What Christie might not be taking into account, however, is that autistic children are on all different areas of the autism spectrum. Children with mild forms of autism are much better off among their peers, siblings, and neighbors who are not autistic. They benefit from being included. Severely autistic children, however, have not been well served in public schools because until only recently teachers were not trained in dealing with autism.
The idea in New Jersey is being met with mixed emotions. If Christie can get the best teachers to connect with autistic students, he might be able to make the system better for these children. But when students have a mild form of autism or Asberger’s Syndrome, they can develop social skills and learn with everyone else.
Given that fact that children without autism learn at different paces, why should the pace of a mildly autistic child be considered so different? The plan in New Jersey is not meant to insult parents of autistic children, but it brings into question how prepared public school systems are in teaching autistic children. If schools can train teachers to work with autistic children (and not solely in special education programs), things may not need to change too dramatically.
College Football Needs Playoff
College football has the most unique way of determining a champion in all of sports. I refrain from writing “in all of professional sports” because college football has no discernible characteristics of professional sports (wink, nudge.) The college bowl games are a tradition at the end of the football season for the big Division I schools. The problem is that none of these games are the actual championship game. Now, fans, athletes, and leaders – including the big guy in the White House – want to change that system to include playoffs.
As it stands now, teams play in many different bowl games and the writers decide through national rankings which team is the best. In a short season like football, it’s hard to determine which school is the best in the nation. A playoff between the top ten ranked teams might give a better indication of where teams stand.
The reason why a playoff is necessary is because the bowl games, with all of their rich tradition, have lost steam as far as tradition is concerned. Advertisers have taken over the games. Alumni from different schools love to look back on when their team was in the Rose Bowl or the Sugar Bowl. Students at Catholic University still remember that their school was in the Orange Bowl, even if it was in 1936.
But today’s bowls, like the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl or the Beef 'O' Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg hardly make the argument that the current bowl system is a tradition on which we cannot improve. Remember the Blockbuster (as in Blockbuster Video) Bowl? Neither does anyone else.
The NCAA needs to keep the main four bowl games and make them the playoff system. The two top ranked schools would get a bye in the first round, and the other eight would play in a playoff. The bowls would be the playoff system, so they would remain relevant.
Some players have argued that as the playoffs wear on, the teams wear out – and thus you do not get a team playing at their best. If you consider that the NFL uses a playoff system, and so do most high school and Pop Warner leagues, why wouldn’t the NCAA use a system that reflects that?
The best teams need to play in a playoff system. It would not discount the traditional bowl games, and it would give us a real national champion that is based on winning, and not based on the opinions of the writers. The other bowl games, like the Little Caesar’s Bowl can still exist, and people can still pretend to care about them, they just wouldn't be part of an actual playoff for the national championship.