Nancy Bailey reports that special education is in jeopardy in Seattle.
You can’t put your guard down. Rest assured the wheels of ugly education reform continue to churn. Here is a recent Seattle Times headline, “Special Education is Ineffective and too Expensive, Report Says.”
Why? Well, students with special needs, 54 percent to be exact, aren’t managing to get their diplomas on time. They also aren’t going on to college as much as their non-disabled peers. They fail to always reach their NCLB goals on their IEPs. Students with emotional disabilities, I’m guessing with no real SPED services, are getting suspended 2 to 3 times more often than the students without disabilities. Second language students aren’t being served well, and parents have become concerned that their students won’t be employable.
I would argue that the reforms that have taken place since the reauthorizations that formed IDEA, along with NCLB and RTTT, have not been in the best interest of students with special needs across the country. The harsh budget cuts haven’t helped either.
But instead of fixing the problems in Seattle, and without reassessing the terrible reforms that have been foisted on schools and students with disabilities for the last 20 years or more, this is what the rubber stamped Blue Ribbon Commission Report from the Governor’s office, came up with:
The evidence is clear that disabilities do not cause disparate outcomes, but that the system itself perpetuates limitations in expectations and false belief systems about who children with disabilities can be and how much they can achieve in their lifetime.
“System,” of course, implies teachers. Hey, you teachers quit sitting around painting your nails and raise those expectations! And while you are at it—embrace Common Core! Why doesn’t the news say what they all really mean?
And this is how the Seattle Times puts it:
But the vast majority of children in special education do not have disabilities that prevent them from tackling the same rigorous academic subjects as general education students if they get the proper support, so those low numbers reflect shortcomings in the system, not the students.
And where does this all come from? What revolutionary research study have we missed? Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education!
You see, with higher expectations and plenty of rigor, most if not all of the students with disabilities can achieve excellent results. And that is where the Common Core comes in: Rigor for all. No exceptions, no excuses.