In announcing a new emphasis and "major shift," the US Department of Education will now demand that states show educational progress for students with disabilities.
Arne Duncan announced that, shockingly, students with disabilities do poorly in school. They perform below level in both English and math. No, there aren't any qualifiers attached to that. Arne is bothered that students with very low IQs, students with low function, students who have processing problems, students who have any number of impairments-- these students are performing below grade level.
"We know that when students with disabilities are held to high
expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel," Duncan
said. (per NPR coverage)
And I'm pretty sure we don't know any such thing. I'm pretty sure that the special needs students in schools across the country are special needs precisely because they have trouble meeting the usual expectations.
But who knows. Maybe Arne is on to something. Maybe blind students can't see because nobody expects them to. Maybe the student a colleague had in class years ago, who was literally rolled into the room and propped up in a corner so that he could be "exposed" to band-- maybe that child's problems were just low expectations. Maybe IEPs are actually assigned randomly, for no reason at all.
And that's not even the stupidest thing. We're not there yet.
Kevin Huffman, education boss of Tennessee, also chimed in on the conference call, to explain why disabled students do poorly, and how to fix it.
He said most lag behind because they're not expected to succeed if
they're given more demanding schoolwork and because they're seldom
That's it. We should just demand that disabled students should do harder work and take more tests.
When Florida was harassing Andrea Rediske to have her dying, mentally disabled child to take tests, they were actually doing him a favor, and not participating in state-sponsered abuse.
Don't tell me reading is hard because of your dyslexia, kid. Just do it. And take this test.
We don't need IEPs-- we need expectations and demands. We don't need student support and special education programs-- we need more testing. We don't need consideration for the individual child's needs-- we just need to demand that the child get up to speed, learn things, and most of all TAKE THE DAMN TESTS. Because then, and only then, will we be able to make all student disabilities simply disappear.
This is just so stunningly, awesomely dumb, it's hard to take in. Do they imagine that disabled students are just all faking, or that the specialists who diagnose these various problems are just making shit up for giggles? Either way, Duncan and Huffman have set an entirely new high bar for ignorance, insensitivity, and just plain flat out stupidity.