Dear NC Department of Instruction,
It’s me, again. Were you hoping I would go away? Well, I am a special needs mama after all and summer break starts today, so I’ve got nothing but time. What are your plans this summer? Will you examine your role in the future of NC’s children? Maybe not. After all, it’s not easy to admit you support the mistreatment of children.
Perhaps mistreatment is too strong of a flavor for your errant policies, but I don’t think so. You see, I’ve talked to families and teachers and heard their horror stories. Don’t tell me that the government is forcing you. To receive federal funds, 95% of students must participate in testing, you keep telling me. In fact, the reality is that families can refuse tests and their children can walk in on make up day, sign their names and those signatures meet the federal requirement for participation. You insist that all children read a passage, even those that will never learn to read. You are unable to articulate why children with special needs are asked to do fractions when they can’t count.
This is my third grade son’s “End of Grade NC READY Student Report for School Year 2016-2017.” Quite a mouthful, but keep reading. There is an achievement column which has a category labeled- On Track for College and Career Readiness. Eight year olds. My son read to me that YOU deem him likely to go to college or get a job. That’s nice. The fine print tells children that scores of 4 and 5 meet the college and career readiness standard, which means, and I quote, if a student continues performance at these levels throughout grades 3-12, he or she should be prepared for college and career after graduating from high school.
Well, I’m glad we’ve gotten that straight. Any other helpful hints, DPI? How about writing a manual entitled, “One Hundred Ways to Crush the Dreams of NC Children.” I’ll work on one too, the story of a girl who struggled to pass third grade, made a 980 on the SAT, failed Latin, got a full scholarship to NC State for her PhD in Education and started a blog that she hopes will better the lives of all children in our state.
Adrian H. Wood, PhD
Mother of four children (11, 9, 7 & 3 year old with extra special needs)
Writer/ Advocate/ Speaker