In The Netherlands, the government introduced a new system a few years ago that would help children with special needs to stay in a regular school. After this introduction, it should all become better. Unfortunately, it didn’t get better. It got worse. It doesn’t ‘fit’ refers to the slogan the Dutch government uses: “Passend Onderwijs.” It’s the same as Education that fits.
The Dutch government introduced this new system because they wanted to offer a chance for normal education for every child. Even when they have special needs. My son is a child that was forced to leave his second school, the Waldorf school that he so much enjoyed. The reasons: he was traumatised. First of all by the intense bullying at his first school and secondly, because his grandfather passed away. I’ve written many Dutch blogs about all of this.
It sounded so perfect. The introduction of a new way that would help teachers and students. It can’t be done, when the government picks a date when the new system would be active and there is no real funding available. Education in The Netherlands is probably different from that in the country you live in. But it all comes down to this: there isn’t enough money available. The other problem: teachers refused to adopt this new system.
This type of education only works, when the class is filled with about twenty children. Many classrooms are filled with more children. It also works when the teacher has several assistants. You probably realised: this was a situation that wasn’t possible and what was to blame for all of this: money … or rather: the lack of money.
What also didn’t help is the many “experts” that were included in the process of offering the children this special care. In my son’s case: there were about nine people involved. My son went to a special needs school. It left us parents behind with a lot of “What if” questions. “What if the first school he attended had adopted a program for bullying that worked?” Last week a research report was published claiming that many schools used programs that didn’t work. Unfortunately, the government doesn’t set any restrictions on the usage of these programs.
Parents are forced to see what is going on. In our case, our son was picked out by the “experts” of the local school, claiming there was always a reason for this bullying. In other words: it was just his fault. I forgot how many times I tried to convinced these people how this could be possible. He wasn’t responsible for his own bullying. I lost count, just like the many experts that were involved with all of this, mostly with an invitation by the school. This didn’t really change once he again changed school. We now have to “work” with different people. It’s confusing and frustrating. Files are closed without notice and it results in filling out the same forms as before. Even when we didn’t apply for extra funds or more “experts.”
There is a saying that you can take a girl from the countryside to the city, but you can’t ever take the countryside out of a girl. It seems fitting under these circumstances. You can’t expect things to change all of a sudden. If this was possible, there wouldn’t be hunger, there wouldn’t be wars and there would be a better educational system.
People forgot who is “billed” for all of this: that’s the parents. People forget about the impact. I am the Goede Huisvader (a father who stays at home and takes care of his children, with a wink) and that is the direct result of all of this. I can’t hold a steady job. I blame this educational system for this. It’s just a hollow phrase. Experts would or could claim that I am the bitter parent, who can’t handle it that his child is sent to a school for special needs. I can. I see that teachers are forced to work under circumstances so difficult. I see that there is no “real” money available. Instead, our government has decided to the dividend tax for companies and especially international companies. This wasn’t in any party program of the political parties. It somehow slipped through. If only more funding of our educational system would “slip through.”
It doesn’t “fit” this educational system. The ones who are punished the hardest? Not the teachers – how tough the pressure may be -, it’s not even the parents – who are forced to end their jobs, just like me. No, the ones who get punished are the children. I think that is such a shame!
I wrote this article because of this news article (in Dutch, sorry).