Norwich parents raise special ed concerns to school board

NORWICH – Standing before the Norwich City School Board voicing their concerns Tuesday were three parents wanting to discuss curriculum, funding and education services for students with disabilities.

Penny Towner, a Norwich district parent, wanted to discuss statistics she had researched and how they affect the students.

Towner said, “Almost half of Norwich fourth graders are failing English language arts (ELA). Students in Norwich aren’t failing; Norwich is failing its students.”

Compared to state standards, Towner said Norwich’s 46 percent of students who are below the average range is 17 percent higher than the state’s average of 29 percent.

Towner says there are predicators for identifying students with learning disabilities, and students can begin to be identified as young as age five.

“Children who are classified in first and second grade catch up with their peers sooner and have a better chance at success,” Towner said. “I’m quite sure if you look at the numbers of children classified and at what grade they are in at the time of classification, you will see that Norwich does not do this.”

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