From Huffington Post, news that Secretary Duncan wants this to be the last year for alternative tests for special ed students. He wants them ALL to take the general assessments. This, of course, is all around the NCLB legislation (which is practically on life-support anyway).
A subsequent 2003 regulation allowed states to use "alternate
achievement standards" for up to 1 percent of students with the most
challenging cognitive disabilities.
In 2007, the Education Department tweaked the law to allow 2 percent
of students per state to learn a curriculum based on "modified"
objectives and be measured on an aligned test. The feds based that
number on the "percent of students who may not reach grade-level
achievement standards within the same time frame as other students, even
after receiving the best-designed instructional interventions from
highly trained teachers," the department wrote in the Federal Register. States could use the modified tests to measure student performance of these 2 percent under No Child Left Behind.
Since then, a consortium of advocacy groups representing special
education students, such as the Easter Seals and the National Center for
Learning Disabilities, have pushed to end the allowance.
expectation should be that students presently taking the ... [alternate
exams] will participate in the general assessment, with appropriate
accommodations as needed," the group wrote in July.
Now the Secretary of Education is responding to those pleas. On Friday, the administration posted a proposal to roll back the rule,
which would let states already administering alternate tests use them
for the last time this school year. The administration can act on its
own accord and is gathering feedback from the public until Oct. 7 before
making a final decision.
States could still count 1% of students with the most severe disabilities.
For the NEA, the question comes down to aspiration versus reality.
"We're talking about students with disabilities who have documented
life-impacting issues, that if they could do everything else the other
students were doing, they'd be doing that," Riley said. "We have to take
an individualized look at how we're assessing them ... Some students
don't fall on the normal bell curve."
Please remember - our own district is in trouble for non-compliance for all Special Ed students. If this comes to pass, the district either lets these student sink or swim or will have to put more money towards this effort (and less in other areas). Until our Legislature fully funds education (and includes money for this effort), something will have to give.
Here's Secretary Duncan's Facebook page - that might be the best way to reach him.