Politicians in Florida are dysfunctional, petty and cruel.
When the story of the infliction of a mandated high stakes testing on a dying, blind, brain damaged child with cerebral palsy, Ethan Rediske, finally received full national attention, Ethan had just died. His mother, Andrea, had previously written a simple and clear letter prior to his death requesting that the insane demands by the Florida Board of Education and the State of Florida cease. The letter was included in the news coverage.
Ethan’s mom was then slammed by some members of the press for even attempting to opt-out of the test. Less than a month after Ethan’s death, Florida Secretary of Education Pam Stewart sent a letter to all of the state’s teachers demeaning Ethan’s mom without mentioning Ethan or Andrea by name. A law, Ethan’s Law, was introduced in order to simply exempt children such as Ethan from being subjected to bizarre demands such as these mandated tests. Ethan’s Law, or Ethan’s Act, was named as a memoriam for the child who lost his life during this mindless, state endorsed abuse. Read HERE for details.
Today, even that small bit of honor and remembrance was snatched from Ethan’s mom, dad and family.
The law will be included in a larger bill, HB 7117 – but without Ethan’s name attached. As a matter of fact, the bill is even more restrictive than the original as to which children may be exempted from mandated high stakes testing in Florida.
(a) As used in this subsection, the term “child with medical complexity” means a child who is medically fragile and needs intensive (extensive) care due to a condition such as a congenital or acquired multisystem disease or who has a severe neurologic condition with marked functional impairment.
(b) Effective July 1, 2014, a student may not participate in statewide, standardized assessments, including taking the Florida Alternate Assessment, if the student’s IEP team, with parental consent, determines that it is inappropriate for the student to participate. The IEP team’s determination must be based upon compelling medical documentation froma physician licensed under chapter 458 stating that the student is a child with medical complexity and lacks the capacity to take or perform on an assessment. The district school superintendent must review and approve the IEP team’s recommendation.
Why would Florida’s legislators do this? Profit by private corporations from public tax dollars.
Hundred’s of millions of dollars of tax monies slated for politically connected corporations and individuals producing the contracted tests, texts, programs, etc. seemed to be in question. If one student was allowed exemption for one reason, other equally worthy children and parents might also expect exemptions without hassle and/or intimidation.
Ethan’s mom, Andrea, needed to be made an example of what will be suffered by any who dare question unjust legislation. (Little do legislators or the hedge fund manager investors realize how much love and respect has been and will continue to be poured out to Ethan, his mom and his family.)
Legislators count on campaign contributions from these corporations and billionaire investors in the Education Industrial Complex.
For Ethan’s mom and family, this is yet another bit of targeted abuse they are being subjected to by dysfunctional, petty and cruel legislators acting as puppets for special corporate interests.
BUT – the legislation in HB 7117 will keep other children, as severely disabled who are receiving extensive care such as Ethan was, from undergoing what he was subjected to. Ethan and his mom have won that much for all the others.
We all need to continue fighting against CCSS and all of the high stakes state testing being inflicted upon our children. Remember Ethan and his mom as we fight.