Nevermind that we're eight years away from that threshold, the moaning has already begun in earnest. Educators are quick to throw lots of kids they don't think will be capable of ever becoming proficient under the bus. That nasty ol' NCLB is so unfair. It's an impossible standard.
Of course, what educators fail to tell you is that that 100% proficiency standard excludes up to 1% of students with significant cognitive disabilities who are permitted to take an alternate assessment under NCLB as Edweek reports ($):
Under federal rules for testing under the No Child Left Behind law, up to 1 percent of a district's or school's testing population can take alternate assessments and have their "proficient" or "advanced" scores count in the district's or school's calculation for showing adequate yearly progress' the law's key accountability measure. According to the federal government, those assessments must meet the same technical standards as other tests given by a state under the 4 ½-year-old law.
So where did the Feds come up with this paltry 1% exclusion? Did they just make it up? No, not exactly.
The department does say that research suggests no more than 1 percent of the student population "about 10 percent of all students with disabilities" should fall into that category.
I'm willing to bet that 1% doesn't include any kids with the bogus "learning disabilities" tag which school districts have used to throw kids they've mis-educated into the special-ed ghetto enabling them to collect government booty while simultaneously shirking their responsibility to educate.
The altenate assessment rule pre-dates NCLB. Of course, before NCLB it was routinely being ignored like many of the Fed's requirements for the money they were doling out:
First mandated with the 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, alternate assessments were, in some states, tied to the individualized education program, or IEP, of the particular student. The fact that such students were being tested at all was considered more important than the quality of the tests, and the tests were not included in accountability measures.Now things have changed:
The No Child Left Behind law changed that, by requiring that all tests be included in accountability determinations and meet high technical standards. In December 2003, the Education Department issued regulations on the technical qualities such tests must meet in order for the results to count under the federal law.It is bitter medicine indeed for our educators who've grown accustomed to the institutionalized failure their faddish education techniques have caused.