More Evidence That Government Justifies Its Existence By Bothering People
The excerpt below is the end of a letter from a mother about her dying son, Ethan Rediske, 11, who has cerebral palsy and is blind. The state of Florida is requiring her to prove that her son still can't take another standardized test and can therefore keep his waiver:
Why is Ethan Rediske not meeting his 6th-grade hospital homebound curriculum requirements? BECAUSE HE IS IN A MORPHINE COMA. We expect him to go any day. He is tenaciously clinging to life.
Story by Valerie Strauss in The Washington Post. Via @Popehat.
More from the story:
Ethan wasn't the only brain-damaged child in Florida to be forced to take a standardized test; I have written in the past about Michael, another Florida boy who was born with only a brain stem -- not a brain -- and can't tell the difference between an apple and an orange, but was also forced to take a version of the FCAT last year. (See here, here and here.) There are many others in Florida and across the country as well.
Why does Florida -- and other states, as well as the U.S. Department of Education -- force kids with impaired cognitive ability to take standardized tests? Because, they say, nearly every child can learn something and be assessed in some fashion. Even, apparently, a boy born without a brain.
Publicity last year in Florida about some of these cases sparked interest among some state lawmakers to pass legislation to make it easier for severely disabled students to get waivers from taking these tests. The U.S. Department of Education sent a letter warning lawmakers to keep assessing all children, and one Florida Education Department spokesman told me that "waivers do not apply to students with a chronic situation." Legislation did get passed but it wasn't what some had hoped. It allows parents to request a waiver (Michael's parents abandoned him shortly after he was born, and he lives in an Orlando care facility for children called the Russell House), and the state has set out a long series of actions that have to be taken -- including approval by the education commission -- to get a waiver.