Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Help Me Howard: No Education
Kids going to school and not learning. It's nothing new, right? But what if the school doesn't have the proper tools to teach the children? Here's Patrick Fraser with a lesson in learning, in tonight's Help me Howard.
WSVN -- Let's not beat around the bush and get straight to the point.
Lizette Riollano: "They just give you the run around. They shut you up, they get a couple of little things and they never do what needs to be done for the kids."
Lizette is talking about Everglades High School where her daughter Lily goes.
Lily is in a class for kids with special needs.
Patrick Fraser: "So it's basically to prepare them for life outside school when they graduate. Are they doing a good job?"
Lizette Riollano: "I don't think so."
For example, Lizette says Lily is supposed to be taught how to work a computer a calculator.
Patrick Fraser: "What's missing?"
Lizette Riollano: "Computers, calculators."
You don't have to take Lizette's word for it. One day she took a camera into Lily's classroom.
Lizette Riollano: "This is what the stations look like."
At the station called clerical that should have a typewriter and a computer just a phone book, but Lily can't read the pages. She is legally blind, and this is the banking station where parents were told at least their children would learn to about checkbooks instead just some newspapers.
Lizette Riollano: "Is there a calculator here?"
Lizette says the same thing happened two years ago, she complained to the school and things got a little better, but when she saw how the kids were being treated this year she was dumbfounded.
Lizette Riollano: "There's no textbooks, no workbooks, nothing to be sent home. Right now, I think it's like being in a day care and day care's I think are better equipped."
Lily is more blunt.
Patrick Fraser: "Do you work a calculator?
Patrick Fraser: "Do you run a cash register?"
Patrick Fraser: "Have you learned how to balance a checkbook?
Patrick Fraser: "What are you learning?"
But legally does a school have to educate children or just keep them safe and secure, Howard?
Howard Finkelstein: "The answer is emphatically yes. They have to educate each student to the appropriate level that they they are capable of. Lily doesn't appear to be getting the education that the taxpayers are paying for and by law it has to be corrected."
When i spoke to the Broward School specialists in Lily's field, they were very open but told me because of federal laws they could not discuss the specifics of Lily's education. They did agree to meet with Lizette immediately to listen to her complaints.
Lizette told me they said they had no idea Lily was permanently legally blind. That she was now going to be tested and they promised that her needs would be met.
Lizette added, since she called us the classroom added three computers, cash register and a typewriter. Those are some of the things that should have been there all along and Howard says 'any child who wants to learn should get the opportunity or else.'
Howard Finkelstein: "If you feel your child with special needs is being neglected or shortchanged, legally you have a right to what's called a due process hearing. At that time a judge can force the school district to meet your child's needs."
As for Lizette, call her skeptical. She has seen some progress but is not completely satisfied.
Lizette Riollano: "Lets see, its just a matter of time to see if they are doing what they are saying they are going to be doing. I think the media has to get involved in order for them to start doing things."
Patrick Fraser: "I have noticed this fall we have gotten a lot more calls and complaints than usual about schools and what they are or aren't teaching. And stories like these are important because what kids like Lily learn in school could well determine the quality of her life for the rest of her life. Thank goodness her mother complained to us."
Got an incomprehensible problem. Whant to enlighten everyone. Contact us, we aren't brilliant but between all of us we can read a law book.
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