I read with dismay an article in the Washington Post about the Obama administration’s new plans to tighten oversight of states’ special education programs by applying “more stringent criteria” for outcomes. Unfortunately, this means the standards will be based on standardized tests.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Tuesday that for the first time his department will also consider outcomes such as: how well special-education students score on standardized tests, the gap in test scores between students with and without disabilities, the high school graduation rate for disabled students, and other measures of achievement.
“Every child, regardless of income, race, background, or disability, can succeed if provided the opportunity to learn,” Duncan told reporters. “We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to the general curriculum in the regular classroom, they excel.”
I disagree. High expectations for students with underlying deficits in foundational thinking skills and learning abilities will not help them succeed. Continue reading “Opening the Venetian Blinds”