Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Goal for all special ed students: college and a career

According to an article on the Web site Disability Scoop from April 22, 2010, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has insanely high goals for all special education students regardless of ability level: they should all leave school ready for college and a career.

In a speech to the annual convention of the Council for Exceptional Children in Nashville, he called on special educators "to take personal responsibility for the success of their students after graduation". The problem, as he sees it, is a lack of high expectations for these students. Those pesky disabilities that prevent my sweet baby boy (OK, he's twenty-five, but I'm his mother) from walking, talking, feeding himself, and 500 other things that most people learn to do by the time they are three, are definitely not the problem. The magic needed to transform high expectations into unattainable goals will be the upcoming reauthorization and amendment of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB).

There is another possibility, though. Maybe Arne Duncan is just confused about the meaning of the word "all"? After doing a little internet research on the NCLB goal of 100% proficiency for all students in reading and math by the year 2014, I discovered that schools only have to report test scores for 95% of their students. So five out of a hundred students, mine included, are outside the realm of "all".

It sounds dishonest to me to say "all" when you mean 95% of "all". But how
could honesty, truth, and accuracy possibly have anything to do with education?

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