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Don’t forget about students with disabilities

This in response to your article about the efficacy model the Rochester public school system is using to help close the opportunity gap.

One of the key elements to the model is the mission: proficiency for all students. As Dr. Dallemand has stated at meetings, "all means all."

While I admire the philosophy and, as a teacher, wish this to be so, I’m afraid it is flawed. It saddens me as a former parent of children with disabilities to have to read and be continually reminded of this goal.

Similarly, the federal law, No Child Left Behind, states: All students will reach high standards, at a minimum attaining proficiency or better in reading and mathematics by 2013-2014, and by 2013-2014, all students will be proficient in reading by the end of the third grade.

Apparently, lawmakers and the efficacy organization, do not understand that some children are born with disabilities so severe they will not read, write, or do math, no matter how hard they try.

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I feel such statements are insensitive to parents of children with disabilities. I hope the efficacy model mission and the No Child Left Behind law could become receptive to a more inclusive goal.

Why not believe that all students can reach their potential? Then, students with severe disabilities will not be left behind. Most importantly, parents won’t need to hear again that their children are not a part of what "all" means.

Cindy Unger

Rochester

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