“At 6 p.m. on a Thursday night, I come home from a meeting, my phone rings, and it’s Merryl Tisch,” Ms. De Vito said. “She said, ‘I received your letter,’ and she said, ‘It made me want to cry.’”
This is quoted from this NY Times Article that describes the new regulation to allow SPED students to apply for a waiver if they have taken a Regents exam twice and failed it with a 52 to 54. The student must have good attendance and a passing grade in the over all coursework. It is a good first step in resolving the problems in current graduation requirements for special education students. Keep in mind, these problems have been created by policies established by Chancellor Tisch.
This blog is a compilation of student letters that were written to Chancellor Tisch last fall. Some did graduate, others have since dropped out of high school. More students will follow suit after the problematic Common Core Algebra Regents and Common Core ELA Regents. Students who have taken the five Regents over and over yet cannot pass them because they have learning differences and special education needs. Students whose entire educational experience has been reduced to assessment and testing.
Tisch’s administration removed the RCTs, which were high school level material with less complicated vocabulary.
Tisch’s administration introduced the CDOS which is only available to SPED students and violates FERPA. Students still need to be on the Regents track to earn the CDOS. The CDOS requires over 200 hours of work so it is actually a harder credential to obtain then a Regents diploma, but is only a “credential” and not recognized as a valid high school diploma for future employment. It certainly is not recognized as anything outside of New York State.
People across the state have been raising the issue of the punitive nature of the five regents exams being the only pathway to a high school diploma in New York State. Staten Island last fall is quoted below.
“Special education advocate and parent Miguel Rodriguez said the system fails high school students in special ed by not preparing them for the workforce. He said special ed students should have the opportunity to earn a full high school diploma, rather than a certificate they now receive, so that they will meet minimum education requirements for the workforce.”
Where was Tisch’s concern for these students?
In January, the Board of Regents reviewed the report on 2014 graduation statistics. At the end of this meeting, she remarked on concerns being raised by SPED parents and waived it away with a dismissive, “Well the IEP diploma wasn’t anything anyway.” No acknowledgement that students with dyslexia are going to struggle through 5 Regents exams, or that this will be an even more challenging task with the heavy emphasis on close reading in the mandatory ELA CC Regents. No comprehension that an ELA Regents exam with an emphasis on passages heavy with irony or sarcasm is going to be an overwhelming task for students on the autistic spectrum.
Tisch is throwing away of a generation of New York State citizens with the punitive graduation requirements approved under her tenure. It is time for a reinstatement of multiple pathways to a meaningful local diploma and end to high stakes testing as the sole path to a New York State High School diploma.