January 25th, 2010

Thank you, for this common sense research!

It matters what our kids know. It matters to them and it matters to our nation. An important new study by Professor Eric Hanushek of Stanford and Andreas Schleicher of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development links rise in test scores with a nation’s output. Thank you for that research!

(What kids learn and know matters)

Let’s hope this is widely read on Main Street and in Washington.

Post by Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, M.A., J.D. | No Comments

January 22nd, 2010

RTTT–only the bold and innovative need apply!

(States apply for RTTT funds)

Isn’t it amazing that 40 states have applied for $4.35 billions in the Race to the Top funds…. The states need to demonstrate that their proposals are bold and innovative. Not a rehash of the status quo.

Yet, all states will share in the much larger number, $12.2 billions of additional, NEW moneys added to special education. They do not need to show any innovation or boldness any reform the system. That money goes to support the status quo.

Make sense? Not me me either.

Post by Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, M.A., J.D. | No Comments

January 22nd, 2010

David Brooks' "Politics in the age of distrust"

What does David Brooks’ column, “Politics in the Age of Distrust,” have to do with special education? Everything. I am struck by how much it relates to the issues we have in special education.

(Politics in the age of distrust).

So, let’s ask, why do schools and parents have to go through endless meetings, procedures, paperwork, written plans, lawsuits, threats of lawsuits, legal and bureaucratic requirements, due process, documentation ad infinitum in special education? Because, at bottom, the law creates lack of trust between parents and schools. Parents have to fight schools to get services. Etc. Etc. Etc. Most of us know the system is broken–distrust abounds.

But, saddest of all, what do any of these processes and procedures and requirements have to do with improving teaching and learning? Not much, if anything.

The age of distrust of government, including schools, takes us down the wrong path. It is dysfunctional for students, teachers, and parents.

See my book Fixing Special Education–12 Steps to Transform a Broken System. My hope is that it will help get us back on the right path–the mission of educating all children.

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January 17th, 2010

Generation X Parents! We need to work with them!

Check out this article! http://www.aasa.org/SchoolAdministratorArticle.aspx?id=11122>(Generation X parents)

Fascinating discussion of Gen-X parents (and how they differ from Boomer parents.) Bottom line, in order to be successful in the decades ahead, schools will need to build relations with parents from the get-go, provide data, data, data, “market themselves intelligently to this new generation of parents,” and rebrand themselves. We’re talking about all parents– of regular, special education, gifted, talented, bored, everyone. A fascinating discussion that I hightly recommend.

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January 11th, 2010

Character education in Milwaukee

Today’s Core Knowledge blog picked up an important article from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

(character education is at the root of it all).

Thank you for this return to basics and common sense.

Honesty, effort, punctuality, showing up ready to work, getting along with others, putting in consistent effort every day–these are what business needs from schools. As well as, these are what schools need from students–and schools need to foster the reality that these values matter most and underpin everything else.

The article points out that it is not a matter of a new curriculum or new technology. And I will add, it’s not really about new funding. In fact, it’s about the the old basics that are lacking too often.

I have argued that schools should value these core attributes–with specific grades, report cards, honors, and perhaps different diplomas–so that every member of the school community knows how key they are. At the end of the day–these are the attributes that lead to success in business and life.

Post by Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, M.A., J.D. | No Comments

January 8th, 2010

Big money pot and bigger–why so different?

Am I the only person who is amazed (and troubled) by the fact that our country is obsessed with a smaller pot of Race to the Top (RTTT) money–and silent on the larger pot, additional funding for special education.

Check this out.

The stimulus package’s ‘Race to the Top’ funds add up to $4.35 BILLION. Yes, that’s with a B!

Everyone is scrambling for that amount–across our country. States are turning policies inside out in order to be eligible for the race–to improve education, accountability, demonstate true reform, etc. See, for example, and today’s Education News articles at href=http://Educationnews.org> (Education News) In every corner of our land state action is on the move!

Yet, in contrast, look at the ADDITIONAL moneys in President Obama’s stimulus package for special education. That sum adds up to $12.2 BILLION–in addition to more than 80+ billions already spent. Yes, that’s with a B, also.

Yet, we have silence. Silence. For this almost three times larger dollar amount, states do NOT need to prove that they are reforming education or that student results will improve. No one is on the move. It’s more of the same in special education–justs getting bigger and bigger.

How can this be? Why is no one focused on the much larger amount?

Post by Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, M.A., J.D. | 1 Comment

January 2nd, 2010

Check it out!

(FixingSpecialEducation on Joannejacobs.com)

Let’s keep the national conversation going and fix the system for all children.

Post by Miriam Kurtzig Freedman, M.A., J.D. | 1 Comment

January 1st, 2010

Amazing way to start the New Year at NY Times!

The front page of the New York Times starts 2010 with a look at honors and grade inflation. Maybe we will turn a corner back to real and high standards. Congratulations to the Times for opening the new year with this wakeup call!

Happy New Year to all!

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