What began as an individual decision by Cullowhee Valley School’s Doug Ward, who teaches fifth-grade exceptional students, soon resulted in action by the Jackson County School District, a news story and blog posts, and now a YouTube video that takes the suspended-with-pay teacher’s case to the public.
On his YouTube entry, Ward explains to viewers why he refused to give the required test (the NCEXTEND1 Alternative Assessment — a standardized, task-based assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities) to an 11-year-old student who was functioning on a 1-year-old’s developmental level. “What are they asking of us teachers,” he asks, when a student has progressed developmentally by one year in 11 years of life, yet to pass the required test must progress a full three years in the space of one school-year of instruction.
Jackson County blogger Gulahiyi comments, “Hats off to someone willing to pay the price for the courage of his convictions.” The Asheville Citizen-Times, which reported the story, said that calls to school adminstrators about the matter “were not returned by deadline Tuesday night.”
— Nelda Holder, associate editor