Monday, August 24, 2015

CURMUDGUCATION: Duncan: Magical One Size Fits All Test Unicorn

CURMUDGUCATION: Duncan: Magical One Size Fits All Test Unicorn:

Duncan: Magical One Size Fits All Test Unicorn

One of the central tenets of Arne Duncan's edu-amateur structure of beliefs is that Low Expectations Are Bad. This has led him to the corollary that special education, adaptations, modified curriculum, and specially altered assessments are all bad things, that special ed is a morass of perfectly capable students who have been shunted into learning support programs because of race or misbehavior or any number of reasons. Once in special ed, these students go into academic free fall because they are surrounded by teachers who expect them to do poorly.

Like much that comes out of Duncan, this is not 100% baloney. If we're honest, we all know stories of students who ended up labeled special needs for every reason from being a behavior problem to having insistent parents-- but not actually needing a Learning Support label.

But Duncan's continues suggesting that the entire system of structures, rules, and pedagogy that has sprung up a some sort of complex dodge, a bizarre lie perpetuated as a way to keep students, selected almost at random, held back and stomped down. This is just... weird. One would think that in all his years in Chicago, he would have met at least one student who struggled with the difficulties of a disability that truly rendered her unable to achieve at the same level and pace of her fellow students.

We've seen Arne argue that all students with disabilities just need teachers who expect them to do well. We've watched him struggle through a grilling about USED's (non-existent) policy for helping students with dyslexia.

Well, here comes the latest USED pronouncement on the subject: Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities, a rule that is supposed to take effect in about a month.

The rule is laced with the now-usual Department of Education balderdash. Let's open with this:

High standards and high expectations for all students and an accountability system that provides 
CURMUDGUCATION: Duncan: Magical One Size Fits All Test Unicorn: