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Tony Danza Thinks Learning Disabled Kids Are "Lazy," Ends Up in Trouble on 'Teach' (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Oct 11th 2010 2:11AM
Tony Danza Thinks Learning Disabled Kids Are 'Lazy,' Ends Up in Trouble on 'Teach'Actor Tony Danza is struggling on 'Teach' (Fri., 10PM ET on A&E). He spent a year as an English teacher at Northeast High School, a gritty inner-city school in Philadelphia. The actor already received some criticism for his role on the series. But now, he gets attacked by the worst critic of all -- his own boss.

Previously, Danza did a lot of crying, a lot of sweating, and had trouble disciplining his class. Now, things are getting worse. Half of Tony's students have failed their latest quiz. His best student wants to drop out because he's not intellectually "challenged" by the actor. And Tony refuses to assist a bunch of learning disabled kids, then faces legal trouble for his actions. Yikes!

The actor refuses to let three learning disabled teens go to their private classroom, or resource room, because he thinks they're slacking off. The special ed teacher tries to tell him that the kids are not being lazy -- they're disabled. In response to this, Tony's boss, Principal Linda Carroll, hauls the actor into her office. Uh-oh ... Who's the boss now? (And yes, every article about this show must contain at least one 'Who's the Boss?' reference.)

Principal Carroll doesn't seem pleased with her new teacher's performance. She tells Tony that he is required by law to let the special ed kids go to their resource room. She also demands that Tony treat his new job with a little more respect. "You have to listen to what we say," she declares, adding that teaching is "serious work." " ... You got that?" the principal says.

Wow -- not a great start. What do you guys think? Should Tony get a failing grade? Or is he doing his best, while facing really difficult conditions?

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tom

Everyone makes mistakes. People change but i once waited to meet Spacey after a play that Danza was in. A kid about 18 asked Tony to sign a picture tony would not the kid got hurt and said you suck,Danza dropped his duffel bag and said come on pal, i got my guy right here. Tony posed as if he was going to fight him. Also he spent the better half of his last day on TV bashing a local supermarket for closing the fish section.

October 15 2010 at 6:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LkyRaven

I am a 'late-in-life' (49) mother to 2 young 'challenged' children, ages 11 and 7. My 11 y/o was diagnosed, at age 3, with Variable Autism, ADHD, PDD (pervasive developmental disorder), and more. My 7 y/o, diagnosed at 5 y/o, with ADHD & ODD (oppositional defiance disorder). Both of my children are in the public school system, in Pennsylvania, since both were 3 y/o. That being said, and knowing MY children, as I do, better than any school system does, and being extremely familiar with the Pennsylvania school system, I have mixed feelings about (1) the criticisms bestowed upon Tony Danza, (2) the methods and madness of the school that agreed to participate in this reality show, and (3) the common behaviors of many school aged children, whether they be 'challenged' or not.

First, I think Mr. Danza's passion-of-heart was in the right place, going into and during this venture. In addition, it is not as if he entered into this project without some sort of advantage. As he stated, he did go to college, albeit - many years ago, with the intention of becoming an English TEACHER. However, as we all know, school systems and their policies have changed significantly since most of us went to school. In addition, me being of Italian-American decent myself, it seems familiar that Mr. Danza was attempting to apply 'old school' teaching with 'old world thinking.'

Secondly, the school (NE High), as modestly as they try to project themselves, would not have agreed to the venture if they did not relish the idea that they would be on National Television, toe to toe with a celebrity, and getting the big bucks to do so. Moreover, if they have the impression that Mr. Danza is putting on a show (which I don't think he is), then they are putting up just as much of a show. Additionally, I think the (PA) Board of Education, who obviously agreed to this venture, has fallen short of their responsibility. That being, they should have clearly briefed Mr. Danza on the significant legal and fundamental changes that have taken place in the Education system since the days of his college education and well meant intentions. The obvious neglect of NE High & the PA B. of E. in doing just that has obviously left Mr. Danza at an unfair disadvantage - not to mention, has caused way more than unnecessary, embarrassment and awkward situations for Mr. Danza and the students. But my guess is, the PA Board of Ed, and the superiors at NE High, no doubt, got their rocks off over that. Bottom line: it was their (NE High & PA Board of Ed) responsibility to inform & brief Mr. Danza properly before signing on the dotted line to enter into this project. And in that aspect, it is shamefully apparent that 'the almighty dollar, and the opportunity to put their faces on national television' ranked more of a priority than seeing to it that they had every base covered to insure that their students wouldn't suffer too much of a disruption in this venture. And, based on my own personal experiences with the PA B. of E., it's par for the course that their interests are not reflective of maximum benefit to their students - especially the 'Special Needs' group. It's always about money! Shame on you, NE High & PA B.of E.

Lastly, on the Special Ed issue - as stated before, being the parent of 2 challenged school-aged children, I am pleased that there are laws and policies to accommodate and protect them. And I, as a parent, see to it that my face and my mouth are in their faces to exercise and enforce the policies that are designed to protect them - which is the LAST thing that the PA B. of E. wants any parent of school-aged children to know that they have an absolute right to do. In the end analysis, at your child's IEP gathering, your child's teachers can suggest ANYTHING that they feel is appropriate for your child's academic and fundamental journey through their school system. What they won't tell you is - if you disagree with their IEP recommendations, with a valid argument, your wishes as the parent must become final in your child's IEP. Yes - you as the parent have the last word, and [they] must honor it.

But, as any parent of any challenged child knows that underneath all of the challenging issues that plague these children, if you peel back the layers, is a child that still behaves like a child with no challenges - like any child. And the older they get, the craftier and manipulative many of them become. And, so, I can understand Mr. Danza's skepticism in the student's requ

October 14 2010 at 11:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bruce

I've been a high school teacher for 13 years, and I find the show very interesting. I think Tony Danza is sincerely trying, and he's running into the problems that most first year teachers face. I, also, got the feeling from the opening episode that he was not being given the respect that a teacher should be given at a school by his colleagues. It was hard to watch the secretary drill him in the initial episode. I realize that it is a reality show, but if the school agreed to hire him for a year, then he should be given the same respect any new hire is given. As for the special needs incident, I think that his heart was in the right place. However, a student IEP gives accommodations to a special needs student that need to be followed by law. I don't believe special needs students are lazy, but in some cases, we have to remember that kids will be kids. Sometimes, any student special needs or not will take the easier path if it's available. The idea is always to eventually help the student function without accommodations, because lets face it, in the real world, employers want people who will produce. Employers aren't going to hire someone who requires accommodations. I'm speaking as someone, who had ADD in the time period before IEP accommodations existed and I still have it as an adult. I had to find ways to overcome it without meds.

October 11 2010 at 8:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tanya

I think Mr. Danza is showing what a difficult and daunting task the art of teaching is. In addition, he does not seem to get the support that would harness his enthusiasm and realize his good intentions in terms of educative aims. Mr. Danza needs to understand too, that one must render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's. He can only change what he does in the classroom and he can not save everyone.

October 11 2010 at 6:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Burr

This article was a LIE. Mr. Danza thought he could get the kids pumped up and excited enough to make up for any learning disabilities they had. He was not inattentive to their needs. He was ignorant and hopeful and energenic. Quite a different reality than this deceitful article. Shame on the author - but what do you expect now when lying is an accepted means to an end. We should all have teachers with as much optimism and resolve and involvement as Tony Danza. This was a minor glitch, not a negative statement.

October 11 2010 at 4:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
basketpam

It's a shame things aren't going very well for Tony. I was hoping for the best for him. Now I haven't been watching the show so I don't know the complete situation here, but I do know in EVERY category of students you can have lazy kids, EVEN learning disabled kids. And sometimes, the learning disabled, due to frustration, can be VERY lazy. I know, I saw it firsthand. So parents, don't get on your high horse about this. You will find kids out there that fit every description and kids that bounce around between the types. You can also have kids that are lazy in the classes they don't like and work like crazy in the ones they do. The way I look at it, don't go crucifying the man until YOU spend a week in HIS shoes. He's trying something EXTREMELY difficult and unless you feel you could do much better, don't throw stones. And finally, the jobs teachers have to do is made only more difficult and almost IMPOSSIBLE because of MANY parents out there. I know what a PAIN IN THE BUTT parents could be just running a story time at my store I had for 7 years. Children who were disruptive, rude, selfish, insonsiderate and when I would POLITELY ask a child to be quiet or tell them they had to share their psychotic, overprotective, fanatic parents would just all over me. I dealt with hundreds of parents who were perfectly happy to let their child or children trash my store and would NEVER disclipine their child. Then, the parents who would take their child in the bathroom to "take care of the problem" would be embaressed or feel as if they were doing something wrong. Our society has made parents feel that if they do their job, actually disclipine their children, they're bad parents, not the other way around. We always told parents to do what they needed to do, we understood. After many storytimes I always watched the families walk out the door feeling VERY sorry for some teachers down the road. Not because of the children, but because of the parents they were doomed to have to deal with in a few years. Whatever crackpot started this trend of where we are to make each and every child feel as if they are a spoiled, lavished, prince or princess who is to have their every desire indulged should have been shot years ago. This parenting concept has RUINED American children AND the American school system.

October 11 2010 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
phancigal

I have been a Special Education teacher for 26 years and I can tell you that you are 100% wrong about schools keeping students in Special Education classes for the revenue. Special Education is a federally mandated and funded program which is seriously underfunded. School districts have to pick up the expences the FEDS don't cover. This is very costly to each and every district in the United States. Every Special Education student costs more than districts are compensated. A large portion of the cost of Special Educatin comes out of the district's general fund. This means less money for all the other students. NO School District qualifies, places, or refuses to dismiss students from Special Education for the REVENUE!!!!!!!!!!!

October 11 2010 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Loretta

At the very least this show (which I don't watch) will show people how difficult teaching really is. Many people think it's a "cushy" job. Teaching is hard work, especially if you have a tough group that needs a lot of motivation. Throw in a few students woth special needs and that further complicates the situation. Regardless if the LD student has an IEP stating that he goes to a resource room during testing then he needs to comply. He should also have a copy of the portion of the IEP that pertains to his students and refer to it when the issue arises.

October 11 2010 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ruth

I'm a recently retired high school teacher and understand the need to be able to deal with all levels of learning. That's what makes teaching so difficult. However, Tony apparently doesn't understand about LD or special needs children. He needs a class and some help from the special needs' teacher in his school. He'd be much more aware of what to do and how to follow their Individual Education Plans (IEP's).

October 11 2010 at 2:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
MsGMK

There are to many whiny liberals educators...I applaud Mr Danza. Push the kids...maybe then will our educational system produce some REAL leaders.

October 11 2010 at 1:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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