USDE to Students with Disabilities: Stop Using a Crutch!

Parents of children with disabilities, the US Dept of Education is proposing abolishing the alternative assessment.

Arne Duncan has posited that allowing students with significant disabilities to take modified state assessments “prevents these students from reaching their full potential, and prevents our country from benefitting from that potential.”

Keep in mind that IDEA is up for reauthorization and this will provide an opportunity for lots of backdoor amendments …similar to the reauthorization of FERPA….that bypassed proper legislation and was unilaterally amended….. which now makes it legal for the state to share our children’s private information with 3rd party vendors. The USDE plans to amend IDEA in the same fashion.

Moreover, this EdWeek article raises a great point about how Core impacts students with disabilities. PARCC and Smarter Balance common core aligned tests are setting limitations and/or disclaimers against students who require read aloud accomodations due to disability.

“And now critics on either side say the consortia’s decisions on reading aloud could be setting districts up for violations of special education law, or could ultimately leave a swath of students unable to read because the read-aloud accommodation was used as a crutch.”

Since when is a legitimate disability considered a “crutch?” This is disturbing.

My concerns, are PARCC and Smarter balance tests infringing on 504/IEP/ADA/IDEA rights promulgated by the federal govt?

Do the Core standards undermine these inherent federally protected rights?

Is Core setting student with disabilities up to Fail and if so, what is the alternative for them besides graduating with a degree?

I dont have any answers, but I can certainly say that the impact core standards and core aligned tests are having on special education students and the direction USDE is taking toward those with learning disabilities is very disturbing indeed.

Given this direction, I sense lawsuits against districts and/or NYSED will follow in the near future for violating rights unless and until USDE amends IDEA by executive order (like they did with FERPA). If that should happen, then students with disabilities may have very limited options in so far as choosing is concerned I fear.




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