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Tue Aug 26, 2014, 03:28 PM

I wonder if Arne Duncan is trying to end the category of special education?

I wonder if he and the other "reformers" think that if they demand that special education students perform on the same level as those who are not....I wonder if he thinks the issue of individual capabilities will go away like magic?

Mark Naison wrote about a meeting of a group of BATs (BadAss Teachers)...don't laugh there are tens of thousands of them already...with some of the people in the Education Department. Very angry BATs.

Arne Duncan Drops in Unexpectedly on Meeting With BATS at US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and Gets an Earful!

He says that the group of reps from the Ed Dept were surprised at their outspokenness. I said they had not been listening. They haven't a clue. Arne Duncan was not expected at the meeting.

Right in the middle of both of these conversations, Arne Duncan walked in and introduced himself! Needless to say, we were surprised because we were told he would NOT be at the meeting. Especially since he entered, along with one of his top aides, just as things were starting to get heated and real disagreements were emerging.

In response to his first comment, Marla Kilfoyle started speaking about her concerns about Department from her standpoint of the parent of a special needs student as well as a teacher. She said it appeared that Department policies were forcing school districts to disregard individual student IEP’s and exposing special needs students to inappropriate and abusive levels of testing.

Secretary Duncan deflected her remarks by saying that the Department was concerned that too many children of color were being inappropriately diagnosed as being Special Needs children and that once they were put in that category they were permanently marginalized. He then said “We want to make sure that all student are exposed to a rigorous curriculum.”

.....Secretary Duncan was someone taken aback by my comments. He said “ we might disagree about the language, but what I want is for all students to be able to take advanced placement courses or be exposed to an IB (International Baccalaureat) curriculum.


Interesting, since IB is another of the "non-profit" companies making a profit off public education.

At this point, Larry Proffitt interrupted the Secretary and said that in Tennessee, Special Needs students were being abused and humiliated by abusive and inappropriate testing and that their teachers knew this, and were afraid to speak out.


Arne Duncan then left the room.

Here's the sad part. At least it's the sad part for those of us teachers who have dealt with this issue many times over. Children are different. They learn differently, they have different capabilities. Many simply can NOT handle advanced courses. Some I have taught have enough heartache learning to read and handle life skills.

Arne has decided that money going to special education should now be tied to the scores of the special education students.

Federal special ed funding should not be based on student test scores

National Education Secretary Arne Duncan wants to tie test scores for special-education students to the amount of money a state receives from the federal government for reimbursement of special-education services. States that send back high test scores for special-education students will get more money; those with lower scores will get less or even no money.

Surely this will improve student learning, right?

Clearly, No Child Left Behind’s emphasis on tying student test scores to federal money was a major success! Cloning NCLB tools for special-education students sounds like a real winner.

Secretary Duncan argued, “We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel.”

If only teachers knew this was the magical brew to student success! Obviously teachers have never held special-education students to a robust curriculum and high expectations, right?


Arne has magical thinking about students. Wouldn't it be nice if it were all so simple? He thinks he can declare that such students with special needs will take IB courses, pass a tough test....and they will all be fixed.

Some very true comments from the Tucson Weekly.

Schools, Society And Snake Oil Salesmen

Remember George Bush's line about "the soft bigotry of low expectations"? It's a beautiful phrase with at least a kernel of truth to it, but its main purpose was to bludgeon teachers and administrators who work with low income students, saying to them, "You're all a bunch of bigots who think your students are too stupid to do well in school because they're black or brown or poor! Their low test scores are your fault, because you're lousy educators who refuse to have high expectations for your students."

The leaders of the education reform/privatization movement are accomplished snake oil salesmen. Like the con men of old who used to stand on the back of wagons pitching their wares, these purveyors of educational snake oil begin by rolling out their gruesome descriptions of the aches, pains and mortal illnesses their audience is afflicted with. The only difference is, their pitch is about educational, not physical ailments.They tell horror stories about the mortal danger our country is facing due to our "failing schools" which are sapping our children of their educational potential and turning us into a second rate economic power, soon to be overwhelmed by international competition. When their audience has been sufficiently beaten down, when they've lost all hope that our system of public schooling can ever succeed, when they're ready to grasp at any solution offered up with sufficient evangelical zeal, the con men pull a bottle of magic potion off the back of the wagon and wave it in the air, guaranteeing it will cure all our educational ills.

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Reply I wonder if Arne Duncan is trying to end the category of special education? (Original post)
madfloridian Aug 2014 OP
madfloridian Aug 2014 #1
Vincardog Aug 2014 #2
Salviati Aug 2014 #3
missingthebigdog Aug 2014 #4
jwirr Aug 2014 #6
Demeter Aug 2014 #7
missingthebigdog Aug 2014 #15
elehhhhna Aug 2014 #16
madfloridian Aug 2014 #9
missingthebigdog Aug 2014 #18
madfloridian Aug 2014 #19
missingthebigdog Aug 2014 #20
madfloridian Aug 2014 #22
missingthebigdog Aug 2014 #24
questionseverything Aug 2014 #26
liberal_at_heart Aug 2014 #28
madfloridian Aug 2014 #29
missingthebigdog Aug 2014 #30
madfloridian Aug 2014 #31
liberal_at_heart Aug 2014 #32
liberal_at_heart Aug 2014 #33
Salviati Aug 2014 #11
jwirr Aug 2014 #5
liberal_at_heart Aug 2014 #21
jwirr Aug 2014 #25
TBF Aug 2014 #8
Ka hrnt Aug 2014 #10
madfloridian Aug 2014 #12
questionseverything Aug 2014 #27
msongs Aug 2014 #13
madfloridian Aug 2014 #14
elehhhhna Aug 2014 #17
madfloridian Aug 2014 #23
madfloridian Sep 2014 #34
LWolf Sep 2014 #35

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 03:33 PM

1. .....

Not posting stuff in GD for a while. Tired of picking my bruised body off the floor there. I hope we can support each other's posts here by reccing to get some attention to them.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 03:36 PM

2. Arne Duncan is in favor of allowing private for profit companies to cherry pick all

The best and brightest students and leave all the special education and problem students to the underfunded private schools.

There has to be someone to blame.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 03:46 PM

3. The man has no business being the secretary of education

.....Secretary Duncan was someone taken aback by my comments. He said “ we might disagree about the language, but what I want is for all students to be able to take advanced placement courses or be exposed to an IB (International Baccalaureat) curriculum.


My sister currently works with EBD students and has worked with autistic students in the past. To expect them to perform at AP or IB levels is nothing short of abuse.

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Response to Salviati (Reply #3)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 04:22 PM

4. You don't believe people with Emotional disorders

Or behavior disorders, or autism are capable of succeeding in AP classes?

Why?

Not every person with a disability has an intellectual disability. There are many children on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum who are capable of excelling in an advanced curriculum, if they are given the opportunity to do so.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 04:31 PM

6. Of course and how does that justify ending classes for those who cannot?

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 04:33 PM

7. Maybe because my autistic child is NOT capable of a standard curriculum to begin with?

 

Why don't you go find a nice bridge to live under?

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Response to Demeter (Reply #7)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 06:24 PM

15. My daughter isn't either

She is severely autistic, non-verbal, and self injurious.

My son, however, is a very intelligent, bright young man who also happens to have autism. He was deprived of the opportunities available to his "typically developing" peers due to his diagnosis and the stigma attached to it.

Please understand that I am not trying to be critical of teachers here. We have had many devoted, hard-working educators work with our children over the years. But it upsets me to read posts on a liberal website that lump all kids with disabilities into the same category. No one would dare opine that a child confined to a wheelchair is not capable of succeeding in an AP class, but mention autism, or a behavioral disorder, and people automatically assume the kid is incapable.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #15)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 06:35 PM

16. but you prove the point. such diverse children will not learn the sam ethings at the same time.

 

one size fits all is a fallacy in education.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 05:26 PM

9. I posted this in the Education group as to not have to put up with this stuff.

You should be ashamed for misreading the care and concern of people here for special education students. So tired of saying teachers DO care, so tired of pointing out that these the talking points of the reformers who are out to save a few dollars by denying the individual learning abilities of students.

I have been posting here for over 12 years, and it is now to the point that I and others who stand up for public schools and public schools teachers have targets on our backs.

This is supposed to be a place where we can discuss without having to watch our backs all the time.

I am not going to alert because I would be blamed for alerting, as is always the case. I hope someone else will. It is usually not acceptable to have such posts in here. But then it is education, so it probably is.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #9)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 06:38 PM

18. Didn't mean to step on any toes.

I was not responding to your post, and my question is a reasonable one.

I have raised three children with autism. I have fought to get them what they need, and have stood behind the teachers who worked hard to help them. Unfortunately, I have also had to deal with way too many educators and administrators who did not believe that "these kinds of kids" belonged in their class/program/school.

Those people are the ones who undermine your message, not people like me.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #18)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 07:13 PM

19. Of all people who should celebrate the differences in the way students learn...

it's the parents of students with special needs. To even indicate that every child could do IB is a shame.

As to your criticisms of the schools, it was my point that our very own national secretary of education is pushing his message that everyone can be just alike. You should know better.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #19)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 07:20 PM

20. I am not in any way defending Mr. Duncan.

However, I would much rather hear assertions that all children are capable of AP classes than tolerate those who think some children aren't based upon a label.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #20)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 07:36 PM

22. Now that is just baloney. Read any of our posts here...we care very very much.

We care for the students. That is just the reformer propaganda that teachers don't care for kids We are the ones who want to teach them as individuals.

It really hurts to see so many fall for the attacks on us by this administration.

Saying that children are different is NOT labeling them....it is understanding them.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #22)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 08:25 PM

24. The post I originally responded to

said:
"My sister currently works with EBD students and has worked with autistic students in the past. To expect them to perform at AP or IB levels is nothing short of abuse."

This statement basically lumps all kids with EBD and/or autism in the category of "incapable of performing" at AP levels.

That poster may not have meant it that way, but surely you see how I could read it that way, don't you?

I believe that most teachers care for their students. I can't fathom why they would continue to be teachers if they didn't. The issue isn't whether they care, it's whether they can look past the disabilities and see the abilities.

Those who "get" this have a responsibility to call out those who don't. Instead, there seems to be a tendency to close ranks.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #24)

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 09:28 AM

26. aren't special ed students mainstreamed as much as possible?

which means those with ap capabilities are allowed to take ap courses and tests?

duncan is the one saying all students regardless of disabilities must pass the same tests or be defunded

if you are the parents of such students, you should be fighting him tooth and nail

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #24)

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 11:37 AM

28. just as with general education the issue with special education is not those students who can

perform at the AP level. Those classes are always available to anyone who is capable of taking them. No one is being prevented from taking those classes. This issue is Arne Duncan and others trying to push and force those who cannot perform at that level to do so. My son is a high performing autistic student. He loves science and he can even understand many of the concepts. However because of the fast pace, hectic environment, and communication problems such as dysgraphia he does not do well on science assignments or tests and maintains a C average in that class. Because his middle school decided that every student regardless of ability should take grade level math, my 10th grade student is now having to go back and learn basic arithmetic because he didn't learn it before. They simply passed him even though he didn't know the material. Now I have a 10th grader learning addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. I have never heard a single person say that anyone capable of taking an AP class should be prevented from doing so. I have however heard many people say that students who struggle should be forced to keep up with their general education peers, and as a mother of an autistic student I will fight that tooth and nail.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #24)

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 01:35 PM

29. "whether they can look past the disabilities and see the abilities."

I never worked with a teacher who couldn't do that. When mainstreaming grew, teachers who had not had training already were provided with inservice. I was not a spec ed teacher, but I worked with many of them and had students with disabilities in my classroom frequently.

As to your comment about closing rank.....teachers had better be doing that to survive the efforts by this Democratic administration to privatize education forever. And do parents really want this society of testing extremism? Maybe they'd better close ranks also.

Looks like parents of special needs students are going to have to fight this battle all over again with another 2 years of a Sec of Ed who thinks all students should be tested at IB level.

Both Obama and Arne Duncan have little respect for teachers in public schools who work their butts off.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #29)

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 07:38 PM

30. You are fortunate, indeed,

to have never worked with a teacher who couldn't do that. Apparently, we should have raised our children in your school district. We did not have that experience in any of the districts our children attended.

Always, there are a few exemplary teachers who "get" our kids, and who strive to help them reach their potential. On the other hand, there are also always a few teachers who think our kids don't belong in their class. We frequently encounter educators who believe that if a child cannot meet all of the requirements of their program without assistance or support, they belong somewhere else.

With all of that being said, *I* also belong somewhere else. I get the distinct impression that my "outsider" opinion is not welcome in this forum. I don't think you understand how by closing ranks you alienate the very people who would otherwise be your allies.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #30)

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 07:58 PM

31. Please stop using "closing ranks".

It is plain and simply self-defense.

Teachers have been treated as the enemy in America since Reagan's time. I just never saw a Democratic administration go at it so strongly.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #31)

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 08:12 PM

32. Closing ranks, self-defense, what the hell ever, I'm with you madfloridian.

My son has had one teacher who didn't get it(he thought my son who had a 3rd/4th grade math comprehension just wasn't trying hard enough in his 6th grade math class. I really didn't care for that teacher), but the profound positive impact that the great teachers have had on my son far, far, far outweigh that one bad one. I'm hoping the fact that almost all WA schools now qualify as "failing" will unite my state and provoke a state wide response from the teachers, parents, and schools. I'm going to look and see if there are any protests being planned.

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #30)

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 08:31 PM

33. I'm sorry you have not had the fortune to have that one special teacher that goes that extra mile

for your child missingthebigdog. My son has had some average teachers, one bad teacher, and one teacher I will treasure for the rest of my life. While it is true there are a few bad apples out there the far greater problem is that the good teachers don't have the resources to do what they need to do. They are expected to perform better and better with less and less resources. My son had a 3rd/4th grade math comprehension when he was forced to take a 6th grade math curriculum. He cried almost daily and would request to skip school. I had to tell him he had to go, not to give up, and we came up with a motto. Do what you can and don't worry about the rest. That is now our family motto. So if you find your opinion about whether every special education student can take AP classes is met with resistance it is because we know from personal experience that not all special education students can take AP classes. We are very happy for those who can take AP classes. We encourage those who are capable of taking them to take them. We just don't want our children to be forced to take those classes if they are not ready for them. Is that too much to ask?

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Response to missingthebigdog (Reply #4)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 05:33 PM

11. Some, absolutely

Many, maybe.

All? No. It is unreasonable and belittling of the struggles they do face and progress they do make to minimize it because they _should_ be performing at a level that should be a struggle for students without the challenges these students face.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 04:30 PM

5. Wonder if ole Arne has ever met a student like my daughter? She attended special education until

she was 21 and is now in a day activity center/work shop for adults. She cannot talk, walk, eat by herself and needs total care one to one. Does he even know that kids like her are in many of our schools? Does he care? Is he aware that private schools seldom take these students and this is why there is such a difference in scores between private and public schools? Does he know that us parents sued the school system because we could not send our children to school even though we paid taxes to the school districts? That is how these classes started. Integration.

If he does not know these facts then Arne needs to go to special education himself. What he is proposing will end the idea of community integration for this bunch of students.

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Response to jwirr (Reply #5)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 07:35 PM

21. that's what it is going to take. We are going to have to sue to protect our children

just as we did in the past.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #21)

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 09:08 AM

25. Yes, and it will take a lot of us lobbying. We do not have a professional lobby which means that it

is going to be just us again. All of us parents should set down right now and write to President Obama - he will hand them over to Arne - and tell of our experiences. Also our congresspersons. And we should do it right now and keep on until we see the kind of results we saw back then. Also for those who have a rethug congressman/woman write to them even though they may not listen because way back when they helped us get those programs through because they also have children just like ours. Remind them of when they were a responsive party.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 04:34 PM

8. Arne Duncan doesn't even have a degree in Education -

the man majored in sociology while he was playing basketball.

Worst cabinet pick by far, and that's saying a lot.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 05:30 PM

10. Arne: "I want everyone to be above average."

Pathetic and a disgrace to educators and education.

[Secretary Duncan] said “ we might disagree about the language, but what I want is for all students to be able to take advanced placement courses or be exposed to an IB (International Baccalaureat) curriculum."


Dear Arne, this is not Lake Woebegone, this is reality. What you are saying is basically, "Everyone should be [far] above average."

There is no "crisis" in education. The biggest problem facing education is a lack of funds and leadership (case-in-point: Arne Duncan). That and everyone wants a quick and simple fix to society's problems--and they expect teachers to fix that.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 05:43 PM

12. He wants schools to be cheaper.

He wants everyone to do well to make him look good. Cheaper teachers, no longer paid professionals. He has no idea what he is doing.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #12)

Wed Aug 27, 2014, 09:33 AM

27. i think he knows exactly what he is doing

he is requiring testing to receive funding,then requiring students to be tested that can never pass those tests

the goal is defunding public education

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 05:45 PM

13. he is doing what his boss tells him to do. you know who his boss is, right? nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #13)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 06:05 PM

14. I agree.

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Response to msongs (Reply #13)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 06:36 PM

17. He is doing Obamas will. I'll fucking say it. It's true.

 

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Response to elehhhhna (Reply #17)

Tue Aug 26, 2014, 08:13 PM

23. Yes, he is.

With enthusiasm.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Thu Sep 4, 2014, 01:34 PM

34. Kick because all kids are not the same.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Sep 7, 2014, 07:14 PM

35. A few thoughts:

As a former IB teacher, I can attest to this: the IB PYP is intended to be taught to all students. The MYP? Still pretty accessible, but getting harder. The Diploma program? Not so much. It requires a very high level of thinking skills, but also strong work/study habits and the ability to follow through and "stick" with it that not all students bring to the table.

The bottom line is that all students, SPED and other, aren't going to succeed with IB courses.

Children are different. They learn differently, they have different capabilities. WE DON'T NEED ONE-SIZE FITS ALL mandates.

There's some truth to this statement:

“We know that when students with disabilities are held to high expectations and have access to a robust curriculum, they excel.”

Sort of.

We know that holding ALL students to high expectations gets them further than holding them to low expectations. THE POINT, THOUGH, IS THE HIGH STAKES.

When we hold high expectations and work hard together to reach them, where ever we end up, we're successful. The higher the expectations, the less likely that everyone will get there. That's okay, if the journey, the process, is the point. It's not if everyone who doesn't get all the way there, and their teachers, have "failed."

That's the contradiction: if we want the best results, we set the bar high, work hard, and then celebrate. If we set high stakes on that bar, either every teacher fails because 100% of people of any age are not going to achieve at the top levels, or we set the bar lower so that more can reach it, thus reinforcing the "low expectation" nonsense. Then we're failures because we set it to low.

Under Duncan's system, we fail NO MATTER WHAT.

Which was the corporate point, right?

It's not the CCSS themselves I take issue with. It's the destructive political use, the manipulation, abuse of those, and any other standards.



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