This week, the Florida government insisted that children with severe disabilities, even those who are dying, be subjected to weeks of standardized testing.
I’ve reported on the State of Florida’s shocking treatment of children before. The disregard they show towards the most vulnerable population of their state is truly disturbing and even criminal, going as far as judgement in the federal courts.
This is the same state that locked away children from birth. Even the pleas of the mother of a three-year old child with Down Syndrome, begging “I want my baby home” fell on deaf ears. This child, and many others, were placed from birth in a homes for the elderly, hours away from their families.
At the time, Florida politicians defended their actions. They have done so again over a story that hit national headlines earlier this month. As the Washington Post reported, “Andrea Rediske’s 11-year-old son Ethan, is dying. Last year, Ethan, who was born with brain damage, has cerebral palsy and is blind, was forced to take a version of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test over the space of two weeks last year because the state of Florida required that every student take one. His mom has to prove that Ethan, now in a morphine coma, is in no condition to take another test this year.”
Ethan wasn’t the only child this has happened to.
This week, Florida released a statement saying they are looking out for all children, especially children with special needs who they claim would be ignored and their teachers not held to account without these tests. They are using this an excuse to press forward with educational policies at the expense of very ill and disabled children.
They can try, but they can’t spin this story enough to remove the whiff of contempt they feel towards these children.
Florida politicians were elected to serve and protect. They allow children, whose lives are already more difficult than any of us could imagine, to suffer for the sake of what? It is completely baffling.
And let’s be frank, it is possible to not assess dying children’s reading and writing. It is possible to not penalize teachers who don’t want these children to suffer. It is. And only laziness and political ideology are standing in their way.
Want more? Please read: What happened to the disabled children Florida abandoned?
This story originally appeared on the BabyCenter Blog. Photo credit: Stacie Lewis