Wednesday, August 29, 2007

On my soap box.....

I was asked to write an editorial and I'm not quite sure yet if i am going to do it. I was also asked to be interviewed for television and have considered that. Here's the deal....

Saturday I was watching the news as they were talking about schools being on the need to improve list and this is why. This is taken from the Tulsa World.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to make "adequate yearly progress," or AYP, in reading and math test scores, the number of students who take standardized tests and attendance or graduation rates.

If schools do not make AYP for two consecutive years, they are named to the Oklahoma School Improvement List. Likewise, it takes two consecutive years of making AYP for a school to be removed from the list.

Because schools are expected to have 100 percent of students demonstrating proficiency in reading and math by 2013-14, Oklahoma is incrementally raising minimum requirements for schools to meet in those two categories.

A principal in a school district here (not TPS) said that the reason these scores are low is because of the Special Education children.
Here is the quote without the name....
officials said this school did not make AYP in test scores for special-education students in 2006-07, as well as reading scores for English Language Learners in 2005-06.

Now for the soap box...
As a mother of a child in special education, I find this comment offensive. If you don't want the special ed children to bring your scores down, then don't give them a test that is designed for them to fail.
They can't think on the same level, so they will fail. Some need it given orally, but that is forbidden, so they will fail. Some need it in smaller portions, but that's is forbidden, so they will fail.
Some of these children can't read, write, walk, or talk, and they still have to take it so again, they will fail.

If you're going to blame the problem on someone, don't blame it on the children that you never gave a chance. Giving them a chance would be giving them something to see if they have improved on THEIR level.

Ian has improved so much over the past year. In one year, he went from a 4th grade level all the way to a 6th grade level. How is that for improving? Do they look at that? No. Do they test them for that? No. In this short amount of time, he has been able to leave a special ed classroom and participate in a regular class with the 6th grade curriculum. No special classes and no special privileges. How is that for improvement?

So why blame the ones that can't help it. If you want a real assessment, then make a real test and testing procedure. This NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND leaves so many children behind and scolds the teachers and schools for things that are beyond their control.

I understand what the principal was trying to say. But don't go on public television and degrade the special education students because you are not willing to go to the government to fight and make this change.

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