Accountable for binder stuffing

“Mrs. Lipstick” teaches special education students who are too disabled to take standardized tests. Instead, teachers assemble binders with worksheets students have filled out to show they’ve been taught the same curriculum as non-disabled students. There’s no time to design and teach meaningful lessons, she writes on Organized Chaos.

I’m supposed to give a child a meaningless worksheet, briefly teach the subject and then re-teach it over and over again until the child can perform it for that worksheet only. Then I put the worksheet into a plastic sleeved binder along with all the other worksheets that have been a complete waste of time and I submit it for a grade. A meaningless grade because the child isn’t actually expected to know the information because I wasn’t expected to actually teach the information. It is a binder just for show.

Parents of intellectually disabled children don’t want this, she writes.

I can’t imagine one of my parents saying, “Oh yes, I want to know that my child can identify the Powhatan Indians on a worksheet. . . . That’s more important than knowing how to safely cross the street, identifying the letters, telling me that they love me, or counting to 10. And make sure it is on a worksheet. Not a fun hands-on activity that can help my child distinguish between American Indians and settlers, but a worksheet.”

Why spend the time on worksheets and binders? It’s supposed to show special education teachers are being held accountable, she writes.

Why should all children be taught the same lessons, regardless of their abilities?

About Joanne


  1. “Why should all children be taught the same lessons, regardless of their abilities?”

    Because anything else results in unpleasant demographic realities.

  2. Egalitarianism demands it.

  3. Some parents of disabled kids do want to pretend that their kid is really mostly-like other kids because it’s easier not to face the reality of their kid’s disability. If this, and this is done, then he will magically achieve the same things as his age-mates. That’s why some parents push for mainstreaming/full-inclusion; their kid is in algebra and history classes, so he really is like other kids. Ignored is the reality that he understands almost nothing and is wasting time that could be used to teach him things he can understand and life skills he can use. Of course, there are parents who prefer their kid to be met at his level and who choose to have them attend the spec ed HS instead of the local one.

  4. Mitt could help. He knows binders.

  5. I wouldn’t worry too much. Pretty soon the same will be said of reg ed students. Then everyone will be equal and no one will be disadvantaged compared to others.

  6. Because it’s ALL about the paperwork, never mind that the kid hasn’t learned anything useful.

    Just like the teacher with the objectives on the board, who can’t teach worth a [email protected] gets higher evaluations than the teacher who gets so wrapped up in the lesson that she forgets to post the objectives.

  7. Crimson Wife says:

    Ugh. As the mom of a child with autism, I want her to be taught the skills she most needs, not whatever some committee of bureaucrats in Sacramento or D.C. deems all kids in X grade should learn. If that is basic decoding instead of Shakespeare and simple arithmetic instead of algebra, so be it. Isn’t the “I” in IEP supposed to be for “individualized”?

  8. Fred the Fourth says:

    This process exists because it provides an opportunity for multiple new district employees, for example, a team who is notionally responsible for auditing those binders, and their manager. (Although, I’d bet serious money that the binder are never actually audited.) These “processes” are one of the reasons why non-teaching public school staff has increased 4-5 times faster than teaching staff (which itself has increased 1.5 times faster than student population.)
    Where’s your tax money going? Sinecures, that’s where.