Testing Raises Questions

An 11-year-old quadriplegic student is being held out as an example of why standardized testing is rigid and inflexible. Louis Medina was in Tallahassee Wednesday, where the Florida Education Association called for a suspension of the FCAT and its replacement.

Louis Medina was a normal child until he suffered a heart attack in 2009. Now the Polk County eleven-year-old is a quadriplegic who can't hear or verbalize. His teacher, Kathy Nall is frustrated because she is required to test Louis's achievements using an alternative to the FCAT.

"If I know that you're deaf, but I'm going to continue to talk to you, and explain things to you, read to you and ask you questions. You would feel so disrespected."

Louis's school, the Karen M. Siegel Academy, allowed Louis's test, called the Florida Alternative Assessment to be videotaped. The video was played for reporters on Wednesday as Luis's mother watched.

Maria Rivera, Louis’s mother commented: "How they are testing my child is not the right way. He couldn't tell you what he thinks."

The Florida Education Association, which arranged the videotaping, calls the testing insensitive and an example of why all standardized tests don't measure what they seek to measure.

Joanne McCall, Florida Education Association VP says it’s time to pause. "I think the whole system should be stopped. We should take a pause, rather than being first, we should be right, and we should do what's best for the students in the state of Florida. And this is not it."

"Louis's school did ask the Department of Education to exempt Louise and others from the test, DOE said no."

The Department of Education says Louis's parents chose to put him in a public school and the federal government requires the state to test. Louis's mother says success for her son would be to communicate effectively and earn real-life experiences.

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