A front page article, “New test system criteria presented,” from the Fulton Leader (subscription) says the Fulton Independent School District’s school board heard about changes in Kentucky’s new assessment program on December 13, 2011.
One topic was the new change to the rules for Kentucky’s state reading assessments. The newspaper reports:
“Students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs), who might normally have an aide read them the questions, would no longer have that assistance.”
Well, that broad statement is not correct. The only prohibition on reading will be for assessment elements that are specifically intended to test reading (the new state reading assessments for grades 3 to 8 and English II in high school). If an IEP calls for it, readers will still be allowed for other areas like math and science.
At first, I thought it was just the newspaper that got it wrong – until I read a quote about the new reading policy from Superintendent Tammy Smith saying, “I expect some lawsuits from that.”
Why would anyone expect lawsuits over a better testing policy for reading and comprehending printed text? After all, this policy is already in place in the vast majority of states (42 of them, according to a discussion at the December 2011 Kentucky Board of Education meeting).
People sue over all sorts of nonsense, of course, but with examples from the federal government and 42 states to point to, a suit in this area does not seem likely to go very far, even if someone is unwise enough to try it. After all, it’s hard to see how a court would support a policy that can lead to schools not having to expend any effort to try to teach reading to a child with learning disabilities.