Laws for Learning

Everyone would agree, one of the greatest freedoms given in the United States is the guarantee of an education.While every child attains the opportunity to learn, not all children understand concepts at the same pace and the same way as others.Students like this typically have a learning disability.

Simply put, a learning disability is any health condition that makes learning difficult. There should be more accountability to ensure that teachers make the proper accommodations for students with learning disabilities because all students deserve an equal opportunity to learn at school. Laws and school regulations protect the educational rights of students with learning disabilities that teachers must follow.Schools as a whole are not always aware of the laws in place regarding documents issued for students such as an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a 504 form. These help advocate for students struggling in a classroom due to a learning disability who may need accommodations as simple as extra time on a test, or a larger plan to establish goals on the student’s progress in class. Students tend to get overlooked and fall behind when a school ignores legal obligations to students.

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“Schools, likewise, do not always know the law and may reject a request for an evaluation or for special education services when the child qualifies” (Special Education).Schools should keep up with the rules and regulations put in place to aid struggling students. When a teacher does not go through adequate training to identify if a student has a possible learning disability, they may mistake the child as an unmotivated or defiant student. Simply unacceptable.Teachers should realize, identify, and act when they see a student struggling.

Although teachers receive high levels of training to help students, “many students are overlooked in the school system as underachievers or having bad behavior problems when, in truth, they have a learning disability preventing them from reaching their potential” (Special Education).All children learn at a different pace; those who cannot keep up with others deserve the proper accommodations.Mel Levine, M.D. professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, challenges “parents and teachers to develop individual management plans that are unique to each child’s personal struggles” (Gorrell).

One size does not fit all when it comes to education.Therefore, schools and teachers should not teach in a way that only benefits students without a learning disability. Although some students do not receive the help they need in the classroom; there are many laws in place and training for teachers to make sure students with learning disabilities are properly identified.Even though the system for identifying students with a disability in some schools does prove to be successful; there are still many students falling through the cracks.Ana Martinez, a principal at Rowe Elementary Charter School in Chicago, wrote to Congress expressing her feelings on new bills such as the Every Child Achieves Act.

“A critical reason that the teachers and parents at our school can help our students excel is two-fold. First, assessments provide objective information on how our students are performing academically. Second, after analyzing that data, we use our professional expertise to put in place interventions that help every student who is not on track to graduation. The current write-up of ‘Every Child Achieves’ would make interventions like these optional, essentially creating a system of ‘Only Some Achieve'”(Haycock).Principal Ana Martinez experiences first-hand the benefits of advocating for students and watching them succeed, but she also knows the detrimental effects of leaving struggling students to fend for themselves.

“Allowing schools across the country to throw their hands up and not be required to act to help all students would put us back 50 years in the fight to ensure every child has access to a quality education”(Haycock).While some students are advocated for, there are still many students slipping through the cracks because teachers are not being held accountable.It is very important that schools and lawmakers take time to carefully consider the best ways to help students learn and succeed. Every parent likes to believe that when they send their child off to school in the morning they are going to be receiving the best possible education.If teachers do not make accommodations, students will continue to fall through the cracks.Taking the extra time to find the best way a child learns is as simple as a teacher talking with a student individually.

Teachers hold a very important position when it comes to noticing a learning disability and usually see it first.When teachers abide by the educational laws, students feel accepted and smarter.