Local media is finally starting to get the message about NCLB.
This mornings Albuquerque Journal carried this editorial.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Tweak Annual Testing For Special Education
Public schools should not be excused from providing the best possible
education for children with disabilities.
But they shouldn't be punished for failing to achieve the impossible.
The No Child Left Behind regime needs to
be tempered with some common sense on how special ed students' test
achievement affects a school's overall rating.
Twenty-one of 82 Albuquerque public schools failed to make adequate
yearly progress because of special education
student scores on last spring's test. In that round of testing, 7
percent of Albuquerque's 6,726 students with disabilities
tested proficient in math and 13 percent were proficient in reading.
No Child Left Behind forces schools to focus on
special education students. That's good; there is no reason these
students shouldn't show steady improvement. And
they didn't in the 2005-2006 academic year; last spring's scores
represent a big drop from the year before.
But there is little reason to believe that all special education
students will become proficient in math and reading by 2014.
The No Child Left Behind Act is due for some tweaking. One change
that should be considered is designing a test to
measure the progress of students with disabilities, a test that
focuses on how far they've come rather than re-emphasizing
how far they would have to go to catch up to mainstream students.
Such a test might also help identify the schools or
teachers with the best approaches for improving the academic
performance of these challenging students.
My own perspective:
When will they realize that all students becoming proficient in math
and reading by 2014 is
laudable but not possible to achieve. Let's start to provide the
tools and resources to make real
progress and get realistic about what is really possible. The dropout
rate is still very high. Lets keep
those lost souls in the system rather than force them out which helps
our test scores.
Woody, Retired in Albuquerque