The new flexible NCLB

In response to complaints by the states, No Child Left Behind is being modified. Here’s the New York Times’ analysis.

Education Gadfly features a guest comment on how to grade schools and lots of links to NCLB stories.

Eduwonk writes that the special education changes will hurt disabled students by weakening accountability to teach the vast majority who are capable of learning the mainstream curriculum.

The reality is that most students in special education do not have profound cognitive disabilities. Over half have learning disabilities and, sadly, many of these are just students who were not taught to read well. Many more have disabilities that demand attention but do not demand an alternative curriculum but rather access to the mainstream curriculum. The disability community, however, did not succeed in making that case to the media and the myth that the law was requiring wildly inappropriate practices for kids with, for instance Down Syndrome, has firmly taken hold.

Not a banner day for special needs kids.

I agree.

About Joanne


  1. Hello. This is my first time to post here. My name is Aya. I’m studying Education in Ohio. I agree with the guest comment said the students with disabilities need rather access to the mainstream curriculum.

    I grew up in Japan, where special education classrooms used to be totally separated from general classrooms. For, people used to think that the students with disabilities needed to do the exact same thing as the students who don’t have disabilities. So teachers provided some special programs so that they would be able to solve math problems, spell as many words as possible. But they are now realizing that this program doesn’t work because they try so hard just in order to catch up with other kids, and end up not learning how to solve real life problems.

    In that way, I would say the curriculum itself should be changed so that the children with exceptionalities won’t be hurt and also can learn how to live the life after they graguate.

    When I first saw the stuation in the States, where many schools adopt the inclusion style, I was amazed to see the general ed students interact with students with exceptionalities. I guess you are not saying that the students should be separated again, but how much do you think they should be included in the general ed classroom?

    Thank you for reading.

  2. All people need an education suited to themselves as individuals and not some mythical “average” or “normal” student. Of course, in the real world, personalized education rarely happens, even with special ed.

    I think the problem is that special ed students are warehoused by disability and treated as an “average” person with such disability.

    As for segregation, it may in some cases be needed to protect the student from the bigotry of his or her peers.

  3. While all people may need an education suited to themselves society needs some standard level of educational attainment. The simplest and most obvious method to manage that is to mandate it. Unfortunately, if you mandate it they will come – what choice do they have? – but they’ll accept what someone else has decided they ought to get.

    Or more simply, flexibility and public policy are mutually exclusive. If you want it your way go to Burger King not city hall.