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New School Promises 'Customized Education'

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A new private school in Miami promises "customized education" for children with autism and other neurobiological disorders, The Miami Herald reports. Kevin Gersh, the school's founder, says allowing students to help design their educational plans ultimately helps them focus on learning. Gersh's Coral Rock Academy is set to open in September. Annual tuition will be $30,000, and officials plan to enroll 20 students from grades 4 to 12.

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Customized education for children with autism? Why not for every student, in every school? Every child is different. They show up every September with different strengths and weaknesses. Why have teachers not been trained to customize the education of every student? Why are these same teachers teaching the same math lesson to the whole class? The same science lesson? The same history lesson? Etc? If doctors or lawyers attempted this system of delivery to their patients or clients, how long do you think they'd remain in business? REAL EDUCATION REFORM needs to go beyong standards, beyond fiscal equity from one district to the next. PEDAGOGICAL REFORM, individualizing instruction for each student would be a revolutionary reform, one that could add meaning to what really needs to be happening in our public school classrooms.

In response to Paul Hoss's August 9th comments. RE:Why have teachers not been trained to customize the education of every student?

We are trained to customize the education for most of our students. However, some have special physical or learning needs that are uncommon and we're not trained to immediately handle a particular situation. Typically, shortly after new challenges arise training is arranged. However, one does not immediately become expert at working with students with severe, or unusal learning needs.

In terms of addressing more common individual needs, such as, language/speech processing, or other learning disabilities, we're pretty much on target with advancing our students' skills and abilities. But, think on this. When you visit your health care professional do they examine you and 21 others simultaneously? Are you treated in the same examination room simultaneously as the 21 others? Oh, are you and the others 7 years old?

Class size does count.

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