Sunday, March 12, 2006

Chicago Requires Driver's Ed for the Blind

Growing up in Chicago, I know how idiotic things are at the Chicago Board of Education, and I knew that driver's education was a requirement, but I never knew it was required for BLIND PEOPLE. This is one for Jay Leno to get ahold of.

CHICAGO - Most high school students eagerly await the day they pass driver's education class.
But 16-year-old Mayra Ramirez is indifferent about it.

Ramirez is blind, yet she and dozens of other visually impaired sophomores in Chicago schools
are required to pass a written rules-of-the-road exam in order to graduate — a rule they say takes time away from subjects they might actually use.

"In other classes, you don't really feel different because you can do the work other people do," Ramirez said. "But in driver's ed, it does give us the feeling we're different. In a way, it brought me down, because it reminds me of something I can't do."

Hundreds of school districts in Illinois require students to pass driver's ed, although the state only requires that districts offer the courses. A state education official says districts that require it should exempt disabled students. "It defies logic to require blind students to take this course," Meta Minton, spokeswoman for the state Board of Education, told the Chicago Tribune in a Friday story.

About 30 students at two Chicago high schools with programs for the visually impaired recently
formed an advocacy group in part to change the policy. A Chicago Public Schools official said the district would be open to waiving the requirement. "I can't explain why up to this point no one has raised the issue and suggested a better way for visually impaired students to opt out of driver's ed," said Chicago schools spokesman Michael Vaughn. Vaughn said parents of disabled students can, by law, request a change in their child's individual education plan, which could include a driver's ed exemption. But teachers and students said that is a little-known option, and that they have been told driver's ed is required to graduate.


Dee said...

How completely ridiculous. Although, it really shouldn't surprise me.

Why would ANYONE be required to take driver's ed anyway? What if you have no desire to learn to drive? What if you have a phobia of it? Don't laugh - I work with a lady who won't even sit in the left side of a car she's so terrified of it.

Gah. People irritate me sometimes.

Stardust said...

I agree that driver's ed should be optional. Many of the kids in the Chicago school system come out without really knowing how to read and comprehend and math scores are low at most school districts. There is so much fooling around in the public school systems. I think another requirement that needs to go is Physical education. They give kids WRITTEN tests for the rules of Bowling, archery, football, etc. It is one reason why our three independent studied for high school and went off to college early. We got tired of the bullcrap.

MindGames said...

stardust - check out Vonnegut's "stardust memory" :

Stardust said...

Thanks for the link mindgames. Vonnegut is one of my favorites. Great article and great song. :-)

JustinOther said...

So, do the paraplegics have to complete the 50 yard dash to graduate too?

How utterly ridiculous.

Stardust said...

When I was a student in the Chicago school system, the handicapped (physically challenged) had to dress for P.E. It was so stupid.