This past December the Kentucky Board of Education voted to remove the option of providing readers on the state’s reading assessment for children with learning disabilities.
It was an important move to bring Kentucky in line with current policy in virtually every other state in the country, where using readers on reading tests is almost universally not permitted.
The December change would also help solve a very disturbing problem. Kentucky’s out of line reading policy creates nation-leading exclusion rates on the National Assessment of Educational Progress reading assessments. Kentucky actually led the nation for NAEP exclusion in 2011, leading to charges that NAEP reading scores for Kentucky are invalid.
Now, WFPL reports the Kentucky Board of Education is backpedaling (can you say caving?) on its December decision in response to pressure from some parents of learning disabled kids and special education teachers.
That is really sad. While there are always a few special cases, in general reading kids the reading tests just creates ‘feel good’ scores while hiding the fact that these students are actually getting substandard reading instruction (if they are getting any reading instruction what so ever).
I cannot see how reading the state’s reading assessments to large numbers of special education students does anything other than relieving schools from pressure to try to teach these special kids to read. It’s a free ride for educators and a potential disaster for students.
The sad and unintended consequence is that many of these students will arrive at adulthood largely illiterate. They very likely will be unable to find honest employment and probably will add to Kentucky’s already overflowing prison population.
In fact, before the state board votes to do the wrong thing, I’d like them to find out how many of our younger prison inmates were carried through KERA era schools with the reading accommodation. I think that information might open up a lot of eyes to what is really going on here.