This letter is in response to a recent story - that said thousands of schools were deemed 'failing' because of the test performance of special education students.
The United States Department of Education Department, acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education Ronald Tomalis, and those who conceived the federal No Child Left Behind law obviously have no clue what it takes to raise or educate a special education pupil.
The federal NCLB is severely flawed throughout, especially when it deals with special education. It is also no small wonder that there is a shortage of certified special education teachers. Teachers in both special ed and regular ed realize that there is no realistic way to ever meet the expectations of this law.
To punish a school because a special ed student cannot pass a standardized test is ludicrous!
I am the parent of a special ed child who graduated from Greenbrier High School. To think that my child would have been responsible for a school being taken over by the state or her teacher losing their job because she could not pass a standardized test is incomprehensible and dastardly.
My wife and I are very thankful that our child had such wonderful and caring teachers. Under their tutelage and our reinforcement she is able to be employed and function with minimal assistance. But she could not have passed a standardized test.
If anyone thinks that teaching a special ed class is simple, then I challenge them to spend an entire day with a special ed class. I would be willing to wager that the well-meaning bureaucrats never spent a moment in a special ed classroom before writing this absurd law.
In one statement Tomalis said, "There have been low expectations for some of these children all along, and thats not because of mental abilities, but because of poor instruction in the early grades." The problem may have been that for many years special education was relegated to a "back of the line" status.
From what I have heard and read it is not the school or teachers responsible for not meeting the standards of No Child Left Behind. It is the parents of regular ed children who care not one whit whether or not their child attends school, much less learns.
No Child Left Behind should be changed to be more realistic or completely eliminated.
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