By “official”, I meant that having him be “officially” assigned to the EMH class takes a lot of the pressure off his teachers. This is part of the reasoning behind the whole idea of putting a kid in the EMH classes–it keeps the other teachers from coming down hard on a kid they may perceive as “uncooperative”, rather than “learning disabled”. Rather than tear their hair out over a seemingly unteachable kid (“What is the MATTER with him?”) who otherwise doesn’t seem classically “retarded”, they can now deal with him on an individual basis, tailoring their input to match his abilities.
Well, school systems have this funny habit of not allowing you to move on to algebra until you’ve mastered long division.
They also have the habit of not being particularly interested in “what the student may want to study”. His input is not being solicited by the school district. Even if he were a certified genius asking to be placed in a “gifted” class, his request would be ignored unless (a) his test scores showed he merited it, and (b) his parents requested/okayed it.
And teachers who have already discovered that he can’t do long division are going to be understandably disinterested in spending their time teaching him algebra on some kind of individual basis. Teachers stick to the lesson plan–that’s what they get paid to do. And the lesson plan doesn’t allow you to skip long division and go on to algebra.
(Can you do algebra? If so, why not try teaching it to him yourself, see what happens? Actually, you could find out for yourself how “teachable” he is–try to teach him something. A foreign language, better cursive handwriting, gin rummy or poker…)
And I think you’re placing too much of the onus on the school district here. Where are his parents in all this? Very few school districts will stick a child in either a “gifted” class or an EMH class without at least discussing it with the the parents.
Well, see, based on the limited information I have, and based on my experience of how school systems work, my interpretation of this would be that he simply wants to skip long division and go on to algebra. Kids of all ages and intelligence levels do this in all sorts of arenas–I used to go into my kids’ classes as a volunteer reading tutor, and there would always be a kid who couldn’t read that word, and so he would just want to skip it and keep going.
Also wanna point out that your club leader may not be any better informed about him than you are–he, too, may be operating on assumptions about Evil Insensitive School Districts.
Of course, it IS perfectly possible that it is as you say, and someone who is not retarded has been shunted into the EMH class by non-thinking educators.
But I don’t think it’s very likely.
Why don’t you get the Straight Dope and go talk to his mom? Tell her the truth–“I have Aspergers, too, and I’m not in the EMH class, and I wondered why he was in the EMH class, because he doesn’t seem retarded.”