Education Secretary Arne Duncan has started a 15-state “listening tour” on No Child Left Behind, and during his first visit, to rural West Virginia, he heard from a special education teacher:
Reichard told Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Tuesday that she works all year long to boost the self-esteem of mentally impaired students at Bunker Hill Elementary, only to see them fall apart over standardized tests. "They feel so good about themselves, and then they look at a two-paragraph reading passage, and they know six words," Reichard said. "I have one child here that's a nonreader, and she's going to have to take the test, and she's going to cry.
Is Duncan offering a hint of what might be coming in NCLB and testing of students with disabilities? His response to this teacher was that her story was an example of how the federal government should be “looser” with how states meet goals. This will be a theme to watch.
The Education Department says these meetings will be taped and summaries will be published on the department’s website. A synopsis of the West Virginia trip isn’t available yet, but some pictures of the trip are here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.