Customized Learning Plans for ALL?
Students in special education programs benefit from having individualized education plans, or IEPs, which are customized to meet their learning needs.
But why should such customization be limited to special education students? What about those students who were right on the border of being put in special education, but were not put in that category? What about kids who are struggling in school? Couldn't they benefit from a customized education plan too?
Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne seems to think so, according to a Jan. 22 Associated Press story. He would like to see every student in 7th through 12th grades have a customized education plan by 2011.
In Horne's proposal, personalized education plans are not exactly IEPs. They would be set up to ensure all students get one-on-one advice from educators in identifying a career path. The plans would have teachers assume the role of academic guidance counselors, frequently checking on a student's academic progress and helping establish realistic career goals.
Whether his proposal will succeed is another matter. The logistical implications for educators and schools of establishing such plans for every student are huge. And there are likely legitimate concerns in the spec. ed. community about going in this policy direction.
Even so, the potential benefits of having personalized education plans for ALL students are worth weighing against the logistical difficulties of executing such a policy.