It’s been a long while since I blogged…. for loyal readers, I do apologize for my absence.

The great news is that I’ve been hard at work–with much support from friends and colleagues– on an exciting project–writing a new law for special education!  It’s current title is Education for All:  Reaching High for Generation 2.  

Its mascot is the giraffe–who always reaches high!

The project started back in January… at the cafe when I was talking to Dave and his teen-age son about the law. Dave inspired me to just do it. And so I did–with much help on the way–laying out the basic principles for a new law. It’s short and sweet, and….

…almost ready for prime time…. If you would like to learn more and how to get involved, please let me know. Email me at Miriam@schoollawpro.com. 

Happy new school year and happy Generation 2 !

If you live long enough, you can see it all—if you’re looking.

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal in the Personal Journal section, ‘Never too Awkward to Ask:  Have You Washed Your Hands?’  Apparently only 50% of doctors do—and it’s dangerous to patients that so many don’t.  Who knew? I thought they had solved that one…

For me, I’ll have to change my presentations!  In speaking of the professionalism of teachers–that we need to honor–I used to  say that they are like doctors. We should not ask them ‘little’ things like have you washed your hands–or have you seated students where they will learn best (called ‘preferential seating’). We should assume they are doing what they are supposed to do–. Well, apparently not so fast. Fascinating.

 

My August 5  Wall Street Journal op-ed–that garnered many comments and letters–is all about getting everyone to the table–regular and special ed folks; teachers and parents and adminstrators; students and citizens.   We can’t just be talking to our friends and people who agree with us.  We need to talk to others, as well. In my view, we need to expand the national discussion.  In your  view?  Let us know!

 

CASE in Indianapolis

I’ll be speaking at 24th CASE Annual Fall Conference in Indianapolis tomorrow on “Fixing Special Education–It’s Time to Reinvent this Broken System.”

If you’d like a copy of the presentation material, please send a comment.

 

Fixing Special Education

 

Yesterday we were at a fancy Boston restaurant during Restaurant Week…. It hit home–all those cell phones going; peole together not really together. Photos, emails, texts. Nobody was actually there.

An now today’s NY Times. Same story on a national scale. What are we doing here?

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/disruptions-more-connected-yet-more-alone/?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20130902&_r=0

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2013/08/private_school_vs_public_school_only_bad_people_send_their_kids_to_private.html

 

Wow. Years ago I wrote a piece about the reality that the ONLY way to fix our public schools is the CLOSE all private schools.  Here is the link!http://www.educationnews.org/education-policy-and-politics/miriam-k-freedman-one-radical-idea-to-fix-public-schools/

WOW. Where does this go? I’m not into labeling parents as this Slate headline does. But, we can’t ignore the reality that there is a large kernel of truth in the reality that if all  people are not invested in our public schools they will not work.  Schools can’t be just for other people’s children.

They’re talking about my Wall Street Journal piece.  Pretty lively.

BUT, I’m afraid that I’ve been misquoted…

I did not write that it’s time to debate mainstreaming. That was the Wall Street Journal’s headline. Not mine.

I was looking at special education far more broadly.  I wrote that it’s time to bring all stakeholders to the table–regular and special education–to discuss how to educate all students. Mainsteaming is but one of the issues to explore. As many of these commenters say, mainstreaming is often an individualized situation. Context matters! I make no conclusions about it .

http://www.joannejacobs.com/2013/08/its-time-to-debate-mainstreaming/#comments

I hope you’ll check it out. The argument I make is that to fix special education, we need all stakeholders at the table–regular education parents and teachers, as well as special ed stakeholders.  The need is for open and frank discussion. My piece is NOT intended to be about the pros and cons of inclusion.

 

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323309404578613532497541300.html?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEFTTopOpinion

In reviewing the many thoughtful comments this piece has garnered so far, I am struck by the reality that this piece has struck a chord. I do   hope we keep the conversation going. How about a Center or Forum or Event for these very conversations….

Are you in?

Here’s an interesting (to me, scary) article in Scientific American.  Now that ‘everyone’ has a smart phone–and calculators are allowed in many classrooms–EEK!– kids (and everyone else) don’t need to memorize stuff.  They just need to click and get it.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=smartphones-mean-no-longer-memorize-facts&WT.mc_id=SA_sharetool_Twitter

I remember how glad I was when my kids’ school did not allow calculators–that was back in the ’90’s. Times have changed. No one needs to know who the first President was– or how much 3 apples will cost, if each is 19 cents. Just look it up in a flash. Wow, that was easy!

Yet, I find this unsettling. What happens when the battery dies?  Or the smart phone is lost?  What will anyone know or be able to do?

I still believe the best calculator and ‘smart’ gadget is our brain–and it needs to be nourished, challenged, and educated.

Inclusion research

How does inclusion affect regular education students?

Which students? average, below average, above average, advanced?

How does inclusion affect special education students?

Which students with which disabilities?

 

I’ve seen some research–rather old. What’s new out there? If you know of any, please share!