Hechinger: The cost of independent evaluations
Should testing for reading problems and etc. cost parents $1000s?
Writing for the Hechinger Report (highly recommended), Sarah Carr described parents’ experiences with the costs of securing appropriate services for thier children. Although the costs vary, parents (and local education administrators!) should understand that those costs can be way substantial.
In a common journalistic form, Ms. Carr focuses on a case and then takes that example to a broader representation. Readers of her article will be able to make their own judgment about how repesentative Ms. Carr’s cases are.
To me the bigger point is that addressing disability in reading is quite expensive. If we just did it right at first, it wold be less costly. However, resistance to effective instruction is rampant among many early childhood teachers. But that’s not all that’s happening.
Especially importantly, local education agencies have not been properly reimbursed for the additional costs of serving students with disabilities. The goal of the US government, since the 1970s-80s—to pay 40% of the excess costs for educating kids with diabilites under the Individuals with Disabilities Act—has not yet been achieved.
So, LEAs can essentially write off providing services to kids needing services. The LEAs can tout inclusion, tiered systems, and etc. as ways to respond to the problem, but those “methods” will be doomed to failure unless there is excellent instruction in our kids’ classroom. Having personnel who can provide “good teaching” and administrators who can cover those peoples’ backs is expensive.
Sadly, if the LEAs do not provide powerful instruction (regardless of tiers, inclusion, and such), there are going to be students who fail. The foci on administrative arrangements is misplaced. We educators should be aiming at instruction.
Educators must focus on the qualities of effective (i.e., proven) instructional practices. What instructional practices produce objectively better outcomes for your students? If we care about our students’ outcomes, why wouldn’t we use those practices?
That are many aphorisms that capture this idea (some of which are attributed to Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain).
A stitch in time saves nine.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today (or the day after tomorrow—Twain).
In the dim, dark days when there were only about three TV stations, there was a series of advertisements for an automobile product that captured the same idea. In one, the camera focuses on two actors, one of whom is working to rebuild an auto engine and the other of whom pitches an oil filter.