Education Week reports in “More Students With Disabilities Heading to College” (subscription) that more kids with learning disabilities are going on to postsecondary education.
Amazing as this might first appear, this shows that if these special kids are taught properly, they can lead much more productive lives.
One theme in the article is that these kids are also becoming independent as they enter the college world. That gets me back to a topic I discussed several days ago – the Kentucky Board of Education’s long-delayed decision to no longer allow our teachers to read Kentucky’s reading tests to students with learning disabilities.
Sadly, some teachers have complained about this important improvement. I don’t think those well-meaning but misguided teachers get it: to be independent, someone really needs to be able to read. You can’t learn to read if an adult reads everything to you for the entire time you are growing up.
The state board does get it. Members specifically said they wanted independent readers. That is a good choice of terms, because independent readers can become independent adults, even if they do have special learning challenges.
It’s time to open up opportunities to Kentucky’s learning disabled kids. I hope our schools get with the program and really make an effort try to teach these kids to read. I think some of those educators will be surprised about what these kids are really capable of doing if we just let them try.