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.

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!


Here’s a good read about someone who is called the world’s most famous teacher (who, I admit) I never heard of..

The story has some gems about teaching. As I used to be a teacher, back in the 1960’s and ’70s, before I became a school attorney, it brought back memories. I especially liked his comment about the fact that too many children go to school tired–not enough sleep at home; and that poor parents–as well as more well-off ones–love their children and want to do right by them.

That tracks my memory of my teaching days back in Berkeley (CA) in the 1960’s!)

Good summer reading.


It’s been challenging to follow the machinations about this law in Congress.

Yesterday the House voted on party lines to amend the NCLB and take its implementation back to the states–instead of the federal government.

This write up in Ed Week  is a good one–it lays out the pros and cons and tells us who is for the House version and who against… as well as what the Senate may be up to.

What to make of this? First observation–groups that represent school districts favor the House version of more local control. Others don’t. Sad, isn’t it–to have such a dispute–especially as, in the end, it all comes down to those schools.

Second observation–many groups decry the House version as saying it lowers expectations and doesn’t continue the push for high standards for all students. But I have a hard time understanding this argument since 39 states and DC have received waivers from those very expectations. (Remember how all students were going to be ‘proficient’ by 2014–that is next year! ) What am I missing here?

I know, I know.

I know. It’s been over a month since my last blog.  I’m sorry about that… and have no excuses. That’s just what happened.

The good news is that it is now possible for you to buy my three little flipbooks through PayPal on this website!

Please visit the  Store... and you’ll see this step forward.

I hope your summer is going well.

There seems to be growing support for ‘ ability’ grouping. I’d much rather it be called ‘performance grouping.’ How is the child performing now! What are the next steps for that child based on current performance (not some notion of ability or potential).
This practice–whatever we call it– is resurging.  As a former teacher and parent, I believe we should be doing more –rather than less–of this.
Thus, I was happy to see these articles in the NY Tiimes. I’d call it ‘performance grouping.’ I believe we should be doing more of it to meet children’s needs wherever they are based on current performance.

As loyal readers know, the AASA (American Association of School Administrators) recently wrote a report on reforming special education due process.   I believe they did a great public services in doing so–bringing this issue forward.  It’s generated some controversy and discussion.

It’s been amazing to see the AASA cite our Massachusetts dispute resolution option–based on a jointly selected consultant–SpedEx, as a model going forward!   We in Massachusetts have had success with SpedEx and do believe it could serve as  a model nationwide.

However, there are differences between the AASA version and SpedEx. The major difference, in my view, is that SpedEx is voluntary for schools and parents and that parties do NOT waive any of their due process rights.  See  EdSource below!

Let’s keep this important discussion going. Surely together we can build a better system for schools, parents, and students!