Rundle: Hanson’s autistic kids comments reveal a truth no one wants to talk about
That some teachers have to devote most of their attention to children with serious behaviour management issues is hardly news to anyone with a child in school, but there’s a curious veil of silence drawn across it.
The shortcuts allocation on the keyboard is fast running out, but I suspect shift-control-F7 should be assigned to ‘”Pauline Hanson’s comments are appalling …” to save future time and energy. La Hanson’s comments about the teaching of special needs children are still ricocheting around the public sphere. They’re part of a longer speech about education and Gonski, and it’s a real One Nation special (pages 12 and 13 of the Hansard, for those who want a read) concerning the demise of standards of English comprehension and expression — expressed in sentences about one-in-three of which is well-formed — the failure to instil a sense of competition, and the decline of running writing (or cursive), inter alia. But it’s Hanson’s remarks on classroom problems that have attracted outrage, and it’s worth giving them in full, rather than the truncated reports of such. Here they are:
“There is another thing that we need to address, and I will go back to the classrooms again. I hear so many times from parents and teachers whose time is taken up with children — whether they have a disability or whether they are autistic — who are taking up the teacher’s time in the classroom. These kids have a right to an education, by all means, but, if there are a number of them, these children should go into a special classroom and be looked after and given that special attention. Because most of the time the teacher spends so much time on them they forget about the child who is straining at the bit and wants to go ahead in leaps and bounds in their education. That child is held back by those others, because the teachers spend time with them. I am not denying them. If it were one of my children I would love all the time given to them to give them those opportunities. But it is about the loss for our other kids. I think that we have more autistic children, yet we are not providing the special classrooms or the schools for these autistic children. When they are available, they are at a huge expense to parents. I think we need to take that into consideration. We need to look at this. It is no good saying that we have to allow these kids to feel good about themselves and that we do not want to upset them and make them feel hurt. I understand that, but we have to be realistic at times and consider the impact this is having on other children in the classroom.”