When a grieving friend asks for your help, give it. Until now, I’ve not shared this growing media story here, though I’ve linked Facebook and Twitter accounts to published articles; until now it’s been too personal for me to publicize in an ordinary post.
My friend’s son, Ethan Rediske, died February 7. Today his mother, Andrea Rediske, asked her friends to share this plea from her Facebook wall:
“Today, members of teacher and education activist groups all over the country are changing their Facebook profile picture to Ethan’s picture in support of Ethan’s Act and the battle we’re fighting for students with disabilities and students suffering as the result of high-stakes standardized testing. I’m unbelievably grateful for the outpouring of love and support. Thank you all for taking up this dragon-slaying sword for us so that we can have some time to rest and grieve. Bless you all.” #EthansAct
Why is this a national issue and not just a Florida concern? Andrea also said this:
“There have been whisperings that part of the reason why the state of Florida was recalcitrant to give Ethan and other children like him a waiver from standardized testing is because the federal government withholds money for each student granted a waiver. This suggests that the problem of disabled children being forced to take standardized tests is not just an issue in our state and district — it goes all the way to the federal level. We have to fight this with a grassroots effort. No family should have to go through what we have gone through. Help us carry on Ethan’s legacy by writing to your school district, your state legislators, and your congressmen and congresswomen to change these laws and policies that abuse the most helpless under their stewardship. I will continue to fight, to talk to every news outlet that I can, and to lobby in any way that I can to expose this travesty. Please help us in this fight.” #EthansAct #theypissedoffthewrongmommy
Though I’ve suffered my own losses in life, I cannot fathom the depth of my friend’s pain. Nothing I can do will lessen it. However, in sharing her plea, I can help her spare other families the agonies forced on hers by senseless regulations.
Please join us in sharing the Rediskes’ story and in supporting HB 895, The Ethan Rediske Act.
To learn more about Ethan’s story and why change is so important, check out the news articles linked below:
Thank you for sharing the story. Why is it that the government demands these tests to children even those with disabilities?
That’s a great question, Yumi. I believe the original intent of the law was a good one, that no children be “left behind” in receiving a quality education, no matter their background or circumstances. The required testing was meant to hold educators responsible for not shirking their responsibilities to do that, especially for the most vulnerable children. However, the current policies overlook (and trample upon) the individual needs, abilities, and disabilities of those same students.
The proposed legislation would allow local school districts to offer exemptions as needed–without requiring families already expending tremendous energies in their children’s behalf to overcome annual bureaucratic hurdles at the state level. In my friend’s case, such legislation would have allowed Ethan and his family greater peace and less needless duress during his time under hospice care.
[…] * Please see https://tealashes.com/2014/02/21/ethan-rediske-act-supports-my-grieving-friend-and-many-other-familie… to learn more about Ethan […]