Hey, leave my child behind, please
A couple of things are getting to me the last couple of days, not the least of which are the ways that the severely disabled actually end up with fewer rights than the abled, and yes, I can back that up. There are some things going on with Pearlsky, and there is the article mentioned by Lindsey in the last post’s comments (I will be talking about that soon, you need not look now) (but you can).
Instead of those issues right now (give me a day or two), here is something that came up today. I have alluded to my dismay with the No Child Left Behind laws and testing. I firmly believe the testing is a total farce for the severely disabled. The testing is mandatory for high school students in all states except California (bet you did not know that! yes, Californians can opt out, but school teachers and administrators can’t tell you that). Pearlsky and I have been on the television news, we were at the State House talking with senate leaders, etc. about how Pearlsky has fewer rights than the “normal” students and how crazy the test is. I actually got her out of it via loopholes, write to me offline if you are in such a fight and want some information.
This brings me to today. Basically, our state allows for a separate testing for the disabled, but the tests MUST still be to the curriculum for the age grade of the student. That’s right. Your severely disabled kid has to be tested on tenth grade math.
There is a young man in the sixth grade here, someone dear to me. He is severely disabled, and although he can reach and crawl, we believe his cognitive abilities are on a very low level. He has never shown communication, understanding, etc. And now he needs to take the first of many No Child Left Behind tests.
Now for the humor.
For the English part of the exam, my friend needs to be tested with this:
Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words using context clues (definition, example).
Now, dear readers, how on earth would you test one of our kids for this? How can you ever know if s/he “determined the meaning …” of anything?
Want to know how the school is doing it?
When given the prompt, the student will identify his picture in a field of two with 100% accuracy and 80% independence.
And now, hold on friends, here is the proof that this young man can “Determine the meaning of unfamiliar words using context clues” by identifying his picture out of two pictures …
That is a scan of a photocopy of the picture the teacher submitted as proof. No, I did not “photoshop” the sizes of the pictures, yes, the larger picture is a picture of him, yes, he is right-handed and always uses that dominant hand, and yes, they are serious.
Your tax dollars at work.
NCLB is a joke for all children. If they spent as much time and effort into things that actually help children, imagine what our children could do!
I just read your site regarding the school system testing…we ar ein Canada, but have to say this is the most insain thing I have ever read of for testing disable kids…it makes no sense and proves virtually nothing. they are trying…but….I think they get an F. LOL oh dear…..
My partner has Asperger’s Syndrome (high functioning autism) so disabilities are an interest to me overall and I enjoy learning. Hope it was ok to be reading along…
I too am firmly against NCLB testing, even for children without disabilities. Some children simply do not perform well on standardized tests, despite knowing the material.
If I can do anything about it, my children – disabled or not – will not take my state’s exams.
That’s reprehensible. Are you SHITTING ME!?!? Do these people actually administer this shit for real? I had no idea…what an extreme waste of, well of pretty much everything imagineable.
If a parent isn’t going to fight to have their child exempt from the process, for whatever reasons…sometimes because we must choose our battles carefully…it is to the teacher(s)’ credit that they come up with something for the child, that the child will succeed at and, at the same time fulfill the state requirements.
Claire: But succeeding at this test is BAD. If Pearslky (or the young man in the post) pass the NCLB test, then they can graduate high school. The moment they graduate high school all educational and associated services, including therapies, stop until they become twenty-two. Really, as in Catch-22.
Well…in that case, it’s idiotic. In Ontario, they go to school through their 21st year, and get a certificate of participation sort of thing…not a diploma…there’s no testing like that.
Have the IEP state that the child will graduate by IEP goals, not by credits or standardized testing. Then add a goal: “Child will read fluently at the 6th grade level.” Clearly, they’ll never meet it (or if they did who’d know??) and then they will age out of the system eventually.
I am blessed in that our district does not push the moderately to severely disabled out. I was at a meeting about transition services (it was a meeting about the SSI’s PASS program offered primarily for teachers but open to parents.) A teacher from another district complained that “some parents” won’t let their child graduate because they want the ‘benefits’ they get as high schoolers.
I did NOT start screaming at her (barely) and I was thrilled when our district’s special ed director told her that our children are entitled to those benefits until they turn 22 and that if her district needed better ideas on how to support those families, she was welcome to tour our programs. (I did corner her after the meeting as she was still whining about ‘some parents’ in the lobby. I told her I didn’t care if she thought that it was inappropriate for 21 year olds to still be in high school, that is it far more about where they are at 30 than where they are at 21 and if those extra years of high school make that 30 year old year a better place – great; and for the severely disabled, the ‘system’ is set-up for the schools to be the service point until they turn 22 – deal with it!)
While my children are not as severely disabled as Pearlsky, two of them do take the “alternative assessment” and neither has ever scored less than a 97%ile. Course, neither of them are even close to grade level but I am just grateful I no longer have to get my daughter excited about fill in the pretty circles day!
Although teaching my own daughter was sometimes very fascinating and gratifying and a creative spur, I sure wouldn’t want to be a special ed classroom teacher.
That should count as equal to giving a neurotypical student the answers. What a crock.
So many things in the system are just a slap in the face. Verbal instructions for deaf students, written instructions for blind students, and now hand-over-hand test taking to kick them out of the system.
Why not just attach stings to their wrists so the teachers can manipulate them like marionettes.
I’ve seen some pretty outrageous scheming and scamming in my day but that’s a new low. They’re managed to manipulate the test to make it possible for anyone with a pulse to pass. I believe my standard poodle (a very clever dog but still a dog for all that) could pass that particular test. I know because she recognizes herself in videos and responds excitedly whereas she’s only mildly interested if another dog is on screen.
I always thought she was smarter than a fifth grader but this confirms it.
Oh, dear God. This reminds me of the time an insurance case manager asked me how to spell “epilepsy.”
To be fair all alternate assessment teachers know that this is bull. Unfortunately, no one EVER asks us our opinion. We have no choice we must make everyone pass, or we risk losing funding, being closed, or being given unsatisfactory ratings. The sad part about these tests is that they are in no way an accurate measure of the child. It doesn’t show how hard we work in order to give our students an appropriate education. It is a crock of bull but in this just know that the majority of teachers. [Like me] who work with the severely disabled hate it too.