"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Headline That Says It All: "New testing standards devised for severely mentally impaired students"

The U. S. Department of Education has given "cognitively challenged" a whole new meaning, if you get my drift. The Spellings School Failure Enforcement Squad has come up with new demands in Florida to have children with IQs under 40 FCAT-ed each year and to have their scores figured into the failure rates:
Scores from this special assessment — designed for children classified by the state as profoundly mentally handicapped, among other disabilities — will likely count toward school grades in the 2009-10 school year.
So in fact these children, many of whom can't attend to their own bodily functions, will be tested in math and reading--and their scores will be added in to determine if the school is making AYP. Retardation, obviously, has no bounds--and I am not talking about these vicitimized children. From the Sun-Sentinel:
. . . federal authorities forced Florida education officials to develop the new alternate assessment this year for the students deemed unable to take the FCAT under any circumstance.

The U.S. Department of Education determined that the state's old measure was not sufficient for assessing students with severe cognitive disabilities at the lowest level of test taking, called participatory.

Participatory means that the student answers a question by gazing or pointing in the direction of a picture card, and the teacher records the answer. For example, a teacher holds up a picture of an American flag. Next, the teacher holds up picture cards of a tree, a star and a dog and asks the students to indicate which one is in the upper left corner of the flag.

State officials say the new assessment ensures that the performance of all students with disabilities will be included in whether a school meets the standard of Adequate Yearly Progress under the federal No Child Left Behind Act. If any students are left out of the assessment, schools face penalties. . . .
The only good part of this story is that, by 2009-2010, this abusive madness will be in the history books. If it is not, there is surely no way back.

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