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March 25, 2014

Jenna's EOG battle

I really have to pick and choose what I want to invest time and energy in. I decided this was one. I talked with her IAS teacher (Intensive Academic Services) about what modifications or accommodations Jenna would have when she takes the End-of-Grade test. She said she can have the EXEND2 version--simpler questions and fewer choices, but that she couldn't help her read any of the words she doesn't know.

I didn't feel right that Jenna would then just bubble in any random answer--which wouldn't measure her abilities or what she has gained educationally. so I wrote an email requesting she find out who at the state level I would need to talk to about this. She gave me a link and I called and got connected to a Wendy Wooten. I left several voice mails and finally sent an email.

You can read it at the bottom of the traffic and the colleagues reply.

Ms. Karp,

I am sorry for the delay in responding, Wendy had forwarded me your concern last week, but I had wanted to touch base with our Exceptional Children's department before responding.

North Carolina was one of the few states that had continued the use of their modified alternate assessments (NCEXTEND2) for the 2013-14 school year, however because of U.S. Department of Education proposed regulations North Carolina will no longer be able to continue using that assessment.

North Carolina is in the process of amending their Exceptional Children's policies and the amendments to the North Carolina Policies are available for public review from February 15, 2014, through April 15, 2014.

The amendments may be reviewed at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children Division and on the internet by accessing the Department of Public Instruction?s website at:

Interested citizens are invited to comment on the proposed amendments to the Policies beginning March 1, 2014, and continuing through April 3, 2014.

In making comments, please give the citation for the Section(s) on which you are commenting, (e.g., NC 1504-2.9) and provide comments in the form of statements.

Comments may be submitted via email to or mailed to:

North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Exceptional Children Division
6356 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, North Carolina 27699-6356
ATTN: Valerie Herndon or Ira Wolfe

In addition to the opportunity to comment to the changes, I will be calling you shortly to discuss your concerns.

Thank you,
Bill Hatch

Bill Hatch
Education Testing/Accountability Consultant
Testing Policy & Operations Section
Accountability Services Division
NC Department of Public Instruction
Phone: 919-807-3781
Fax: 919-807-3772

From: Wendy Wooten
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2014 12:02 PM
To: William Hatch
Subject: FW: IEP accomidation for 3rdG EOG in IAS program for NHCS


Wendy H. Wooten

Education Testing/Accountability Consultant

Testing Policy & Operations Section
Accountability Services Division
NC Department of Public Instruction
Phone: 919-807-3801
Fax: 919-807-3772


From: Krista Karp
Sent: Thursday, March 20, 2014 11:50 AM
To: Wendy Wooten
Cc: G?nter work
Subject: IEP accomidation for 3rdG EOG in IAS program for NHCS

Hello Wendy,

I am a parent of a 9 year old daughter diagnosed with a brain malformation (polymicrogyria). She attends Pine Valley Elementary school in New Hanover County School district. She has been in the IAS (Intensive Academic Services) program her entire schooling. She is not ?significantly cognitively? impaired (not in the SBD program)?her IQ is above 55.

I understand it is state law for all children to take the EOGs and that Jenna will have the adapted EXTEND2, but I am very uncomfortable with it, and will explain why.

My main issue is that she is on an extensive IEP with many adaptations. She has limitations with her intelligence and tests at a reading level of 1.6 grade. Who would give a first grader an EOG? If the EOGs are the states standard to measure a child's progress and abilities, why would they only have 3 options, a standard EOG, modified (EXTEND2), or one for severely disabled children with IQ of 55 or below? Surely the educators that approved this at state levels don't believe that there are only 3 boxes to put so many diverse kids in.

If a child was blind, they would get a braille EOG, or a child was a quadriplegic, they would read it and have an assistant check what the child indicates as the correct answer, or a child that only spoke Spanish they would get one in the language they understood (perhaps this is not the case?).

Why, if a child can't read even some of the simplified version words (I saw the sample tests) then would they expect her to take it with no modifications on the EXTEND2? They should modify it to the current IEP levels! In the IAS program at Pine Valley Jenna is given reading and math at the level she can be challenged at, not too high that she feels hopeless, frustrated and incompetent! She CAN comprehend more than she can read or speak! She can only accurately answer the EXTEND2 if she can read the words on the test, which she likely cannot at a first grade reading level. The test will NOT properly assess her progress or abilities she has gained in the IAS program. She will just randomly answer things (as evidenced by some of the work she brings home, that she cannot comprehend from the mainstream class).

I also understand that in 2014-2015 there will be NO MODIFICATIONS of any kind with the EOG. What is the rationale behind that?! What are you proposing to do? Have children with disabilities feel even worse? Where and why are things going wrong in the United States educational system?

I must be her advocate and have decided I will fight on the legislative level, if need be, to have this law changed to be a test that actually tests children on their IEP level. I am aware that she has national and state rights with her IEP and will obtain an attorney if necessary to have these enforced.

Please contact me at 910-777-5778

Krista Karp

It was a fairly frustrating call (I nearly had to be an attorney pinning down his evasive answers and making it clear what he was really saying). Mr. Hatch said that Jenna could receive ?accommodations? like extended time in taking the test, but basically that is it. He ?understands? and I can ?make comments? to the on the policy, but that is it. (I wonder if he heard me repeatedly banging my head on the desk?) He punted the ball and simply said that they are one of the few states that still have the ?modified? EOG test this year?most states have already dropped it and NC must for next year--mandated by federal law.

I did some enjoyable bedtime reading on laws and the governments policies.

Which brings me to the driver of the bus: Arne Duncan (US Secretary of Education appointed by Obama in 2009)..the driving force behind Common Core and now in dropping any modifications (EXTEND2) for disabled kids, all in pursuit of the ?Race to the Top??which I am sure you have heard of.

I started with the links Mr. Hatch provided: to Proposed Amendments to Policies for Governing Services for Children with Disabilities from there I found that the document is partial (pages 45 cuts right to 77 with no headings etc) and basically there is nothing for me to ?comment on? because it simply says they are eliminating the wording from documents about the ??????? . Nothing said about the rationale or what will be substituted?which I WOULD comment on! I could not cite sections because there were only in outline form (and incomplete, like I said). Apparently the Secretary of Education wants to ?raise the bar? in the United States education and make sure all kids come out of HS smarter. In the process of this, others have interpreted this also to apply to disabled children as well. They believe that they too can reach higher and all that needs to happen is for special education to ?ramp up? and teach the children better and more, so they catch up to grade level. (Yes, that includes kids with neurological conditions or compromised intelligence! And no, they won?t give you any more resources either!) So next year I can expect that you will bring Jenna up to her peers educational level in 4th Grade?can?t wait!

Don't know what else to say except that I feel very discouraged with the school system in America. We can all agree something is broken, but by demanding the teacher do more and somehow students will be smarter... simply won?t work!

Have a good rest of the week. I now can rest easy Jenna will just randomly bubble in whatever she likes and Pine Valley?s program will look bad because she is not achieving more. Broken, broken, broken. But she will be ready to be top at the University in a few years, with these changes, YIPEE!

Pine Wood Derby

I am late in blogging things. But I don't want to lose all these memories, so I must find the time to record them, with or without pictures!

Guenter helped Niklas make his car. I wasn't in the garage so I don't know how much Niklas really did, but he was excited.

Guenter was not able to be at the race this year since he was in China. There were only 3 boys racing and Niklas tied with one boy and they had to race numerous times and determined the other boy won more. In the end he couldn't go and Niklas is technically in another den so Niklas got to go to the city Derby too.

Guenter was home and took Niklas. He won 7th place but we are talking such fractions of inches in places, it is crazy.

Fun memories for Niklas.

February 24, 2014

Released from YW

On Sunday I was released from YW as a teacher. I really struggled with it.

On one hand I have not been feeling motivated since November and have asked others to teach more these last few months. I wanted to be released but in general I don't ask for a change but wait until one occurs naturally (unless I have a legitimate reason).

On the other hand, it felt like I was being fired. That I had done something wrong. There are a few girls there that I find abrasive and difficult and wondered if that was the reason I was being released. I knew that I also was a teacher that liked to challenge their thinking, and maybe I went too far. I just didn't know. I did ask the president and she said "No! You didn't do anything!" but didn't elaborate or tell me I was a great teacher etc. I wondered if it was because I didn't have the spirit with me.

They did call 2 sisters that are less active and I like them both and think they will do great.

I just wish these things didn't cause me to become so insecure. I ruminated over it far too much. I think a lot of it went back to my distrust because of the circumstances in Germany and what happened with callings then. I am pretty sure that is why I distort things.

I am fine now, and I am sure there will be a calling for me soon.

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