I Wish the News was as Good as it Sounds

16 Mar

According to the Washington Post, “Dozens in GOP Turn Against Bush’s Prized ‘No Child’ Act.” I actually saw a bit of this hostility on C-Span last weekend when Margret Spellings appeared. I wish I could report more on that, but I kept falling asleep.

However, according to the article, the GOP is only tweaking around with this abomination. In the first place, they are providing some mechanism for states to opt out of the testing provisions of NCLB. That sounds good to me, after my recent experiences with the alternate assessment. Until I read this:

In both cases, the states that opt out would still be eligible for federal funding, but those states could exempt any education program but special education from No Child Left Behind strictures.

WTF? So this means that special education still has to be shackled and cuffed to this leaky, stinky bureaucratic barge? Of course. Why? Because the ignorant monkeys in Washington wrote and passed the IDEA 2004 re-authorization to align, heel and otherwise kowtow to NCLB. Why? Because those ignorant whelps don’t bother thinking past the next fundraiser or martini. The re-authorization of IDEA was not on the radar screen when Bush, Kennedy, Miller et. al. pushed and horse traded NCLB in its present form into existence. They were so distracted by that stupid Iraq war, that they were 2 years over due on the re-authorization of IDEA. And most members of congress probably didn’t even bother looking at it and it passed with very little contention from anyone, aside from the usual spats about funding which they’ve never honored and never will.

IDEA 2004 final regulations were just handed down from the Feds last fall, so no one is even thinking about the next review of that law. No matter what congress does with NCLB, those of us in special education are stuck.

In related news, I just heard about two teachers from the middle school that feeds into ours are leaving their positions. Each have been teaching there since the school opened 7 years ago, but the rigors of the alternate assessment has made them seek other options. Middle schools are no bargains in the best of circumstances, but they had to do the GAA on every student. I groused badly about doing 2. Can you imagine doing 7 from 3 different grades? They each had enough, and said “adios” to teaching severe and profound students. Our county just had a recruitment fair last weekend. Guess how many special education teachers showed up looking to teach the severe population?

How about NONE. Zero.

“”Statistics are not, of course, the whole answer, but nothing is as emphatic as zero. United States v. Hinds County Sch. Bd. 1970″”

Mark my words: There is a real crisis brewing in special education that has been a serious problem for over a decade. With the increased litigation, the increased legal red tape, the increased demands and the stress that goes with it, what are systems going to do? There are simply not enough warm bodies to fill those positions open today. This fall it will be downright ugly.



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