August 27, 2012
Hard to believe, in the year of 2012, there are many in Florida still fighting for the right to the fair education for All children In our State, traditional education has given way to teaching to pass high stakes tests. Intended to evaluate knowledge and learned academic skill sets of children in elementary, middle, and high schools testing has become standardized under the premises of equal education – for All.
The concept of equal education sounds great in theory, but simply falls short when taking into account the human factor that we’re not all alike or for that matter learn the same way or at the same pace. Unfortunately this is a factor being ignored by the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) as they require All children to test the same.
Again, this would not be a problem if there was no data to support this argument, guidance had not been provided, and it wasn’t hurting children with disabilities or those who English is not their primary language.
Fortunately for children, the growing effort by both educators and non-educators are gaining the support of National organizations such as LULAC to influence common sense policy changes at the FDOE.
As an example of the unity such rigidity creates, below is a letter written by Roberto Canino – founder of LULAC in Florida, published in The Miami Herald:
|Re Jose Rico’s Aug. 18 Other Views article, Key Florida reforms end climate of low expectations for English-language learners, students with disa bilities: In November 2011, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) applied for a waiver of requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Federal approval of this application is contingent on full inclusion of students in Exceptional Student Education (ESE) programs and of English Language Learners (ELL) in the state accountability system. –Current accountability rules unrealistically demand that students with language barriers or learning challenges learn at the same pace as other students. This negatively affects ESE and ELL students and their schools and disproportionately affects school districts with high enrollments of ESE and ELL students.-
In February, a task force was established to devise better ways to include these students. It issued 35 recommendations. Only one ELL recommendation and five of 35 recommendations overall were brought to the State Board of Education for action.-
FDOE concluded that several recommendations of the task force wouldn’t be approved by the U.S. Department of Education since they would require treating some students differently from others.-
In June, the FDOE’s document Changes to Florida’s school grades Rule 6A-1.09881 adopted by the State Board of Education proclaimed that federal education authorities had mandated not only that ELL and ESE students should be fully included in the state’s accountability system, a position that the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and other community organizations agree with, but also how that inclusion should take place. In this way, the FDOE evaded responsibility for not moving forward with the recommendations of its own task force.-
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