Photo: Graur Codrin (click photo to link)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Post-script to Comments to the Michigan Board of Education

This is a post-script to a previous entry.

I just heard from the mother of the young woman who was not offered a personal curriculum until her senior year of high school.  She called to tell me that her daughter was graduating...with her class...and had passed all of her courses! Today was her open house.

This could only have happened through the combined efforts of a team of people who believed that this young woman had value:  her family, her teachers, her friends, her school administrators--and most importantly--the young woman, herself!

This is a story of triumph over adversity; but it is also a cautionary tale.  Even while holding high expectations for achievement, we need to remember to be considerate of circumstances that may make such achievements very challenging.  We need to be proactive in planning to allow the playing field to be truly leveled for students with disabilities. It is unfair to withhold a fair accommodation from a person who needs it until they have reached the point of despair. It is a form of taunting that amounts to bullying.

It is my hope that Michigan districts will be more proactive and consider requests for accommodation through creative course selection, differentiation of instruction, alternative formats for course completion, and through the option for developing a plan for a personal curriculum.  Our common objective is to see to it that many more students successfully complete high school with diplomas, and are able to continue their educations or training for successful entry into the workforce.

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