Saturday, January 23, 2016

Education assessment must begin now in Flint Michigan

The crises in Flint Michigan, has endangered many of their residence.  Of significant importance is the potential for damage to the children.  Of course we do not know how many children have been damaged nor do we know the extent of the damage.  However, we cannot afford to wait to provide needed services supported by educational assessment to all children. 

The type of assessment needed is a wide range multi-disciplinary assessment beginning with a small one on one test or tests that cover a wide range of cognitive skills.  Of significant importance is that this information is immediately available to the classroom teacher. It is extremely importance that the tests are small and they are given one on one to assure the most accurate results and that these are pre and post-tests to monitor progress.

This information to the teacher will allow that teacher to understand where to begin the process of education, a jumping off point.  From there ongoing classroom assessments would be available to assure progress is being made.  These assessments include anecdotal notes, portfolio assessments, demonstration of learning, self-assessments as well as progress on achieving learning goals.

Assessments are not only for academics.  We must also look for developmental milestones as well as adaptive behavior, especially in children 0-5 years old. Information provided by the parent, those in the community as well as classrooms are all significant.  No additional tests in the classroom are necessary and should be avoided in lieu of first class, hands on achievement.  This will allow parents of children in Flint Michigan to have the comfort of knowing exactly where their children stand.

Along with this ongoing assessment, services must be provided where needed.  These services must be immediate to reduce the effects of the poison their children have been drinking.  Remember, there is the possibility that some or all of the children might not be affected.  However, it is essential that we not wait until it is too late to tackle the situation.  We must assure the safety and education of every child.

For those determined to have educational, social or emotional needs, there must be immediate action.  And that action must be based solely on the needs of the children.  To label kids as special education or any other obsolete label would take the focus off specific needs putting them in a broad category that would be devastating to parents and children alike.  Again, this doesn’t mean we don’t focus on the needs of each child.  It just means we throw out harmful labels.  Although funding is often connected to labels, under these conditions funding should be connected to the needs that are determined.  Of course this should apply to all kids but for now we focus on those in Flint Michigan.

The result of the assessments and classroom progress must be monitored through a document I call the MAP, My Action Plan.  This MAP will drive every child on their pathway to success while assuring that all receive the services they need.

Again at this time we do not know the effect of the poison on the children.  But we do know there could be a massive affect.  The time for action is now! As I grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University, this strike at my heart.

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