Students in Special Ed who cannot write a sentence – forced to sit for 3 hour state exams: This is child abuse.

Dear Bill and Melinda ~

I agree with this post. I am a teacher, but have seen firsthand, special ed students who cannot even write a sentence be forced to sit and comply with a three-hour state exam. This is child abuse. They end up crying with their heads down on the desk.

The problem is that the school is limited to opting out 1% of the population, but the special ed students make up much more than 1% of the population.

Deb Escobar


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5 Responses to Students in Special Ed who cannot write a sentence – forced to sit for 3 hour state exams: This is child abuse.

  1. Susannah Czernicki says:

    Dear Bill and Melinda,
    I have been teaching special education for twelve years. I spent five years at the high school level and have taught elementary special education the past seven. Every year, I see students who read well below grade level attempt to take a grade level standardized test. They are below grade level for no fault of their own, and no fault of educational system. They have reading disabilities. Every year, they show growth. By the end of the year, they are proud of their accomplishments. However, they still aren’t grade level. When they take TCAP in March or April, they are once again reminded of that.
    It was really apparent at the high school level. I had 9th graders, who read at a 3rd grade level, struggle through 3 humiliating hours of a test. It is like a slap in the face. I have seen 3rd graders in tears because they couldn’t read the material. I have seen 5th graders beg me for help, and my response was always the same. “Do your best. I can’t help you.”
    Do you realize that forcing these kids to take a grade level test is doing more harm than good? Do you realize that it is virtually impossible to show any growth if they take a test that is several grades above their levels? How about having the kids with disabilities take a test at their instructional levels? How about teachers being able to read the grade level test to them if we are testing grade level comprehension? How about actually listening to educators regarding these so called reforms of yours? How about spending some time in some of the “struggling” schools to see the magic that teachers do on day to day basis despite lack of funding and ridiculous reform laws? I would love to have you visit my school next year and I can show you what schools are really like. Please email me, if you would like to visit.
    Thank you for listening to my concerns and ideas.
    Susannah Czernicki

    • Teachers'LettersToBillGates says:

      Thank you for this great letter, Susannah! We have sent it out on our blog. 🙂 More Harm Than Good? ~ Susannah Czernicki

      • Susannah Czernicki says:

        You’re welcome! It felt good to write it. Those tests do more harm than good to the self esteem of the student. If these reforms are supposedly about helping the students be more successful and feel better about themselves, they sure go about it the wrong way.

  2. Maggie C says:

    I had similar experiences as a teacher of the deaf in Detroit. Using inappropriate test instruments on deaf children, for example, allowed Detroit to use “failing AYP” to close a needed center base program and give the specialized learning environment to administrators for their offices. It is a travesty.

  3. Carla Sartin says:

    I have taught SPED for 36 years. I’ve seen lots of changes most for the better but having to give these students the test was heartbreaking. I spend months building up their self-esteem to have it destroyed in hours. What’s worse is that it does not give me any data that I can use. This data is not used in any way statistically because its not valid. So someone please tell me why we abuse our special needs children in this way.

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