Tag Archives: No Child Left Behind

Learning Disabilities: Understanding the Problem and Managing the Challenges

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Learning Disabilities: Understanding the Problem and Managing the Challenges
Author: Etta K. Brown
Publisher: Langdon Street Press 

Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl Malandrinos 

If you suspect your child has a learning disability or if an educator has suggested your child has a learning disability you’ll want to pick up a copy of Learning Disabilities: Understanding the Problem and Managing the Challenges by Etta K. Brown.

A certified special education teacher, school social worker, school psychologist and Licensed Education Psychologist, Brown puts her twenty years of experience to excellent use in putting together a helpful and informative guide for parents who need to understand learning disabilities and the environmental influences that impact a child’s ability to learn.

If only I had this book in my possession when I began the difficult process of having my daughter assessed, I would not only have done things differently, I would have been a better advocate for my child. I didn’t know the majority of the information found in the book, which is why I believe that every parent with a child who has been recommended for an assessment needs to read it before taking any step in that direction.

In addition to the impact that diet and sleep have on brain function, the author discusses developmental readiness and how immature development may affect classroom performance. She spends time on the subject of retention and why it isn’t always the best solution. This book also covers how parenting, emotional trauma and toxic metals can affect development.

After getting an understanding of learning disabilities and environmental influences that impact a child’s ability to learn, Brown moves on to a history of Special Education and provides an in-depth look at the entire process of determining eligibility, tests and testing, and the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). She is a strong proponent of parents acting as advocates for their children.

The last section of the book shares signs and symptoms of learning disabilities and accomodations and modifications that can be made at home and school to provide the best enviroment for your child’s learning based upon the disability she is trying to manage.

Learning Disabilities will empower parents to take an active role in their child’s education and provide them with the tools to be the best advocates for their child.

I highly recommend Learning Disabilities by Etta K. Brown. Every school should have multiple copies on hand to assist parents with the process.

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Filed under Non-Fiction

No Teachers Left Behind

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No Teachers Left Behind
Author: HBF Teacher
Publisher: 2nd Avenue Publishing
Rating:

Reviewed by: Cheryl Malandrinos

 

If you want to take a scary and sometimes funny–if it weren’t so real–trip through the day-to-day life of middle school teachers, then pick up a copy of No Teachers Left Behind by Hopeful But Frustrated Teacher (HBF Teacher).

Join Sixth Grade teachers Sandra Wyatt and Marcus Watts, Seventh Grade teachers Sonya Harte and Gail Jenkins, Eighth Grade teacher Angela Williams, and the other teachers, administrators and support staff at fictional Vilyon Middle School for a glimpse into the daily life of teachers in America’s public school system.

Frustrated, by overpaid administrators whose decisions lack common sense and place the “needs” of students ahead of everything else–including necessary discipline and safety issues, the teaching staff at Vilyon Middle School can’t even seem to get support from the support staff. The head custodian expects them to make sure unruly and unmanageable students don’t destroy the bathrooms; while unsupportive parents point to teachers as the problem behind their children’s lack of academic success.

Told through a series of scene excerpts, poems, and email exchanges, No Teachers Left Behind portrays some of the challenges facing American public schools today; and it leaves the reader wondering if these types of things occur in every school district in America.

My opinions on this book are mixed because I approach it both as a parent and as someone who volunteers in local public schools. I’ve watched while budget cuts have left teachers counting the number of photocopies they make each day, while perfectly useable equipment is replaced with newer models. I’ve heard the cries of large class sizes, but have heard stories of teachers not wanting parents in their classrooms.

The administrators are out of touch with reality in this book, and the majority of students and all the parents are portrayed in an unflattering light. Most of the students are more interested in making drug deals, getting their teachers suspended, and getting it on, than performing well academically; and the parents fault the teachers, not themselves, for any problems that arise.

The author’s passion for this subject is evident. While I didn’t think I would care for the format at first, I found it very easy to follow the various email communications and scenes to their shocking and tragic conclusion. The language is a bit crude in places, but mostly appropriate when used. The one thing I didn’t quite understand was the cover art; but I thought the rolling prairie might be symbolic of the less complicated days of educating children in one-room classrooms, before government legislation and mandatory testing dictated how educators taught their students.

No Teachers Left Behind is one of those books that will leave you thinking about the state of things long after you’ve turned the last page.

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Filed under contemporary fiction, Fiction, realistic fiction