Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

NCLB Outrages

DIBELS Abuse in Tennessee

Ohanian Comment: I received this message from a Tennessee mom. It is a reminder that DIBELS is still used to abuse children. Richelle Deharde said she is happy for her name to be used.

I don't see any reason to protect the school system: Davidson County, Metro Nashville. It reminds me of this story from the Gov. Jeb Bush reign of terror in Florida: At a Florida School They Think It's Fine to Keep a Kid in Kindergarten for Three Years--except this Tennessee boy could read. He just got flummoxed by the nonsense of DIBELS.

As I counseled an Oregon mom with a similar problem, "If your child is careful and deliberate, he will be penalized by the emphasis on speed DIBELS promotes." Since she lived in a rural area with no school alternatives, I recommended home schooling. When I tried to tell this story at the Chicago AFT Progressive Caucus, they hooted me off the dais. Their position was: Public schools, right or wrong, defend them. That was the old, bad CTU. Let's hope the reformers wouldn't dream of condemning a child to three years in kindergarten--or even two.

Speaking of which, look at this CURRENT obscene kindergarten testing schedule in Chicago.

Let's hope we see a teachers union someplace lead a boycott of DIBELS.

by Richelle Deharde

I read on this site that first hand accounts DIBELS are welcomed.

Here you go: my brilliant 6 year old graduated Kindergarten with all As. He is exceptionally intuitive and reads well independently. After completing Kindergarten, he decided that he wanted to go to the local public school -- rated 3rd in Academics in the state of TN. Their first order of business -- DIBELS. He always freaks out in DIBELS and shyly shuts down.

That was enough for them. Despite his over-achieving grades, he was branded as being unable to read and forced to repeat Kindergarten.

In Kindergarten, again he quickly excelled and advanced over all of his peers. Again, he was given the DIBELS, he became overwhelmed at the non-sense words, and drab fluency layout, shut down, and continued to be refused graduation to first grade!

We have removed him from the local public school and promoted him ourselves, and he is again thriving WITHOUT DIBELS!

I just spent the afternoon crying over just how much power that particular test had to pigeon-hole my child. No one in the school Administration took the time to help my son relax, overcome the shyness, or prepare. Just a stranger presenting him with the test, in a strange environment, then making a determination on his entire school year based on the interview. The administration promised me that he would move forward if he retested and did better on a later date. In my opinion, that was a big lie, they didn't promote him because by the time they retested him, the entire first grade class had moved forward. He would have been behind -- too much stress for the teacher to help the one in light of the many.

— Richelle Deharde
personal note


This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.