Possible NCLB Changes
When Tori Boyles, of Columbia, Mo., takes a test at school, an adult often reads the questions to her because the 9-year-old has learning disabilities that make reading difficult.
That kind of accommodation generally is not allowed for the reading test that public school students take under the federal No Child Left Behind law. Also, skipping the exam is not permitted for Tori, who has spina bifida, a condition often accompanied by learning problems.
''Why isn't there an option to opt out of that?'' asks her mother, Becky Boyles. ''She just has to stare at this piece of paper. She'll tell you she feels stupid. She feels absolutely stupid.''
Boyles and other parents are not the only ones frustrated when children such as Tori take federally mandated tests and do poorly. School administrators feel trapped by the system as well and lagging children risk being blamed for an entire school's failure.
The dilemma is how to fix the problem without abandoning kids with special needs.