The Senate ESEA Bill and Students with Disabilities

Diane Ravitch's blog

A reader wrote to ask whether the Senate revision of No Child Left Behind would permit states to develop alternate curricula and assessments for students with disabilities, and whether the bill will eliminate Secretary Duncan’s mandate that only 1% of children with disabilities could be allowed alternate assessments.

My inside source on the Senate committee staff told me that the authors of the bill wanted to permit states to have more flexibility but the “disability community” insisted on the status quo. They want all children, except the 1% who are most severely disabled, to take exactly the same tests. He suggested that if there were disability groups and parents who thought differently and who wanted greater state and local flexibility, they should make their voices heard.

In New York, when the first Common Core tests were given, only 5% of children with disabilities reached proficient, as compared to 30% of…

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