Re: sped split on state tests in other parts of country?
- To: "'firstname.lastname@example.org'" <email@example.com>
- Subject: Re: sped split on state tests in other parts of country?
- From: "Roberts, John - Vanguard High School" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Fri, 9 May 2003 15:09:18 -0400
It really doesn't matter. They change the rules daily (literally) in
Florida. Our Exceptional Students are awarded (rewarded) with a "regular"
diploma upon satisfying graduation requirements outlined in their
IEP's.......but, by God, we make 'em fail it twice first! (FCAT) Mike
From: Lisa Guisbond [mailto:email@example.com
Sent: Friday, May 09, 2003 1:38 PM
Subject: [arn-l] sped split on state tests in other parts of country?
The MA House of Representatives voted Tuesday night to allow local
districts to grant diplomas to special needs students who fulfill local
requirements regardless of MCAS. This, although obviously not anywhere
near sufficient, was nevertheless a stunning turn of events considering
the heretofore absolute support given the high-stakes MCAS by the
legislative leadership, governors past and present, business, major
media, you name the power structure.
So then comes the Boston Herald story below quoting a well-known
"special needs advocate" decrying the vote as bad for special needs kids
because it "lets schools off the hook." He has been espousing this view
for years now and as a result is the favored choice to represent the
"sped point of view" on panels and at forums organized by MCAS
supporters. I know that, perhaps partly as a result of his "leadership"
there are some in the special needs community who buy the notion that
high stakes testing is a valuable tool to hold districts feet to the
fire and force them to give sped kids "access to the curriculum" and
perhaps some services and supports, but I'm wondering how this plays out
in other parts of the country.
Can anyone tell me if this exists in other states: this supposed split
within the sped community between those who detest the tests and what
they do to sped kids and those who think they really provide
accountability that has been lacking?
Special ed advocates slam MCAS exemption
by Kevin Rothstein
Thursday, May 8, 2003
A House move to allow special education students to be exempted from the
MCAS graduation requirement met with criticism from advocates yesterday
who warned it would lead to a rollback of services to their kids.
``It really lets schools off the hook,'' said Richard Robison, head of
the Federation for Children with Special Needs. ``We're pretty concerned
Randolph special needs student Jonathan Galina passed the MCAS this
year, just before he was to graduate. The 21-year-old called the House
vote a ``huge victory for me.''
``I am thankful I passed, but I think there should be exemptions for
some people, especially to the ones that really try,'' he said.
The House vote late Tuesday night met with stiff opposition from Gov.
Mitt Romney, who vowed not to waver from his commitment to the
Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test. The Senate will take
up the measure today.
``Whether a person has a special need such as sight impairment or other
special need, or whether they're without special needs, they need to
have a degree mean the same thing,'' Romney said.
Special ed students have made great strides in passing the MCAS, which
for the first time this year is a graduation requirement, according to
state Department of Education figures. Only 30 percent of this year's
seniors passed the exam at first, but that number has soared to 73
Some kids and their parents applauded the idea. Alexander Freeman, 15,
of Brookline, has cerebral palsy but is an excellent writer, according
to his mother. He writes poetry and loves his film class. But he can't
do math, meaning he probably won't pass.
``I am very happy that the House has made this decision and I hope that
the Senate agrees to it too,'' he said.
But educators who favor the high-stakes test thought otherwise.
``Bad timing, bad idea,'' said Boston Superintendent Thomas W. Payzant.
``We've worked so hard to correct for low expectations of special
Payzant also said there could be repercussions from the federal
government, which through the No Child Left Behind Act expects nearly
all special ed kids to be tested.
Another fear is kids who fail the MCAS will be called special ed only so
they are exempt from the graduation requirement.
Elisabeth J. Beardsley contributed to this report.
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