9. “Struggling Students”

The Department of Education on behalf of President Obama has issued the plan for “The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act” (March, 2010). It is called “A Blueprint for Reform.” Reauthorization will bump up against IDEA 2004, meaning that “struggling students” will be important to both laws.


Support for raising achievement in low-performing schools.

Support for “Evidence-based instructional models.”

Support of access to improved instruction for students in high-poevery and high-minority schools.

Support for closing achievement gaps.

Support to meet the needs of diverse learners (English language learners, disabled students, Native Americans, homeless students, migrant students, rural students, neglected students) to prepare for post-secondary education and careers.

Support for high school graduation for all types of students.

Support for interventions to help low-perforning students.

Support for high-performing schools servicing high poverty communities.

Support for measures of high school success, broken down by race, gender, ethnicity, disability status, Enlish learner status and family income.

Support for assessments for high school performance of English learners and disabled students.


The emphasis on high school success requires special education personnel to shift their focus away from basic skills instruction to content education leading to graduation and employment (cf. Middle School Exits). No Child Left Behind obliged special education teachers to define “progress in the general curriculum” as the development of essential skills leading to successful test performance. When special education pupils could not advance on their annual IEP goals, special education personnel carried on with basic skills instruction, not thinking of the ultimate purpose of instruction and how the stigma of being classified as a disabled child might even cause him or her to dropout out of high school, thereby failing because of special education status.

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