Today, I administered the state English Language Arts examination to 4 students who receive speech-language therapy from me.
Their academic accommodations require them to be tested in a small group, a separate location, with minimal distractions. Two receive additional time; two do not.
Twenty minutes into the test, JR, an 8-year-old boy, folded his arms on the table, then put his head down onto them.
As I watched him, his face became flushed. A few minutes later, he burst into tears.
I rushed to his side and asked, “What’s wrong? What’s the matter, JR?”
Between sobs, he replied, “I can’t read!”
My heart broke. He’s such a sweet child.
BUT HE CANNOT READ!
He knows it and it hurts him.
In his listening and speaking goals, JR is demonstrating satisfactory progress.
BUT HE CANNOT READ!
He is currently placed in a self-contained special education class and the parents of the majority of the students in his class have opted their children out of these tests. Some non-English speaking parents, however, have somehow been led to believe that these state tests are essential to their children’s academic success.
Those poor children are doomed to experience failure…over and over again, leading to poor self-image and self-disgust.
Meanwhile, teachers have been counseled to refrain from educating parents about their right to opt their children out of these state tests.
You see, many school districts are dependent on a high percentage of their children sitting (not passing) the tests to ensure the retention of their state funding.
Funding vs competent children!
SO… THE CHILDREN SUFFER!
JR is probably dyslexic, but this district has no provision for either testing for or remediation of it. Parents are told to have their children tested…at their own expense. After that…
There are so many learn-to-read programs available today that work. Isn’t it time for New York to join neighboring states in ensuring students with dyslexia receive a free and appropriate education?
In the way they learn?
It’s time for parents to become strong advocates for their children!