• Dual and dueling laws: www.ed.gov

    As I think about how we do special education in the U.S., sometimes reality stares us in the face; yet, we overlook it.The better regular education is, the less special education we need. That is the way it is. Rock bottom solid reality.A bit of history. Back in the 1970's, the law seemed to create two systems--regular and special. Special education was going to 'fix,' 'cure,' 'educate' students identified for IDEA services. Often it succeeded and students benefited. But, over the years, [...]
  • Massachusetts launches dispute resolution SpedEX!

    As a co-founder of Special Education Day (http://www.specialeducationday.com/), I am so happy to let you know that one of our holiday's reform efforts, SpedEx, is now launched. Supported and funded by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), SpedEx is ready to help parents and schools resolve disputes about special education and a FAPE (free appropriate public education) to students.For information, please visit http://www.doe.mass.edu/bsea/spedxWe wish [...]
  • More on that Supreme Court decision, Forest Grove…

    Am I the only person who was taken aback by the Court's decision to grant the parents reimbursement for their private placement (even though the child had not received special education in the public school) for several reasons, including the fact that the legal process takes too long! Oh my. Where is the justice for all?The timing:Parents sought a due process hearing in 2003.The District Court issued its ruling in 2005.And here we are in 2009, with the Supremes--almost a year after the [...]
  • SpedEX is launched! http://www.doe.mass.edu/bsea/spedx.html

    A new, creative, child-centered dispute resolution model is now launched by the Bureau of Special Education Appeals in Massachusetts! Funded and supported by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, it is full of promise and creativity. It will provide a child with a FAPE--a free appropriate public education, with follow up to assure its implementation. We expect stories of success!Check it out! http://www.doe.mass.edu/bsea/spedx.htmlThis model grew out of [...]
  • Blue Collar and Proud of It–in USA Today!

    Joe Lamacchia's book, Blue Collar and Proud of It--which was featured in my June 15 blog, is the subject of today's USA Today article. Yes, Virginia, there are many ways to succeed in life and perhaps, not everyone should go to college. One path does not fit all.http://www.usatoday.com/news/education/2009-06-22-blue-collar_N.htm
  • Supreme Court decision on private school tuition

    Hot off the Supreme Court docket! Parents of special education students may seek reimbursement for their private school placement even if the child never received special education services in the public school. Once a finding is made that the school district denied the student a FAPE--a free appropriate public education--and that the parent's private school provides a FAPE--reimbursement is possible.Here is the N Y. Times [...]
  • What education can learn from Bernard Madoff…

    What the (NCLB) No Child Left Behind Act and the IDEA, the nation’s special education law, can learn from Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.My stepfather often told me that if something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably not. P. T. Barnum put it this way, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” As the Madoff story unfolded, many of us wondered—how could so many 'affluent and smart' investors and charities put all their money in one basket and believe it could earn 12% year after year after [...]
  • Great New York Times article… Let’s hear it for working with our hands!

    "The case for working with your hands." A fascinating article about just that--how the author became a motorcycle mechanic (and author) and how the manual trades may be making a come back in our economy. You can find it atwww.nytimes.com/2009/05/24/magazine/24labor-t.htmlMany of us in education have long argued against the dilution of vocational and technical training and the elevation of academics and lots of testing for all. This article by Matthew B. Crawford is taken from his new [...]
  • The Fight for High Standards…pops back up!

    http://www.heartland.org/custom/semod_policybot/pdf/15620.pdfI was just googling on a lovely Sunday morning and came upon this 2004 article I wrote.... Perhaps you have not read it. Here it is! Even back then in 2004, we were seeing games going on in some states with graduation tests... and how they choose to get students 'through.' These tests were designed to make diplomas meaningful again. Yet, some policies invalidate testing and will not tell us if students actually can read and [...]
  • Spending Spiral–special education in Massachusetts

    Check it out! MassINC's Spring 2009 edition is here. Its cover story focuses on special education in Massachusetts--particularly its high cost (approaching $2 billion a year) and effect---"but there is little evidence that the state's huge investment is paying off as hoped." The article is found at:http://www.massinc.org/index.php?id=732&pub_id=2452It raises many challenging questions... as it follows the state over the past 10 years, when Massachusetts abandoned its "maximum [...]