Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide by Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide   by Dr. Jeanne Beckman
Finally, a book to help families find the right technology to accommodate reading disorders (dyslexia) and other disabilties! ISBN 978-1-60264-089-4

How to purchase my book

To purchase through Virtual Bookworm (my publisher) you can click Virtual Bookworm Publisher: Tech Psychologist's Guide or
Amazon no longer allows Illinois professionals to get credit for referrals to Amazon due to a sales tax dispute. I will be referring to Powell's in the near future.

What is that TinyURL notation that you see in my blog? For those who use a screen reader, the link that is hidden behind words like Tech Psychologist Guide remains hidden. However, screen readers can read aloud the website address, or URL, if it was produced by Also, sometimes these addresses are so long that they wrap around several lines or overlap into colored areas of a website that obscure the actual address. Intrigued? You can create your own tinyurl's at

Friday, April 4, 2008

School Bullies? When schools fail, but punish the victim (the student)

In an article on Wednesday in the San Francisco Chronicle, a legal settlement was announced

High school seniors in special-education classes will be required for the first time this year to pass California's exit exam to qualify for a diploma after lawyers for the disabled failed to get them an exemption.

A legal settlement, expected to be filed today in Alameda County Superior Court, will end a 7-year-old lawsuit that challenged a state law requiring all students - including those with mental or physical disabilities - to pass the test of basic math and English skills to graduate.

Passing the exit exam became a requirement for all seniors in 2006, but lawyers from Disability Rights Advocates in Berkeley won exemptions for special-education students in 2006 and 2007.

Both sides said today's settlement includes no exemptions.



It's a dirty secret that manyschools obscure the fact that they routinely fail to provide the specialized tutoring (remediation) that special education students need, and also fail to provide accommodations such as technology tools so that the students can at least learn the rest of the regular curriculum at the same time they are learning how to read.

What I don't understand is why it is believed to be legal that a school can continue to fail in providing an accessible curriculum where students actually learn, and then the student is punished by being denied a diploma. Regardless of whether this policy is in San Francisco, Florida, or Chicago, it is unconscionable. Can you imagine businesses claiming that they provided "adequate" fuel (kerosene) for jets, and then when the planes crashed, blaming the jet plane manufacturers for failing to benefit from the inappropriate fuel?

Schools need to provide both remediation and accommodations so that each student can derive reasonable benefit from the regular curriculum. If the child does not pass a state test, then the school has failed, not the student. The school must be required to provide intensive remediation and accommodate that student as he progresses with his age peers. Any other practice is punishing the victim, and doesn't make sense.

There is research that shows that almost half of those student who are EVER held back ("flunked"), fail to graduate from high school. These students have failed alright: they have failed to benefit from an inappropriate provision of education, which is malpractice. Instead of punishing the victim, punish the decision-making administrators who are running the school and replace them with administrators who will work in a team setting to implement true research-validated educational practices with a focus on measuring whether each student is receiving full benefit from the curriculum. If an individual student is not benefiting, then the school needs to change how they are teaching that particular student.

Does it make sense?

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