To the Editor:
I was a special education teacher for 18 years in Tennessee and Georgia, and have been bothered by what the No Child Left Behind Act is doing to education, especially its repercussions for students with disabilities. Yes, some students can take and pass their state tests, but it is totally unfair to set unrealistic expectations for those who need to learn survival, coping, and real-life skills.
The public is not fully aware of all that educators are facing. Even though I am no longer actively teaching, I am still extremely concerned about the prognosis for some education systems, and I have a vested interest in what is going to happen to my former students.
Educating children is difficult enough with all of life’s challenges. Now we also have to worry about whether or not a child can pass a test to prove our accountability. Would we not rather be teaching children how to get along with others in this democratic society and become productive citizens who thrive?
Instead, we are increasing the already high dropout rate by forcing students with disabilities and slow learners to fit into a grade-level box. What happened to individualized instruction?