Friday, February 03, 2012

Kentucky Invites a Lawsuit

See this post from On Special Education.  It begins:
This week, the Kentucky Board of Education banned the use of readers on state tests, whether that means people or computer software that read text aloud, an accommodation used by some students with disabilities, who also use this kind of help in class every day. The switch affects end-of-year state exams, as well as the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP. 
The shift has some people alarmed, especially about the effect on students whose education plans (IEPs) require the use of a reader. Apparently, the switch was driven in part by the goal of reducing how many students' scores are eliminated when calculating NAEP scores. State exclusion rates on NAEP, often called the nation's report card, have dropped recently, but some state exclusion rates remain high. When students are excluded, there are obvious questions about whether a state's scores actually reflect all of the state's students. 
Special education advocates opposed the move, including hundreds of Kentucky teachers. The Kentucky Department of Education wanted to delay the elimination of readers, but the state board didn't agree.
If the blog post is describing this policy accurately, I don't see how the policy can possibly be consistent with the ADA.  It's not just people with learning disabilities but also, for example, blind people who use readers (and equivalent software).  A blanket rule against readers and equivalent software would be very difficult to justify, even granting that the state has a clear interest in encouraging reading among (some? many?) who get these accommodations now.



Blogger Unknown said...

Here's the policy.

3:12 AM  

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