Story sheds light on Kentucky’s learning disabled policies
It’s an interesting story.
Per the Courier-Journal’s article, “Achiever | Manual junior doesn’t need extra time to score 36 on ACT,” Jefferson County Public Schools student Kenny Jackson has been labeled as ADHD and could have qualified to get extra time to take the ACT college entrance test.
Kenny said no to the extra time.
Kenny got a top 36-point score on the ACT, anyway.
It makes you wonder.
Does Kenny really have attention deficit problems, or is he just so far ahead of his teachers that they bore him?
Might what is supposed to be Kenny’s problem instead be evidence of teaching that does not meet the student’s needs?
Adding interesting evidence about what may really be TD, a ‘Teacher Deficit’ problem, the news article says Kenny started taking an ACT prep course but stopped paying attention after he had to correct the teacher’s multiple errors with math problems.
Is it the student’s fault when the teacher doesn’t know the subject? Should the student get blamed for not paying attention to such a teacher?
As I said, this sounds more like a ‘teacher deficit’ rather than a student problem.
Kenny’s story also has larger implications.
At present, some misguided people are trying to prevent Kentucky from tightening up on a serious abuse of a special accommodation on the state’s reading tests. Currently, the so-called state reading assessments actually are being read to about half of the entire number of kids labeled as learning disabled in Kentucky. That abuse undoubtedly inflates test scores, which makes teachers look good. However, this practice also hides what may really be a refusal/failure of educators to teach thousands of Kentucky kids who actually could learn to read – IF they got proper instruction. As things stand, kids get labeled and remain illiterate – teachers get a free ride and may not even know how to really teach reading – and test scores hide it all.
You have to wonder how many of those poorly served kids wind up in jail as adults…because they cannot get jobs…because they can’t read.
Just like Kenny Jackson, a lot of other learning disabled kids in Kentucky could be far more capable than we realize. However, our education system created a system that allows schools to sidestep their responsibility to educate these students. As Kenny Jackson just showed us, that sort of special education policy, which underestimates the potential of learning disabled students and interferes with their proper education, needs to change.