Monday, May 12, 2014

Open Letter to Barressi

Dear Janet,

When was the last time you sat with a child who truly struggled with reading? Each time she sat down to attempt a sound or a letter she would burst into tears and say "I can't do this! I never will because I am a stupid girl?" Have you ever read a page in a book and the words on the page jumped around and you couldn't read it?

Bottom line: Nope. Nada. You clean teeth and fill cavities.

I'll be honest the issue is not teachers. First, the issue is funding. The Reading Sufficiency Act has never been properly funded. How can teachers "fix" the issue if they aren't provided the funds so the help will become available.

Second, you have blindly avoided research and discriminated against ELL students. Research shows that it takes 8 years to become proficient in a new language.

Finally, you assume that disability means stupidity. Adults and students know they have a learning challenge. They do not need the word FAIL written across a grade level. They know each day what it means to fail. However, these children who have the disability have such gumption that they grow many levels within the school year, but not enough to master your little Pearson test.  Just fyi, 20% of the population in the US are considered disabled.  If 33% of TPS students failed the do the math, if you can, of which two categories primarily make up this 33%.

I'll be honest. I didn't vote for you the first time. Sure don't plan on it this time, but this time you made things personal. You told my students and my child with a disability that they are worthless. They mean nothing but a cut score of 23 or higher.

Do you know what I see? I see the child who at age 3 cried herself to sleep because her mommy didn't know and understand sensory processing disorder. I hear a child who meets with her speech language pathologist each Tuesday read words for the first time and then one day in the teachers lounge announces, "That says Open Slowly." I see fighter who now sees herself as a reader, a writer, and a learner. Why? Her teacher scaffolded and believed and worked. Shame on you for belittling this little one's excitement because the moment she saw the word FAILED she decided the fight wasn't worth it after all.



No comments:

Post a Comment