This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What's Up With Our Education System?

On December 5th, I read an article in The Charlotte Observer that really upset me. In "Search for Teachers Goes Global" our new Superintendant is sending people to the Philippines to hire teachers for special education, math and science. Apparently, Charlotte, NC has decided to follow the example of other cities such as Las Vegas, Wichita, and Virginia Beach in recruiting teachers from the Philippines.

While bringing in foreign teachers may work for students in traditional classes who do not have problems learning, it is another matter for Special Education programs. These students may have learning disabilities, delayed development, ADD, ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder, etc. The article indicated that hiring foreign teachers could cause issues with language barriers and accents, and these teachers are used to lecture-style teaching. Special Education students learn differently and often require creative resources and adaptive learning environments. It doesn't make sense to hire teachers that are not used to our culture, language and alternative teaching methods.

What makes it even worse, is that some education systems are going through a program called Visiting International Faculty (VIF), an exchange program that places international teachers in US educational systems. When I went to their website at, they are advertising, "Teachers with limited or no teaching experience may be qualified to teach in the USA with the VIF program."

While it's true that many school systems are losing teachers to the corporate world because they can't afford to pay them, but bringing in teachers from other countries with "limited or no experience" and who may also jump to the corporate world after a couple of years is not the solution. We are setting ourselves up for constant turnover and our children are the ones who are paying the price for it.

Needless to say, I wrote a letter to the Editor that was published last Saturday and I've been writing emails to the Superintendent of the Exceptional Program and I've contacted people on the state level School Board. Now I'm trying to reach other parent groups. I decided to blog about this because Charlotte is only copying what other cities are doing. What's going on in your city?

We are so busy trying not to "reinvent the wheel" that we haven't inspected the knots and kinks in the first wheel to see how well it's holding up against various routes. What works for a flat road may not be appropriate for a winding road or up a mountain. Likewise, gravel can't be treated the same as asphalt. In other words, what works for Las Vegas and Virginia Beach isn't necessarily the right approach for Charlotte. We have proven that traditional teaching methods are not the answer for special needs students, neither are teachers who do not have experience in knowing the difference.

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