Here's the new thing I learned today: there is no such thing as a learning disability in science. There are no IEP goals allowed as they relate to science...and there will be no alternative assessments for special needs students in the area of science (as there are for math, reading, and writing). Apparently, science concepts are readily and equally understandable by everyone, even Republicans and/or fundamentalists.
This brings up some interesting issues as the reauthorization rolls around and the Science Accountability Act becomes a real possibility. Since there can be no accommodations with science tests (apart from ones applied to all testing situations), what will happen with these students? What will schools do about their scores and lack of AYP when SPED students are held to a higher standard in science than they are in math, reading, and writing?
In some ways, I understand that the "no disability in science" (Is that like "no crying in baseball"?) thing, especially where content is concerned; however, the vast majority of our standards are process and skill-oriented, just as reading and writing and most of math. Our standards have grade-level appropriate benchmarks and spiraling ideas through the grade levels. Why is it reasonable to expect that a child who is allowed to have a 3rd grade proficiency in math and language arts when in 10th grade must have a 10th grade proficiency in science?
I will certainly be paying attention in different ways as science continues to grow in the public education eye. As there is no likelihood that the rules governing SPED will be altered to include science as an area of disability, we'll have to be even more creative about supporting our SPED kiddos.