I was pushed into making a firm commitment to this last night. Tuesdays is when my Special Needs class meets. This class is largely devoted to dealing with children who are physically/mentally/emotionally damaged, their parents, and the various legal requirements involved in dealing with both of them. Last night, however, we learned about dealing with kids who don't fit in well with their regular classmates but also aren't covered by the ADA, IDEA, or very much in the way of school staff and funding - gifted and talented kids. A lot of these kids wind up in ALCs or dropping out or otherwise hosed by the system because they're bored stiff by schools that can't or won't give them the mental stimulus they need to be all that they can be. I've met a lot of these kids in fandom - that's where the lucky ones wind up, if they have any interest in science, science fiction, or fantasy.
I'm not much interested in teaching in ALCs because I have this urge to save the world. I just want to reach a few kids who haven't gotten the attention they deserve from their parents or the school system. ALCs are often regarded as a dumping ground for the losers, druggies, drunks, and other screwups who can't fit in and can't keep still for the creaky assembly-line mentality that runs the education factories we call schools. This is a hideous waste of human potential. I'm not saying that these kids are all unheralded geniuses or even nice kids who caught some bad breaks - but there's kids in those ALCs who deserve to know that they're not alone and that yes, the schools did mess them over. I can do that much, and show them the way out.