Read All About It!

Well, the publicity is starting. It turns out that early in the week there will be a film crew here from a major news outlet. At this point I might as well state the potentially obvious, we are in the Boston area. The local ABC outlet has picked up our story and their award winning, Emmy nominated news anchor will be interviewing my daughter and me shortly. Maybe other outlets will take it off the national feed, this plight is obviously not just local as was seen in this article I mentioned previously.

Now, here is one problem I face. The school headmaster has not given me an answer, after two emails, about the medical excuse from the exam. It has been about two weeks. Do I mention this to the media? Since it is his responsibility (to document the medical excuse) and the only quasi answer from him was that he would ask others (no response from anyone since, even after I asked again) he does not look like a shining star. I have asked the school district senior administration questions about the requirements to get a high school diploma and do not get answers. Do I mention this?

I requested an emergency IEP meeting to get this resolved since I must sign the one for next year asap. It has taken weeks and it is now planned for June 11. The US Congress contacted me within TWO days of hearing my plight, the media within three. The school, well, weeks.

My goal is not to make the school look bad, although they can legally make this problem go away and don’t seem to want to, but is to just get my daughter excused from the exam. I am not fighting the NCLB laws. This is not political. Just excuse my daughter from the stress, anxiety, and ludicrious tedium of the exam. All the headmaster needs to do is accept her MED or absence and we are done, but alas, he does not seem to feel any of this is worth discussing or resolving. Maybe some national publicity will get his attention.

Time to get legal

This information is from The Center for Law and Education. The document referred to in this post may be seen in its entirety here. The references to MCAS are references to the Massachusetts implementation of the NCLB.

Do students have a right to express their opposition to the MCAS by refusing to take the test?

Students who choose not to take the test in order to express their opposition to the MCAS have protections under the Massachusetts and federal constitutions’ free expression clauses.1 In the 1969 case of Tinker v. Des Moines, the United States Supreme Court declared that students do not “shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech at the schoolhouse gate.”2 While this case determined that students had the right to protest in schools, it did not establish this as an absolute right. Instead, students have the right to free speech provided that their conduct does not “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”3 Therefore, schools can punish students if their conduct is disruptive to others; schools cannot, however, suspend students just because they fear that MCAS protest will cause a disruption.4 States also have free expression laws that ensure that students cannot be punished for exercising their right to free speech.

Students should be able to avoid punishment for protesting (as distinct from avoiding consequences for refusing to take the test) by ensuring that their behavior during the school day is not disruptive of the administration of the test or classes. If the school has not made any provision for how students who boycott will be otherwise engaged in a learning activity, the student who is boycotting should accord him/herself in a manner that cannot be seen as disruptive of the educational process. They can pass out leaflets, wear protest buttons or armbands, and publish anti-MCAS newsletters. Students can organize student groups against the MCAS and can even use school meeting rooms that other student groups are allowed to use after school.

1 The Massachusetts Constitution states, “The right of free speech shall not be abridged.” (Mass. Const. Ann. Pt. 1, Art. XVI). The First Amendment of the United States Constitution reads, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech….”
2 Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506 (1969).
3 Id. at 509.
4 See Tinker; see also Betussik v. Woodland R-IV School District, 30 F. Supp.2d 1173 (1999).

Now, let us not forget two things. First, the headmaster (principal) of my daughter’s school is the one to verify, claim, write, certify, whatever that a student either took the test, was absent or had a medical excuse. Not taking the exam is absent from the test, mind you. Second, let us not forget these words from the headmaster himself, publicly stated:

“Freedom at [Our] High includes the right to define one’s self, be one’s self, and feel safe within that definition, free from disrespect and harassment. Freedom at [Our] High includes the right to express one’s voice in our democratic decision-making and policy-making structures.”

My daughter is my life, I am her voice.

Don’t forget … and PUBLICITY!

There is one thing that people keep losing track of, this plight is from my daughter’s point of view. She should not be tested in any way because she cannot communicate. She will sit there knowing what is expected, knowing what to do, and cannot do it. The portfolio alternate test will cause her to be in this predicament daily! Things will be different, she will know it is a test, she will not be able to respond. Do you want to live like that over many months?

Today a major news outlet anchor woman spent about 45 minutes on the phone with me and will follow up. Also, our well known Congressman in Washington’s assistant called and will be briefing the Congressman who is popular, very vocal, and involved in the NCLB debate.

The question came up as to what I want the Congressman to do. I guess my first answer is fix the law, especially for this population. Yes, I want him to get my daughter excused from the exam, heck, if he can get people citizenship and stuff (don’t they do that?) he should be able to get a 15 year old out of a pointless exam. But the bigger issue is fixing this, awareness in Congress and parental protections. In essence, who has jurisdiction over my daughter when she is in class? Are parental rights overruled by state law? If she was “typical” she could LEGALLY sit there and not answer the questions, but my daughter must take the exam (yes, and not answer the questions but she probably wants to) against my wishes. If one cannot take an exam, why force one to pretend to take it?

Can they force a student who can’t communicate to take an exam where they must communicate? How about if you were to take the college boards written in English but were only allowed to answer in Xhosa?

Just me?

No, I don’t think so.
Read about Patti

Simple Answers

I have not received an answer from the Headmaster nor his associates on the simple question …

Since there were three “MED” results last year at my daughter’s high school, i.e., medical excuse from exam, someone must have accepted these medical notes and said “ok.” Who was that?

So I decided to do some more research on my own. I found on line the official “Principal’s Administration Manual” from the state DOE. A medical absence is simply accepted by the Principal and kept on file.

A student must provide a written statement from a licensed medical professional specifying the verifiable medical condition that prevents him or her from taking the test and the date(s) of the student’s absence due to this condition. This statement must be kept on file at the school.

So, it is simply the school itself (so to speak) that decides that a student has a valid medical excuse for an absence during the normal NCLB testing. Furthermore, it is the school itself that decides if and when to offer a make up exam.

This does not directly pertain to my daughter … or does it? Either way, it was a simple question, or so I thought.

Advocate’s parental advice?

I contacted a federation in the state that describes itself as:

The Federation is a center for parents and parent organizations to work together on behalf of children with special needs and their families.

I sent them the synopsis of my issue and asked for help in excusing my daughter from the exam. I will share the email traffic here. The email obviously rubbed me the wrong way …

Their response to my request:

Thank you for your email. I am sorry the NCLB has caused such distress for your family. Unfortunately, the NCLB is indeed the law, as has been pointed out to you.

HOWEVER, given the information you have given me, I do not see why your daughter should ever need to be involved in “testing,” in the traditional sense. In other words, she does not have to answer special questions in a testing situation. She has no need to know the NCLB exists.

The NCLB alternate exam requires your daughter’s teachers to assemble a portfolio of her work in accordance with the requirements of state curriculum standards. In assembling this portfolio, her teachers need only instruct her in the usual manner, making sure that her assignments are the ones they wish to place into the portfolio. She does not need to be told that any work is for a test. Your daughter’s work should be collected over time — during the course of the whole year, not in a rush during one week, for example. There should be no stress at all for your daughter during this process.

You can look at the educator’s guide to administering the NCLB alternate version here: [url]

I hope this is helpful.

Best regards,

xxxx

Information Specialist
Parent Training and Information

Not much help but there is one line in there that has me incensed, so I responded:

Your suggestion:

“She does not need to be told that any work is for a test.” is disturbing on several levels. The sentence says that it is a test, but do not tell your daughter.

Sorry, but my family values do not include lying or deceiving my daughter. Even if she has special needs.

Thank you for your time.

Finally, I received this:

I am sorry if you perceived my response to be advocating deception, which was certainly not my intention. Instead, I see a situation in which two parties have different and distinct interests. The interest of the state in this situation is to gather data with the intention of holding schools responsible for increasing student achievement. I perceived your interest, as expressed in your email, to be in sparing your daughter anxiety. I proposed a solution whereby both you and the state would be able to achieve your interests. My sense was that you needed an answer to your immediate problem, while you continue to advocate for your strongly held beliefs at the state level.

You have a difficult situation, and I wish you well.

Best regards,

She is still advocating deceiving my daughter to remove any anxiety or whatever. There is tremendous pressure to have photos and video included in the test. What do I tell my daughter that is about? How about we just deceive the state and make up answers and the portfolio over a beer?

Simple questions

I can not seem to get answers to some seemingly simple questions.

Since there were three “MED” results last year at my daughter’s high school, i.e., medical excuse from exam, someone must have accepted these medical notes and said “ok.” Who was that?

Asked directly of the state Department of Education and did not receive an answer. Asked directly the state Advocates for Children, no answer. Asked of the headmaster (principal) who passed along the question to others, still no response. Note that there were 236 MED results for grade 10 math and 181 MED results for grade 10 English state-wide in 2007, and no one knows how?

What are the district requirements for high school graduation?

Asked of the school district Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning. No response.

(I might as well just ask my daughter …)

State of confusion or state DOE?

Another response came in today from the state Department of Education.

I have been asked to respond to the e-mail you submitted to NCLB Accountability on the Department’s Web site. In your e-mail, you inquired about the repercussions of not allowing your daughter to participate in NCLB testing.

NCLB testing exists in response to the State’s Education Reform Act of 1993 and federal laws and regulations that require schools to provide all students with instruction in the core academic content areas of English language arts, mathematics, science and technology/engineering, and history and social science. The intent is to help ensure all students, including students with disabilities, are given every available opportunity to learn and demonstrate growth even if their progress is limited. Your daughter’s IEP team should determine how she will participate in NCLB. If the team agrees that your daughter is not able to participate in paper-and-pencil NCLB testing, she may still be able to participate in the alternate exam. As a member of your daughters IEP team, you help to determine how she will participate in NCLB. Participation in the exam would allow the school to submit evidence of the kind of instruction your daughter receives each day throughout the year and her response to the instruction. I want to assure you that participation in the alternate testing will not require your daughter to do anything she does not do every day at school.

It is the responsibility of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to make both parents and educators aware of the right of all children to a free and appropriate education and access to the curriculum. The repercussions of refusing to allow your daughter to have an exam portfolio created for her would fall on the school. Her non-participation would be counted against the school’s student participation rate, which is reported to the federal Department of Education.

Thank you,

This is interesting in several ways. The woman who sent the email is the Coordinator for the portfolio type of exam, for the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education at the state’s DOE. The question, as she mentions in her opening paragraph was simply, “what are the reprocussions if I do not allow my daughter to take the NCLB exam.” Her answer is in the last sentence, the rest is, um, a smoke screen?  

The repercussions of refusing to allow your daughter to have an exam portfolio created for her would fall on the school.

Also, extremely important, she says ” … of refusing to allow …” and that means that IT IS POSSIBLE TO REFUSE TO ALLOW my daughter to be tested.

The other day, I was told:

It is not legal for a parent to refuse to have their child participate in NCLB testing. However unlikely in your circumstances, the school and the district may enforce truancy laws and/or disciplinary action for unauthorized absences.

by a gentleman from the Accountability and Target Assistance, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

So, which is it? Do the “repercussions of refusing to allow your daughter … fall on the school.” or “the school and district may enforce truancy laws and/or disciplinary action …” Who gets the repercussions? The school or me or my daughter? The DOE obviously has no clue.

Here is the response I sent to the woman at the DOE:

Thank you very much for the information.

The only brief response I want to pass on to your email is about your sentence:

I want to assure you that participation in the alternate testing will not require your daughter to do anything she does not do every day at school.

The difference is, during non-participating time (i.e., when the test is not being conducted or to rephrase, when she is not being observed with the testing in mind) she most likely is very frustrated when asked to do something that she cannot do but she understands the request. During the time she is participating in the alternate testing she is not only very frustrated that she cannot do the action requested, but to add to the frustration is the anxiety, the angst, and the horrible realization that she is being tested and this “counts” for something, and she cannot do it. That puts her in a horrendous position.

It is good to know that the repercussions of her not taking the exam fall on the school, not the family.

Again, thank your for your time and the response.

Sidetracking bomb shell …

If your child is mildly to severely disabled, aspergers to cerebral palsy, it is in the school district’s best interest to have your child pass the NCLB testing. It also may be totally in their control. In my daughter’s case, the teacher makes up the exam, has total control. In other instances, the accommodations can give a tremendous advantage. There are kids passing the exam when no one thought they would or could … only to find out the consequences to the family. Loss of services and aid to the family for starters. And this is happening.

More shortly, and I will back this up.

Tantalizing bits of information

After talks with some people and research on the internet I have learned some things. Three students from my daughter’s high school received a grade of “MED” on the 10th grade NCLB exam. Digging further in the state’s documentation I find:

Medically Documented Absence (MED). Any student who obtained a written statement from a licensed medical professional, stating both the medical reason that prevented him or her from taking the test and the date(s) for which he or she was absent due to the medical condition, received a performance level of MED.

Fascinating, but I find nothing else. My big question is, “To whom does the written statement go?” I sent that question in an email to the headmaster who has passed it on to two other people whose names mean nothing to me. I sent an email to the Dept. of Education asking, but I don’t think they read my emails anymore!

If this type of excuse is acceptable, who makes that determination? The headmaster, the district, the DOE, a judge?

There were also four “ABS” or absences. The student must have missed the exam and the three make up opportunities. Now, I would guess that neither ABS nor MED are available to a student who is subjected to the portfolio type of NCLB since that happens over the entire school year.

I also learned that the requirements to get a high school diploma in this state are simply to pass the NCLB (yes, it is graded) and then to “meet the requirements of the local district.”

There are grave implications there, I will discuss shortly.

Keeping my eye on the goal

Understand that my goal is not to overturn NCLB or to be political. It is simply that I do not want my daughter tested. As to why, the why page on the web site spells it out. Testing her is a waste of time and money. But, more importantly to me and my daughter, it may be causing her great harm in anxiety and mental anguish with her knowing that she will be and is being tested and she cannot communicate “out” to her testers with the answers.

So, going for the standard test does NOT solve that issue. It does solve the issue of classroom and teacher time being wasted as it reduces the waste to six or eight hours. Now I need to work on eliminating the harm to my daughter.

The dawn breaks … a way out (maybe)

Things are becoming clearer and making both more and less sense. First some background.

In my state there are basically three levels of NCLB tests given. The first is the standard test given to ‘typical’ (i.e., normal) students. Standardized, timed, etc. The second level is the standard test with accommodations. These are individualized based on the student. It might mean more time for the exam, a sign language interpretor, etc. The third level of the exam is actually the production of a portfolio. This is a rather large document on the child that encompasses a lot about them. The teacher works for weeks (or months) on it, gathering information from the child and about the child, including pictures and video. This is reserved for the most disabled of the student population.

We have something called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This is for any student who needs accommodations throughout the school year. Some students have an IEP that states the student needs extra time on exams and that is the only difference. Others, such as my daughter, have issues in the IEP concerning transportation, physical, occupational and visual therapies, etc. The IEP “team” is made up of the parent(s), teacher(s), therapist(s), and possibly school administrator(s). They meet once a year. There are procedures for the parents to accept the IEP, reject all or part, and to appeal decisions.

In this state, it is the IEP team and thus the IEP itself that states the type of NCLB testing the student will have.

I do not want my daughter to have a portfolio. This takes a lot of time and effort both by the teacher and my daughter. It will demonstrate that she cannot be tested. It in itself is a test. All the time spent on photographing, video taping, writing, testing, planning, executing could be better off spent working on simple life skills or therapies. Remember, the teacher in this case makes everything up … what to ask her to do or show, how it is done, when, etc. There is no standardization, no comparison to the past, no comparison to others. A total waste.

If this version is a waste of time and energy, I prefer my daughter take the standard version of the exam and hand in a blank answer book with drool on it. At least only six or eight hours will be wasted. And I have other ideas …

I have sent the following email to my daughter’s teacher:

I hereby formally request a reconvening of my daughter’s IEP team to discuss her NCLB exam methods.

We must pay particular attention to the following (emphasis mine) from the State’s Department of Education 2008 Educator’s Manual for NCLB-Alt:

“Ensure that all students with disabilities participate in NCLB in the manner prescribed by their IEP or 504 team.”

“When the nature and complexity of a student’s disability present significant barriers or challenges to standardized testing, even though the student may be working at or near grade-level expectations, the student’s IEP Team or 504 team may designate the student to take an alternate assessment in that subject.”

The type of exam that my daughter is subjected to is determined by her IEP team. Note that the guidelines specify that the team MAY choose an alternate assessment but is not mandated to do so.

With the support and aid of the state’s Governor’s office, I am in touch with the DOE about exempting my daughter from the NCLB altogether. With the support and aid of a State Representative, I am in touch with the Advocates for Children about the same issue. My web site devoted to the cause has had over 500 hits in the last 6 days including those from the state and federal governments as well as media outlets.

My daughter has NO communication skills and thus she is completely unable to answer any question offered to her in any form that is understandable by her educators. I strongly feel that her ability to take the standard NCLB, the NCLB Alternate Assessment, or any form of the NCLB is equal in all regards. In other words, she will fail an Alternate Assessment as readily, completely, and without question as she would the standard NCLB. Subjecting her to all the additional time and effort in an Alternate Assessment is a complete and total waste of classroom time, her time, your time, and gets no additional information for her, you, the school, the district, the state, nor the federal government. I feel strongly that subjecting her to the NCLB Alternate Assessment is detrimental and harmful to her in numerous ways. I do not want her to be subjected to the NCLB at all in light of the fact that she will never get a high school diploma nor does she even receive grades. I feel especially strongly that if in fact any NCLB is mandated for her, it be the standard exam as that taken by her peers. The Department of Education clearly leaves the decision as to which exam she will be subject to to her IEP team. As a member of said team, I request an immediate meeting to discuss the issue and have the guidelines for her stated in an IEP that I can sign.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

More contacts and a response

I sent an email to CNN, MSNBC, Oprah and a local big city television news magazine. I know CNN when on the site within an hour. No word though …

The Department of Education did respond … with a complete and total cop-out.

We appreciate your interest and your concern for the welfare of your child and your rights as a parent. There is more information about our alternative assessment program than can be provided in an e-mail message. Information on the program is available here: [url].

Likewise, our Program Quality Assurance (PQA) group can provide assistance regarding your rights as a parent under applicable civil rights and special education laws. The Web site for PQA is here: [url]. Specific legal questions would have to be handled by our legal staff: [email address].

If you are interested in participating in or informing broader policy initiatives with respect to state and federal law, I encourage you to reach out to your state representative and Senators.

As you may know, NCLB is due to be reauthorized this year. More information on the reauthorization process and the measures being proposed are available here: http://www.ed.gov/nclb/overview/intro/
reauth/index.html.

The federal Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) encourages the public to share their thoughts and ideas on how it may better serve individuals with disabilities, their families and their communities. The OSERS Web site is here: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/index.html.

Regards,

The state responds!

First, though, I sent the synopsis of the web site to my city’s major newspapers. The Advocates for Children non-profit said they will contact me shortly. But … the state responded. I got an email from the NCLB Accountability and Targeted Assistance person at the Dept. of Education. Basically some of his response is a cut and paste from the laws and things I site on this web site! First, here is his email to me:

Thank you for your e-mail requesting clarification of the consequences for refusing to allow your severely disabled daughter from participating in the NCLB program. In reading the information on your Web site it is understandable that you have come to the conclusion that no benefit may be gained from allowing your daughter to participate in testing. However, there are important reasons why state law requires student participation in academic assessments, even for those students with severe disabilities.

First, it is important to measure the academic performance of students with the most significant disabilities. Before 1998, learning was not measured or reported for such students. By taking alternate assessments, students become more visible in their school and have a greater chance of being considered when decisions are made to allocate staff and resources. Even the most severely disabled students deserve equitable access to a high quality education while in school. The evidence submitted in portfolios helps ensure that students with the most intensive disabilities have an opportunity to show what they know and to receive instruction at a level that is challenging and attainable.

Second, it is important include students with significant disabilities in standards-based instruction is to explore their capabilities, whatever those capabilities may be. Performance expectations for severely disabled students have traditionally been quite low, and data on their performance have only recently been collected. Although life skills are critical for such students to function as independently as possible, academic skills are also important. Learning standards are defined as “valued outcomes for ALL students.”

Some students with disabilities have never been taught academic skills and concepts, even at very basic levels. Yet all students are capable of learning at a level that engages and challenges them. Teachers who have incorporated learning standards into their instruction cite unanticipated gains in students’ performance and understanding.

An additional advantage to using this approach is that some social, communication, motor, self-help, and other daily living skills can be addressed during activities in which learning standards are taught.

It is not legal for a parent to refuse to have their child participate in NCLB testing. However unlikely in your circumstances, the school and the district may enforce truancy laws and/or disciplinary action for unauthorized absences.

Finally, the NCLB program is used to hold schools and districts accountable, on a yearly basis, for the progress they have made toward the objective of the No Child Left Behind Law that all students be proficient in Reading and Mathematics by 2014. Students not participating in NCLB tests are counted against the school’s and the district’s participation rate.

We encourage you to contact us if you have further questions regarding the implications for non-participation in NCLB testing. Not everyone agrees with NCLB. But the primary goal underlying this law is nevertheless important – for parents, educators, and other stakeholders to help all children learn to the best of their ability. Regards,

There is nothing new there and actually some errors. That being said, here is my response:

Thank you for your response.

First, it is important to measure the academic performance of students with the most significant disabilities. … The evidence submitted in portfolios helps ensure that students with the most intensive disabilities have an opportunity to show what they know and to receive instruction at a level that is challenging and attainable.

I agree, but in my daughter’s case, she cannot communicate AT ALL. There is no way she will have the “opportunity to show what [she] knows.” This is well documented by the school and the medical community, she cannot “show” anything.

Although life skills are critical for such students to function as independently as possible, academic skills are also important. Learning standards are defined as “valued outcomes for ALL students.”

Academic skills are important, but not for this population. The NCLB is based on a law demanding, in your words, “all students be proficient in Reading and Mathematics by 2014.” This is completely outside the realm of logic to consider math and reading when it comes to my daughter.

Some students with disabilities have never been taught academic skills and concepts, even at very basic levels. Yet all students are capable of learning at a level that engages and challenges them.

This is patently untrue. The first sentence is correct, but not all students are capable of learning the subjects in question here at any level. And if they are, some cannot be tested. There is absolutely no way known to the academic or medical communities of Massachusetts to show what level my daughter is capable of learning at nor to know what level she has achieved.

Teachers who have incorporated learning standards into their instruction cite unanticipated gains in students’ performance and understanding.

Can you show any studies on THIS population to back that up?

An additional advantage to using this approach is that some social, communication, motor, self-help, and other daily living skills can be addressed during activities in which learning standards are taught.

So why waste time on the “learning standards” that will have no effect on her life whatsoever, nor can they be shown to work, and why not spend all the time on social, communication, motor, self-help and other daily living skills which will improve her quality of life? There is a waste of time and money trying to teach the unteachable when the skills that might be advantageous are a sideline.

It is not legal for a parent to refuse to have their child participate in NCLB testing. However unlikely in your circumstances, the school and the district may enforce truancy laws and/or disciplinary action for unauthorized absences.

They cannot withhold the diploma that she has been told she will never receive. If I am arrested who will compound her medicines in the morning, as I do daily, and administer the 16 that I do now? What are the truancy laws or disciplinary actions? Does the state arrest severely disabled 15 year old girls in wheelchairs or their sole care taker? I need a reason to allow her to be subjected to the exam, not threats saying I must allow it.

Finally, the NCLB program is used to hold schools and districts accountable, on a yearly basis, for the progress they have made toward the objective of the No Child Left Behind Law that all students be proficient in Reading and Mathematics by 2014.

How do you hold someone accountable when they cannot report? Was Terri Schiavo held accountable for anything after her cardiac arrest? How can the NCLB program hold someone accountable but they have no way AT ALL to account?

We encourage you to contact us if you have further questions regarding the implications for non-participation in NCLB testing.

I do have a further question. Why is my daughter potentially made to suffer when the NCLB program will get no information? There are several reasons the testing is to my daughter’s detriment. As all of us, my daughter may very well experience test anxiety. She may very well know that her future depends on the NCLB, as with all her peers. She may very well also know that she will completely fail the exam. How would one deal with knowing you had to take an exam that determines your future (SAT, LSAT, biopsy, …) and that you will absolutely fail since you cannot control the answer? During the testing, my daughter will be asked questions or asked to perform an action such as choose an object, or make a choice. There is an excellent chance she will understand the question and she will have no way to do what is asked. She cannot control her motions. It is as if you appeared to be in a coma and are fully aware of your surroundings. All you want to do is scream to the doctors standing there, but alas, you have no control of your body. The frustration must be unbearable. I do not want to subject my daughter to this. My daughter is already dealing with being told she will never graduate high school with a diploma as her peers will. She does not receive grades. She knows she will fail this exam. Why, in fact, should she try anyway? Not everyone agrees with NCLB. But the primary goal underlying this law is nevertheless important – for parents, educators, and other stakeholders to help all children learn to the best of their ability. Actually, I agree with the NCLB and think it is important. I am a pedagogue at heart having taught at several universities and won awards at such. BUT, it is not applicable for this population. I await your response. Thank you.

Any bets on if I will get a response?

Her husband started it …

Sent the synopsis (above, on the menu bar) to First Lady Laura Bush.

School won’t help … or can’t

So I sent a short email to the headmaster this morning asking if he had any additional information. Here is his response a few hours later:

hi

i was going to call you on monday…the state doe wants every child — no matter their disability — to take the [nclb test].  i disagree with that expectation for a child like [your daughter].  that is the decision, however.  what do you want to do now?

Darn good question. I will think about that.

People are getting interested …

Arthur from the Governor’s office spoke with the DOE. I got an email from Ben, the Staff Director of one of my state representatives (on the state level).  He contacts my state’s Advocates for Children, a non-profit organization. I will call them next Monday, as they requested.

Over 400 unique vistors to the web site as of today!

Getting some attention … and a synopsis

I just got a call from “Arthur” in the Governor’s office! He wants to help and will contact the Department of Education (DOE). To make things easier, he has asked me to put all the information into a single statement that can be referred to, easier than bouncing around on the web site when talking to someone.

I just sent emails to my State Representatives in the State House, and to my two Senators in Washington.

The statement that I wrote for Arthur is posted on the menu bar above under “Synopsis.”

Time to go public

I sent an email to the Governor’s office today. It basically contained a link to the site, it will be interesting to see what happens.

Leave my child behind …

This blog is the place to discuss how to deal with the No Child Left Behind implementations that are detrimental to our children. The site went live today. I sent the note seen here to the headmaster today. Let’s see what happens.