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Low Achievers

December 01, 1987

If you have a child with the IQ of a spud, and that child is indeed sprouting eyes, he is not eligible for placement in a special education class. He will sit and sprout all year in a regular classroom with 30 or so regular kids. And learn next to nothing, and accomplish next to nothing as far as the curricular goals are concerned.

Such a child is not eligible for special help because, after testing, no discrepancy has been found between IQ and actual achievement. Back to square one: If a spud sprouts eyes, it is truly functioning as a spud.

As far as I understand the situation, there are thousands of these ineligible kids, all vegetating in regular classrooms, being sent on up to the next grade level, because their IQs match their achievements. I've been told these children do well with simple, repetitive tasks such as cleaning a reading center, watering plants, etc. But my bottom-line concern is this: Assuming their parents are paying the same taxes as anyone else, why are these children not receiving any benefits from the very educational system that these tax monies are supporting? Where is it written that they have to spend their school experience tending ferns?

Who knows or will ever know what these kids are capable of doing unless they are provided with an educational environment which meets their special needs? Sometimes it seems that the last item on the California legislators' minds is producing an intelligent electorate. These "leaders" need a week's vacation in an urban classroom. Then again, maybe that's where our governor already goes to select his gardeners.

ELAENA F. HISGEN

Los Angeles

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