No child left behind

From the Albuquerque Tribune:

Jesus Castillo grabs his walker, swings his twisted leg and heads for the paved bus lane at Polk Middle School.

The 12-year-old flashes a mischievous smile as he swerves past his classmates strapped in wheelchairs.

Six boys in Frances Farrah’s class for severely disabled students are getting some fresh air. Jesus finds another gear and the wheels of the walker shudder.

“That’s fast enough,” Farrah warns.

“I wish he was more serious,” she sighs. “It’s therapy, not a go-cart.”

Farrah cares deeply for Jesus, who has physical and mental disabilities from cerebral palsy. He is her brightest student, the only one able to recognize all of his classmates’ names on a test.

He is also one of the neediest students at Polk, going home every day to a donated trailer heated with wood and patched with plastic on Pajarito Mesa.

Viewed through state accountability standards, Polk’s biggest problem is low test scores. The South Valley school must improve them or risk state takeover.

But many students at Polk live in poverty, struggling with getting through life instead of getting good grades.

Read more.