(President Obama on his choice of schools for his daughters).

Our president gave an honest answer. We understand that. But as long as people can walk away from the public schools, they will continue to be for other people’s children. I wrote an essay many years ago that the only way to fix our public schools is to CLOSE all the private schools! Nutty? I don’t think so. By doing that, we would force all players to the same table and I do believe that improvements would come fast. Very fast. In fact, it’s really the only way.

(The Responsibility Deficit).

It’s great to see our friend, Philip K. Howard, featured in David Brooks’ column. Of course, he’s right. Teachers need the freedom to teach and students need to know that it is their responsibility to learn.

It’s always amazing to me that when we make comparisons of student achievement with other countries (Finland, comes to mind) we ignore the student, parent, and teacher responsibility parts. There are key. Yet, not on the table usually.

Instead we focus on systems and more rules and more requirements, taking us further and further away from what works: responsibility by key players. Thank you again, Philip, and thank you David Brooks for recognizing his important work!

(Should we rethink inclusion??

Yes, it’s time to rethink inclusion. Inclusion grew out of the civil rights model. (student have a right to be in regular classrooms) not out of the education model (what works for students!). So sad. Instead, our schools should be driven by research or education-based practices–not legal mandates or concepts cooked up by legislators and judges.

It is, indeed, time to rethink inclusion so we can do what actually works for kids in schools.

(Thomas Friedman echoes Robert Samuelson’s call for motivated and hardworking students)

Finally, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times and Robert Samuelson of Newsweek tell us the truth: too many of our students are not motivated to work hard. After all the money spent on ‘education reform,’ we have little to show for it because (so far) we have been unwilling to look in the right places–what students bring from home and what students do in school.

Let’s hope these thought leaders get that conversation going.

To be published by Education Update.  www.educationupdate.com


Three experts weigh in on issues of  fixing special education–a discussion that was begun by Common Good as a book party for my Fixing Special Education–12 Steps to Transform a Broken System. The experts are Michael Best, general counsel of New York City public schools, Jean Johnson, Executive Vice President of Public Agenda, and me.

(Number of students with specific learning disability is down).

Is this good news? Is it news? What does it mean? We all need to stay tuned.

But, for the moment, it looks like GOOD news for those of us who believe that too many students were labeled with SLD and who believe that good teaching in the early grades through good old fashioned GOOD TEACHING practices (now called RTI–response to intervention) will keep numbers down.

A story to keep watching!

(Learning style and other theories of learning debunked).
We’ve known that brain research and ‘common knowledge’ don’t often match. So here we go again. In my book, Fixing Special Education, I wrote about the fact that so much of special education is built upon questionable (or no) research. It’s a tragedy for students, schools and our country.
Maybe this
New York Times article will help. Let us hope!