It isn’t often I call for someone to resign, but today I have to.
Check out the attitude of Tom Parsons, the¬†president of the Secondary Principals’ Association, has to say.
A leading educator has launched a stinging attack on the increasing diagnosis of learning difficulties, saying it is causing too much work for schools – and doing students more harm than good.
“We’ve gone overboard with diagnosing what used to be called quirky, what used to be called a nerd. Now he’s got ADHD, gonorrhoea, piles and acne,” Secondary Principals’ Association president Tom Parsons said.
School workloads were increasing as teachers and principals were forced to accommodate “badly behaved” and “traditionally quirky” students under special assessment conditions (Sac). The New Zealand Qualifications Authority said 5771 students had been approved for Sacs this year for external or internal assessment – a big rise from 3696 last year.
Parsons said the stigmatisation of “otherwise healthy students” was doing more harm than good and narrowed their horizons.
“Today, I am part of a system that encourages, indeed demands, accountability for those differences. When I went to school, students who were different were often known as quirky. They were unlikely to change and went about their business as best they could, with a fair chance of success, and often with a great deal more resilience than the rest of us, to assist them in the big wide world.” The incidence of dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit disorder was rising in secondary schools, and causing a “logistical nightmare” for schools trying to resource their needs.
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