Natko

As dire as the economic situation is for New Yorkers overall, the challenges confronting those with disabilities in this economic climate loom as truly staggering. Almost one third — 32 percent — of all disabled New Yorkers live in poverty.

The median household income for these disabled city residents is $30,555, compared to about $58,072 for the working-age population without disabilities. This income gap of $27,517 is substantially greater than the divide in the United States and somewhat larger than that for New York state as a whole.

No single reason accounts for the difficulties facing disabled New Yorkers. Some of it, of course, arises from the overall high rates of poverty and homelessness in New York City, a crisis the Bloomberg administration by many accounts has been slow to address.

Joel Berg, executive director of the New York City Coalition Against Hungerand a frequent administration critic, said the data has finally captured the mayor’s attention. However, Berg wrote, his administration still doesn’t quite get it.

Human Resources commissioner John Doar “continues to make the argument that NYC is doing a fine job fighting poverty because we still have lower overall poverty rates than Detroit of Philadelphia,” Berg complained in an email. “I am surprised he doesn’t brag that we are doing better than Burkina Faso and North Korea.”

As poverty increases, advocates say people with disabilities face a series of obstacles — starting with shortcomings in special education and continuing on to problems in health insurance, job placement programs and the very government offices designed to address their needs. Those with disabilities face systemic discrimination and barriers within both the public and private sectors. Together, all of this traps many disabled New Yorkers in a sequence of poverty.

The Statistical Story

Whatever the reasons for the distress, the numbers portray a serious crisis. Over the summer, the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York released a report analyzing the state of people with disabilities in New York 20 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We are more likely to be hungry and impoverished than our non-disabled counterparts and rely on food and health safety-net programs for survival,” it said. “The problem of disability-based disparities in access and outcomes has consequences for our state and city that have not been fully explored or addressed.”

Its findings include:

  • Among people living in poverty, the gap between people with disabilities and those without disabilities is 18 percentage points — roughly 32 percent versus 13.6 percent, respectively.
  • People with disabilities are about twice as likely to rely on food stamps than their non-disabled counterparts.
  • Median yearly earnings of people with disabilities in New York lag more than $25,000 behind those of other New Yorkers. The 441,598 working-aged (18 to 64) individuals with disabilities in the city also are less likely to have jobs than residents without disabilities.

An Achievement Gap

Educational disparities play a key role in the sequence of poverty. People with disabilities are less likely to graduate high school than other New Yorkers, with only about 30 percent completing high school in four years. “If the education gap is greater, then poverty is greater,” Hunter College professor and center board member John O’Neill said, adding if people with disabilities “can acquire better education, prospects for earning over a lifetime are better like [with] everyone else.”

Despite many efforts to place students in the least restrictive possible settings, many disabled students remain isolated from other students. Maggie Moroff, coordinator of the ARISE Coalition, which was created to advocate on behalf of children with special needs, and coordinator of special education policy at Advocates for Children said the city Department of Education has made some improvements” in special education. However, Moroff said, the department still needs to integrate more students into the general school population and increase the quality of education offered students in special education.

“Teachers were trained to meet all needs but [the] academic [ones],” Advocates for Children executive director Kim Sweet elaborated. “Many special education teachers lack training in academic content, such as history or math, particularly at the high school level.”

More than one third of city special education students attend separate classes, a higher percentage than in Chicago or Los Angeles, WNYC reported recently.

Two reports issued by Arise, Out of School and Unprepared and Educate! Include! Respect! shed further light on the struggles of special ed enrollees, particularly minority children. For example, ARISE found, over 90 percent of students graduating with Individual Education Plan or IEP, diplomas — available only to special education students — in 2007 were black or Latino, although black and Latino students made up only 70 percent of all students in the class of 2007.

An IEP diploma has less academic value than New York’s other diplomas — it is not accepted by colleges or the military — so many students find they also need to get a GED, available to people who did not graduate, as well. Moroff said families often don’t know this is the case. “By the time family knows, [the child] is too many credits behind” his peers to catch up, she said.

A spokeswoman for the education department’s special ed office adamantly disagreed, saying parents are informed about the diploma early on. She also noted that the state, not the city, establishes standards for issuing diplomas.

The graduation numbers are even worse when one only looks at students in self-contained special education classes, as opposed to those who attend regular classes but receive some special services. Educate! reports, “Graduation rates for students in self-contained, special education classes have declined to less than 5 percent, and dropout rates for these students remain more than two and a half times higher than students in other special education settings.” These autonomous classes, the report notes, contain a disproportionate number of black and Latino males.

Finally, advocates point to discipline and punishment — including suspension — of special education students. Figures recently released by the city’s Department of Education found that 30 percent of all suspensions went to special education students, who account for about 17 percent of the total student population.

Moroff said school officials need to consider whether what they see as misbehavior may have been caused by a student’s disability. Once suspended, she added, “The child, often incorrectly, is sent down a path toward an almost certain failure… They lose time and [often] drop out.”

On the Job

Workforce development and other employment programs do little to rectify the shortcomings of the schools system, advocates for the disabled say. “Most workforce programs funnel people with disabilities toward low-wage employment — not careers. This keeps people with disabilities in low-wage jobs that generally have no ladder up,” Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for the Independence of the Disabled, wrote in an email.

The one-stop work centers designed to help New Yorkers find employment vary considerably in how effective they are for the disabled, according to O’Neill. Some, he said, are inaccessible to those with physical disabilities. More importantly, though, the centers receive payment on a per-client basis, creating a disincentive for center staff to help people, including the disabled, who may require more help to find appropriate work.

In New York City, the Workforce1 career centers are technically administered through the Department of Small Business Services and its Equal Opportunity — Workforce Investment Act unit. A spokesperson for the mayor’s office, though, redirected the focus to a separate program run by the city’s Human Resources Administration, WeCare, which seems to prioritize getting its clients off public assistance.

WeCARE — Wellness, Comprehensive Assessment, Rehabilitation and Employment — was created “to give clients with disabilities the supports and services they need to have an equal opportunity to transition from welfare to their highest level of self-sufficiency by providing customized services that identify and address individual service needs,” Samantha Levine, the spokesperson, said in an email.

The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities is supposed to serve as a liaison between city government, relevant organizations and the disabled community. It offers listings of a range of services provided by public and non-profits, ranging from education, coordinating activities and events, to agency programs designed to assist people with disabilities.

Despite repreated requests, the mayor’s office did not authorize Matthew Sapolin, the commissioner of the disabilities office, to be interviewed for this article.

The Public Role

Government agencies, such as the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, have a key part to play in improving the overall lot of the disabled, advocates believe. “Public agencies are in leadership roles and ensuring that their agencies contract with disability-owned businesses can improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities,” Dooha wrote.

Unfortunately, she continued, “Since the recession we have seen people” who are in the city’s work program for people with disabilities “threatened with layoffs in higher numbers, losing any gains that they had made.”

Furthermore, she wrote, “There is very little disability literacy in public agencies — most have little contact with people with disabilities and give little value given to our expertise.”

The reliance of people with disabilities on public agencies extends to their medical coverage. New York state’s 2007 Chartbook on Disability described the disabled as more likely than other New Yorkers to be underinsured. As a result, “People with disabilities are more likely than those without disabilities to have deferred medically necessary care on the basis of cost … and have chronic health conditions,” the analysis stated.

Dooha explained there’s a lack of coordination and cohesion in medical care for the disabled. “The system is piecemeal,” she said with some people not getting coverage they are entitled to.

“People who are employed whose income goes up are told they are no longer eligible for Medicaid, even when they are still low-income,” Heidi Siegfried, health policy director for the Center for the Independence of the Disabled, emailed. However the state does indeed provide a program that allows them to keep Medicaid coverage even though they may have earned income. “For low-income workers this can mean that they can keep their jobs and maintain their health,” Siegfried said.

City and state workers, who are supposed to be trained about these issues, often provide false or misleading information to clients, or simply do not know what programs are available, Dooha said. The fact that some disabled people are overwhelmed by bureaucracy only complicates the problem.

Looking for Solutions

Given the many factors contributing to the high poverty and unemployment rates among the disabled, Disability Matters offers an array of recommendations to improve the situation. The following is just a sampling. For example in education, the report calls for:

  • Providing students with services in the least restrictive possible settings and giving special education students access to the school community and all its activities;
  • Reversing exclusionary policies contributing to discipline and suspension that lead to poor educational outcomes and high drop-out rates;
  • Ensuring the Individualized Education Plans that all special ed students have are complete and reflect the needs, strengths and preferences of the specific child;
  • Taking steps that all diplomas granted have meaning in the post-high school world of work.

In employment, the group calls for:

  • Changing the funding for workforce programs to remove disincentives to serving people with disabilities;
  • Making sure all workforce development entities have a disability-literate workforce that uses strategies to build on the strengths of people with disabilities.

To reduce the number of disabled people living in poverty, the report would increase the benefit rate for the federal Supplemental Security Income program and change the criteria for establishing eligibility. Disability Matters also would like to see the city government provide funding for community outreach and assistance with applications and appeals to help eligible low-income people receive whatever benefits to which they are entitled.

Beyond these and many more specifics Dooha said, “We have proved we are knowledgeable experts [about] our own experiences… we are agents of change, not victims. If you want a victim, go to the New York Times neediest cases.”