It would not work for Matthew, Comeaux suspected

Oct 19, 2013

These Students Are Finishing High School

Julie Comeaux’s 17 year old son, Matthew, is a student with special needs. He has tuberous sclerosis, epilepsy and autism, but that hasn’t stopped him from being moncler outlet ambitious at school. He has worked hard to keep up with his peers despite his difficulties.

So buy moncler jackets when administrators at Matthew’s Louisiana high school suggested last year that he forgo getting a regular high school diploma and start working on a watered down alternative diploma, Julie Comeaux was appalled.

cheap moncler jackets sale The alternative diploma, attained through the LEAP Alternate Assessment, Level 1 (LAA1) graduation pathway, allows students with severe disabilities to forgo typical academic expectations and requirements, and it doesn’t end with moncler sale the high school diploma. cheap moncler jackets sale

moncler outlet sale It’s like school administrators wanted Matthew to monlcer down jackets “either sink to the level of getting a LAA1 diploma or swim with the big fish and fail,” said Comeaux, who lives in New Iberia, a small city near Lafayette. “My favorite comparison I see a lot is about asking a fish to climb a tree. I’m not asking Matthew to climb a tree. I’m asking him to swim a river, though it might be upstream.” moncler outlet sale

moncler outlet store As of 2016,Louisiana and 23 other stateshad alternative diploma or certificate options specifically for students with disabilities, each state with its own system. On its face, this process seems to make sense. It gives students with special needs another option for coursework if they have trouble keeping up with the typical requirements. moncler outlet store

moncler jackets outlet In practice, this process is more complicated and sometimes relegates capable students into diluted settings, stunting their ability to not only cheap moncler jackets learn in school but also to achieve later in life. moncler jackets outlet

moncler sale The stakes for these students are high. Diplomas, specifically for students with disabilities, usually fall short of what is required for college entrance. Employers often require a moncler sale outlet standard diploma for jobs. Even worse, not all parents are aware of these pitfalls when they agree to place their student on an alternative graduation track, causing them to unwittingly set their child up for years of low expectations. moncler sale

However, there is not much research on the life outcomes of students with disabilities who attain high school diplomas versus those who get alternative exit documents.

cheap moncler An alternative diploma or certificate track might work for many students, especially students with specific academic needs who have severe cognitive disabilities. It would not work for Matthew, Comeaux suspected. Her suspicion was confirmed when she eventually obtained sample LAA1 curricula from school leaders and saw that they would be remedial for Matthew. cheap moncler

moncler outlet online Comeaux, who has made it a point to educate herself about the intricacies of special education policy, told administrators she would not be taking her child off the regular diploma track. moncler outlet online

moncler outlet jackets But most parents do not have the expertise to make such a decision. moncler outlet jackets

When parents and kids hear the word “certificate,” “to them that means it’s a document that is similar to a regular diploma and has the same value. “A lot of times kids don’t find that out until way too late.”

moncler factory outlet Throughout his time in school, Comeaux always felt that Matthew might be overlooked if she didn’t stay vigilant on his behalf. Her fear is well founded. Although an estimated 90 percent of students with disabilities should be able to meet the same graduation standards as their peers, the national graduation percentage forstudents with disabilities lingers in the mid 60s. moncler factory outlet

The accuracy of these numbers, though, is fuzzy. States have been known to calculate these rates in disparate ways. States sometimes count students with disabilities who receive a regular diploma through alternative requirements, and sometimes they do not. It is unclear how many students with disabilities leave high school with an exit document other than a regular diploma, according to Martha Thurlow, the director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota, a group that researches students with disabilities.

Louisiana, where Matthew has always attended school, has its own specific challenges. The state has one of thelowest graduation ratesfor students with disabilities in the country and one of the largest gaps in graduation rates between students with disabilities and other students. As recently as 2011, more students cheap moncler with disabilities in Louisianadropped outthan graduated.

moncler outlet Future improvement is unclear. The Every Student Succeeds Act a federal education law passed in 2015 allows states to create a state defined alternative diploma that’s aligned with regular requirements. moncler outlet

Comeaux conceded that administrators’ concerns moncler mens jackets about Matthew did not arise in a vacuum. Matthew’s condition is intense. Tuberous sclerosis causes non cancerous tumors to develop in the brain. A few years ago, he also started having stress induced seizures, causing him to miss large chunks of middle school, putting him at a disadvantage for his freshman year. He is also autistic and has some cognitive delay, Comeaux said.

While cheap moncler sale Matthew is outgoing he has memorized the schedules of his favorite cashiers at the grocery store and loves to visit them he had a poor experience with school staff in middle school, and in high school he became increasingly anxious and prone to outbursts. The low score on a psychiatrist conducted evaluation of his behavior meant he “qualified” for the LAA1 path.

moncler outlet uk But Comeaux felt that none of these issues precluded her son from achieving in an academically rigorous environment. moncler outlet uk

cheap moncler coats They “didn’t bring up his ability to do the work,” Comeaux said of that January moncler outlet online 2016 meeting. “He’s not a child we’re teaching to push a broom.” cheap moncler coats

Comeaux eventually decided to pull Matthew out of New Iberia Senior High School and try home schooling. Matthew’s behavior, happiness and academics have all improved. He will eventually graduate with a regular diploma, and Comeaux hopes to see him go on to attend a two year college.

cheap moncler jackets District officials did not respond to requests for comment on Matthew’s experience. cheap moncler jackets

Still Cheap Moncler Jackets , Comeaux wishes there had been a middle ground to address the challenges Matthew was facing. In this ideal world, Matthew would be able to stay in school and graduate with a regular diploma but advance through the curriculum at a slower pace than his cheap moncler outlet peers.

The desire for more or at least better options is one that parents of children with disabilities understand well.

Gena Mitchell’s 15 year old daughter, Devin , is on the certificate track at school in Maryland. She placed her daughter, who has moncler outlet store Down syndrome, on this track during the sixth grade. She’s just now beginning to realize what this decision might mean for Devin’s future.

moncler sale outlet Devin spends her days in an inclusive, general education environment but receives modified work. It’s a system that has generally worked well for Devin. She takes pride in showing improvement on assignments while thriving socially with her peers. moncler sale outlet

Mitchell knows her daughter would never be able to follow the same curriculum cheap moncler coats as her peers. But she also knows that her daughter has achieved strong gains and works hard. Her daughter takes classes including Spanish and astronomy. She can read the same books as her peers even if they’re in a modified format. That has to be worth something.

moncler jacket sale “It was the best information I had,” Mitchell said of putting her daughter on the certificate track. “If I lived in other parts of the country, my daughter could graduate with a diploma with modified work.” moncler jacket sale

Indeed, for students with disabilities, different areas of the country can have vastly different expectations.

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