March 30th, 2011

Free stuff links are fixed!

Dear readers….

If you tried to download the nifty practical ONE-PAGE definitions of FAPE under the IDEA/ MA law and under Section 504, please try again. The links are fixed!

Please let me know what you think of the FREE STUFF. Thanks.

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March 30th, 2011

Does more spending mean more learning?

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2011/03/lawmakers_grill_duncan_on_spen.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CampaignK-12+%28Education+Week+Blog%3A+Politics+K-12%29

This  article is listed under Politics-K12 in Education Week. Need we say more?

While it’s good that we’re talking about whether more spending on education is leading to better results (it is not, necessarily) it is bad that the discussion is wrapped in politics. One party says yes to more spending;  one says no. Knee jerk reactions?

Until we get the matter out of politics into reliable research on what works and what does not, we will continue to fret and fret and then spend and spend.

The discussion should be among educators–not politicians!

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March 23rd, 2011

Finally, we explore burdensome federal regulations!

http://www.educationnews.org/ed_reports/thinks_tanks/151930.html

Thank you for this story. Finally, we are talking about burdensome federal regulations. 

However, the story has a HUGE gap–not a word about special education. That arena alone is burdened by paperwork, has onerous bureaucratic requirements that impede teaching and learning for all students, and costs schools some 20-40% of their budgets–though we  don’t even know how much of that cost is due to bureaucratic requirements.    The legal requirements in this arena alone take up hours and hours of educators’ and administrators’ time, drive teachers away from the field,  take teachers away from precious time-on-task with students, and incubates litigation and the fear of litigation in our schools.

It’s time to place this arena on the table.  I’m disappointed that it is not there yet.

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March 21st, 2011

Finally–a focus on burdensome paperwork in special education.

http://edworkforce.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=229296

Thank you, Duncan Hunter, for bringing this issue forward at last. Let’s hope we finally get action to reduce  paperwork work and  focus attention on teaching and learning for all students!

And thank you www.mkcresources.net.  Teaching on Edge, for bringing this post to my attention.

http://www.mkcresources.net/teachingonedge/.  Go,  Mary!  as you say, let’s hope this action pushes that elephant out of the middle of the room!

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March 20th, 2011

Miriam’s provocative article, “Where is Willie Sutton When We Need Him to Fix Special Education?”

Miriam’s provocative article, “Where is Willie Sutton When We Need Him to Fix Special Education?Copyright (C) 2011 by Texas Study of Secondary Education, Texas Association of Secondary School Principals.  All rights reserved. It is published in the Spring 2011 Texas Study of Secondary Education, TASSP (Texas Association of Secondary School Principals). www.tassp.org.

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March 19th, 2011

Learning is a partnership among teachers, students, and, yes,parents.

A must read for all. And not a moment too soon, I might add! 

Our endless focus on teachers only will not get us where we need to be. For education, students need to be active participants in their own learning.  And parents need to support our schools. Only with this full-blown partnership will we finally see real and sustained progress.

http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/walt_gardners_reality_check/2011/03/student_responsibility_for_learning_part_ii.html

It’s so obvious! Yet, until now, unspoken. Thank you for these important pieces and research. 

See also STEP 8 in my book, Fixing Special Education–12 Steps to Transform a Broken System.  The chapter is called, “Remind students, parents, and teachers that education is an active process.” Readjust our incentive system!

This little flipbook is available on Amazon.com on this website’s Store!

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March 16th, 2011

Finally! Thank you! A study confirming what we already know…

We, in America, need to raise the status of teachers.  So says the study discussed in today’s NY Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/16/education/16teachers.html

Instead, so much of what we do, lowers their status and we should not be surprised by the negative outcomes of that approach.

One place the status issue is ‘hot’ is in special education–though it is not discussed. The very concept of parents  ‘advocating’ for their children against the school–sets up a negative status for teachers. Teachers are (and were) the natural advocates for children they teach. I know that when I taught back in the 1960-s and 70-s, I viewed my role as an advocate for my students. It is time for us to get back to that truth, and in so doing, raise the status of teachers.

The very thought that we should have a due process hearing (or the threat of such a hearing) about whether the education plan proposed for the child by teachers and others–sets up a negative status for teachers. What other profession–Doctor? Lawyer? Architect? Car mechanic? Sales person? –endures the threat of litigation before they do their work? You guessed it, no other.

We can’t really be surprised–given these and many other policies–that we in America view teaching as a lower status profession

In South Korea, teachers are known as ‘nation builders.’ How different is that! We should head in that direction, instead of the one we are on.

Thank you for this study and let’s hope it has legs!

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March 15th, 2011

Let students create own education?

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/15/opinion/15engel.html?src=me&ref=homepage

HMM. Teach students independence?

I remember when we lived in Paris and my daughter went to part of 8th grade at a local Parisian high school. Students were able to leave the school, wander all over the city during free periods, lunch hour, etc.  They learned independence.

Then we came back to the US  to the shock of an essentially ‘lock-down’ situation at the local junior high school. No leaving that junior high school. Ever!  Ever! Ever!

Indeed, there’s lots to say for teaching independence  earlier than later.

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March 11th, 2011

Finally–in the mainstream press!

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/school-turnaroundsreform/fact-challenged-education-poli.html

I’ve said it so often. The Massachusetts superintendents’ study around 10 years ago already said it.  And now finally, it’s in the Washington Post– the mainstream press! 

Costs for special education continue to rise while costs for regular education continue to fall. This is NOT the way to improve schools. We must transform special education, the only entitlement program in our schools. If we do not, costs will continue to be out of balance for all students.  These escalating costs for education’s only entitlement program are of great concern to me.   We should have more writing and discussion about them.

Yet, even so, I’m not sure that we only spend 21% of money on special education, as there is no indication that this number includes the regular education services that students with disabilities (SWD) receive in school. Most SWD are in regular classes most of the time, after all.  So, I’d rather see data showing the costs for educating SWD–to clearly include both regular and special education services.  We have to put the reform of special education on the front burner of education reform…..
Your information? thoughts? 

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March 9th, 2011

Awesome article on goal setting for kids!

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704758904576188453057819300.html?mod=ITP_personaljournal_0

This is a great article.  Children are taught to set goals; in one program, these are SMART  goals–”Specific, Measurable, Attainable goals with clear Results in a set Time frame.”  A good read for all teachers and parents.

And, surely, this is what the Individualized Education Program (IEP) in special education was supposed to be for many students. A way to promote goals and achievement. Unfortunately, along the way, these goals were targeted at teachers and schools–not students.  The article shows the obvious–it is vital that students absorb these goals and that students are motivated to achieve them.   Hopefully we can work this approach back to the IEP!

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