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Special education students in Gilbert blamed for district failures

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According to an article published today on

Eleven Gilbert schools, all junior highs, all but one high school and the Gilbert Learning Center - joined a record 814 Arizona schools, or 42 percent, that failed to make adequate yearly progress.

A combination of factors could be blamed for these dismal results - mostly beyond the control of the Gilbert Public School District. No Child Left Behind has certain requirements that must be met. The mandates do not allow for students who don't speak english, or make allowances for special education students.

Barbara VeNard, an assistant superintendent, placed the blame squarely upon "a group of failing special education students".

The article can be found on While much of the information within the article is eye-opening, the tone of the article is troubling.

Does anyone else in Gilbert find it unseemly that an assistant superintendent would throw struggling students under the proverbial bus? Do any other mothers of a special education students - in Gilbert or anywhere else - find the language used in the article offensive?

To openly blame students, who courageously face their challenges every day, for the district's failure to meet adequate yearly progress seems dishonorable.

According to the article, none of the junior high schools met the requirements for adequate yearly progress because none of the special education groups met their progress requirements.

Regardless of who is to blame...pointing the finger at a handful of students, who are not in the position to defend themselves, is spineless and pitiful.


Tracy Lynn Cook is a writer in Gilbert, Arizona. To read more, please visit her blog at, or browse by topic:

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Tracy can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.




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