Why is the school the enemy? (updated)

I am still trying to learn more about the MED excuse from the NCLB test. I know that the Headmaster (Principal) needs to keep the mandatory note from a medical practitioner on file at the school. One would think someone at the school would know who gets and accepts this note, right? It has been weeks and many emails and no answer. So I sent a note today to the Superintendent of Schools. For some insane reason, I am still hiding their names. Here is today’s email:

I am sorry to bother the Superintendent of Schools with this, but I have asked this question of the Headmaster three times, and it has been asked of [Assistant Headmaster], [MCAS Coordinator], [Dean], [Dean of Students], [Office Manager – Office of Teaching and Learning] and [Deputy Superintendent for Teaching and Learning]. No one has given me an answer. It concerns a documented MED excuse from the MCAS exam, such as happened three times last year in the high school.

Here is my original email:

Your High School reported to the state that one student was medically excused from the English MCAS in 2007 and two were excused from the Math MCAS of the same year. Who makes the determination to accept the medical excuse? I understand that the state defines such an excuse as:

“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.”

This definition mentions the student having obtained a statement but I cannot find who that statement is given to. Since this happened on three occasions this past round of exams, I am hoping you can shed some light on this. Thank you for any and all information.

I would think it is a simple question. The matter has recently arisen in discussions with the media and government and I would like to stop appearing to be totally uninformed, especially as it concerns my daughter.

Do you have the answer?

Thank you for your time and attention.

I received an answer in the late evening …

I don’t have an answer to your question right now but I will get back to you before the end of next week.

Well, maybe a start to the end! I do appreciate the quick response from the Superintendent.

A day later, the answers! The Assistant Superintendent for Student Services writes:

When a student misses an entire window of testing, a doctor’s letter is given to the Main Office in the School. That qualifies the student for the designation of MED. I am assuming the letter is kept in the student’s cumulative file, right there in the Main Office. The “who makes the decision” is the Administrator, overseeing the MCAS in that building. Each school must submit to the DOE careful documentation and accounting of each test and each test-taker.

And the Headmaster (Principal) did not know that?

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.