The detrimental effects of the new Regents requirement will change the scope of what vocational and special education were designed for. Hundreds of these students will have to come up with new options to finding suitable careers that pay above the minimum wage.
The administrators of education are not taking a large garden variety of students into consideration with these new requirements. The state expects students in special education to pass Regents. This is not logical or practical, especially for students who are already struggling in school due to attention deficit disorder, a learning disability or mild retardation.
Special education and vocational students have no use for a Regents diploma. Most of them are not going to college. These students are the backbone workers for our blue-collar area. They are the electricians, plumbers, carpenters, auto technicians, machinists, culinary workers and child-care workers. They are in vocational training because that is where their interests and career choices are. Where would we be without talented workers for these trades?
Regents is fine for those who are interested in computers or management or are college-bound to become professionals. But as a concerned social worker, I have one important question. What happens to the struggling students who put forth every effort to do well but still do not pass?
The Regents crunch will leave a high number of students with little or no skills. It will force many to seek an Individual Education Plan or a General Equivalency Diploma instead of graduating from high school. Unfortunately, many will fall through the cracks, only to be devoured by the social systems.
State Education Commissioner Richard P. Mills' plan will not work. It's time to be realistic. We can't throw a switch and expect the Regents plan to fit everyone. Students in special education and vocational classes must be exempted from these new requirements.
Eva M. Donovan Cheektowaga