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Expert Q&A

My sister’s first grade teacher said my sister will be in special ed classes for the rest of her life and won’t go to college. Isn’t this setting her up for failure?

I am not a parent but my younger sister, who is in first grade, is having difficulties with reading and other basic skills. Today our older sister went in to talk with the teacher and the teacher told her that our younger sister is going to be in special ed for the rest of her life and that it is likely that she will not be going to college. I guess they are teaching her life skills at the school and they do not look at the homework that she is doing.

This aggravates me because it seems like they are just setting her up for failure. I read an article about one student who said that it is better for these kids to be challenged and placed in mainstream classes — he was placed in special ed second through eleventh grade and once they did put him in mainstream it was a lot more difficult to transition. His was a success story, but I completely agree students should be put in mainstream classes earlier. I would just really appreciate your input on this situation because I do not want to see my little sister fail.

Your younger sister is fortunate to have you as an older sister who cares about her. I do wonder why you and another sister are involved. Where are your parents/guardians?

It is essential that the parents request a meeting with the school principal and school professionals. What studies have been done to support this teacher’s comments? A child cannot be placed in special education without studies to support this need. AND, no decisions can be made without the parents’ consent. First, speak with your mother and find out what she knows. If there are no formal studies or no official meetings, this teacher needs to be confronted about such comments. If there have been such studies and your mother has not shared them with you, ask that they be discussed.

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