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Health News Florida

Testing Disabled Kids Is Cruel: Teachers

As Florida education officials struggle to improve the state’s “accountability” system,  which says all children should be tested, the parents and teachers of profoundly disabled children are voicing a protest.

On Wednesday, the Florida Education Association released a video that shows teachers trying to give tests to four severely disabled children, including one in a persistent vegetative state, the Times/Herald reports.  

Currently, all Florida public school students are required to be tested, with most taking the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests (FCAT). An alternative assessment is available for special-needs students, but it requires more cognitive function than some of them have. 

Parents of those children can apply for an exemption, but it has to be approved by the local superintendent, as well as the state education commissioner. 

However, this can take time and be frustrating for parents.  An Orlando parent, Andrea Rediske, brought the situation to the public’s attention vividly last month when she protested the testing of her 11-year-old son while he was in a morphine-induced coma, three days before he died.

State Rep. Karen Castor Dentel, D-Mait­land, has filed a bill that would make it easier for students with disabilities to receive testing waivers. House Speaker Will Weatherford said he’s willing to consider it.