I wish I were a judge and had some of these ed. reformers who believe tests are more important than children come before me. Honestly. I’d send them to jail.
Mandates written to play Gottcha with children’s services, intentionally designed to get rid of services and teachers, are wrong. America shouldn’t be the place to not care about students with disabilities. Well not the America I dream about.
I try to write respectfully, but the current attempts to use high-stakes tests, even the alternative kind, on students with severe disabilities, puts these students and their parents through hell. In fact, the alternative tests are even more insidious than the regular tests, because there is the insinuation that they have been modified in such a way as to help students.
These cruel reformers are after special education teachers, blaming them for not bringing students up to par. It is about as insidious as anything that can be found in education.
What kind of hatefulness is brewing down deep in these people that they continue to push harmful assessments onto students with the severest of disabilities? Watch the Florida Education Association video and ask how such a disturbing test regimen can continue.
Is this really all about the money?
Incredibly they continue to try to deceive the American people into thinking such draconian mandates are about helping children. They think all you have to do is say high expectations, and any argument against their claim is made difficult.
I used to think these lawmakers and faux ed. leaders just didn’t understand. Coming to the job with little or no experience or understanding about children means they don’t know better. But there has been too much out there now to give them any excuses whatsoever.
The whole Ethan Rediske affair spoke so loudly to what’s wrong with testing, not just for students with severe disabilities, but for all children, and not only in Florida, but throughout the country. You would have to be a hermit living in the deepest part of the forest not to know the harm these terrible tests cause our most vulnerable students.
Ethan’s Law was meant to exempt students with severe disabilities from having to take high-stakes tests. But FL Ed. Commissioner Pam Stewart said students “deserve testing.” So testing it is, and plenty of it, in the cloudy State of Florida. But it is going on everywhere!
In Tennessee they are supposedly field-testing their tests for students with severe disabilities through the National Center and State Collaborative which is all about Common Core State Standards. Parents hate it. As one teacher put it, this assessment is “a gutwrenching testing experience for students.”
But Tennessee Dept. of Ed. spokesperson Kelli Gauthier said “We will look at the results from the pilot to ensure that we’re striking the right balance between rigor and skill-level appropriateness and will provide more guidance to districts this summer.”
And what kind of guidance will that be? When you see the signature word rigor, you’ve got to know. I mean did these folks not see the video? Did they never hear or read about Ethan?
Of course there is always the big mouth school board member who says give the mandates a chance. I say investigate these people. Find out why it is they choose the way they do. Have they done their research?
These hyped up “can do” messages are everywhere. Louisiana’s Super. John White told the Huffington Post, “What I am not for is a bill saying students with disabilities can’t achieve traditional standards and even more than that, that we as adults shouldn’t be held accountable for helping them achieve traditional standards.”
But he should drop the word “we.” John White will not be held accountable when the students fail. It will be the teachers that are fired—replaced by Teach for America types. Maybe White will even be promoted. Perhaps the next U.S. Sec. of Ed. plaque already has his name on it.
Here of course is the euphemism. Teachers—fix the students with disabilities or else.
That word “can’t”—what happens when students can’t? Well Louisiana, while it argues against segregating students, already segregates them plenty in their NOLA charter schools and this also occurs in charters in other places . The students with disabilities don’t get into the charter schools. Tell me, will they bring back despicable institutions too?
States continue to move along, ignoring the voices of parents and teachers. They test children struggling with the severest difficulties with useless tests while parents pray for the kind of teaching that means something.
When mandates are wrong they are wrong. More and more parents and teachers see through these strange acclamations—that tests serve all students and that they bring everyone to the same level of achievement. They are lies.
And yet those in charge continue to pass off B.S. about field testing alternative tests to match the regular tests for accountability. They portray themselves as righteous advocates for those who struggle, when they are really quite the opposite.
They must know their message is off. But if for some reason they bizarrely still believe that they are right and that these tests really do help children, they need to wake up to reality.
I mean, they might think they will get cold water in hell too, but I doubt seriously that’s going to happen.