In Washoe County, Nevada, some schools that scored in Newsweek’s top 5 percent list for offering advanced courses also failed to meet No Child Left Behind standards because of the low achievement of special education students. This “ugly paradox” isn’t a NCLB bug, writes Edspresso. It’s a feature.
Aren’t special education students the ones that commonly get left behind? This district’s schools are top performing on AP and other college prep. courses across the nation; at the same time they’re failing the students at the bottom. The point of NCLB is to expose any problems with even the smallest of groups — problems that used to be completely masked among standardized tests that simply “melted” everyone’s scores together.
Board members didn’t pledge to find better strategies to teach special education students; they called for relaxing standards.
Remember that most students in special education are capable of achieving; only nine percent are mentally retarded. Under NCLB, schools can give easier tests or no tests at all to about 30 percent of special education students.