• The gift of life, and its price–New York Times today

    In the context of our national health care debate, today's NY Times front-page story is fascinating... about the rise in births of twins--especially through fertility treatments. The price? Into the seven figures per births.....As I read it, I was struck by the fact that The Times indexed the story in the Health section. Those of us who work in public schools, especially with special education, know that it should also be indexed in the Education section, as, sadly, there is a link between [...]
  • FIXING Special Education–almost published!

    Dear friends of education reform,My almost-ready-and-soon-to-be published new little flipbook, FIXING Special Education--12 Steps to TRANSFORM a Broken System is almost here. We expect a late October launch!The book is mentioned in Joanne Jacob's terrific blog today, http://www.joannejacobs.com/tag/miriam-kurtzig-freedman/This little flipbook will be availabe at Park Place Publications....http://stores.homestead.com/parkplacepubsstore/-strse-School-Law-Pro-Series/Categories.bokAnd, of [...]
  • Another excellent op-ed about reading: Not a SKILL, but a knowledge based necessity.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/daniel-willingham/willingham-reading-is-not-a-sk.htmlWhile this debate is going on about the national standards movement for all students, I am reminded of the many IEPs--Individualized Education Programs--for students with disabilities that schools provide across our land. Too many, focus on reading skills: decoding, encoding, reading comprehension, fluency, etc. ---without relating reading to the knowledge that students need to learn and [...]
  • Common Core letter and Diane Ravitch op-ed

    Isn't it obvious that kids need to know stuff? Lots of knowledge and skills. The world is complex. Yes, it is obvious but seems to be seems to be getting lost in the fog of '21st century skills.' Without knowledge and basic skills--there can be no bright future for students--no matter the banner or latest fad. Here's a letter that sets us on the right (and obvious path).http://www.commoncore.org/p21-challenge.php.And see Diane Ravitch' op-ed piece from this past Tuesday. Similar [...]
  • Botch most answers on math test? Pass anyway?

    Worrisome, but not surprising, article in the New York Times. URL is belowhttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/14/education/14scores.html?_r=5&partner=MOREOVERNEWS&ei=5040If we are going to rely on tests to measure student achievement--as apparently we are (and I agree with doing so), we must be sure:-- that the tests are valid, and--that they measure what they are intended to measure, and--that what is intended is important for students to know, and--that scores are honest, and--that the [...]
  • President Obama’s Excellent Speech to Students…

    Again, here's wishing you a happy start of the school year!After the controversy, hoopla, and headlines, it was, indeed, an excellent speech. The President focused on student responsibility for their own learning. Thank you, Mr. President. It's about time. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the_President_in_a_national_address_to_America's_Schoolchildren.And dare I say, his approach relates to the ethical dilemmas we have in special education--we place too much [...]
  • New School Year! How about a New Approach!

    Dear friends of education,Hopefully, this year will bring success to SpedEx--the innovative dispute resolution model that grew out of Special Education Day celebrations. It is now one of the options that Massachusetts offers for parents and schools who are embroiled in a dispute about a child's placement and right to a FAPE--a free appropriate public education. If you are interested, please visit my prior posts and check SpedEx out at www.doe.mass.edu/BSEA/spedx.htm., or at [...]
  • New face of READING in today’s New York Times

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/30/books/30reading.html?emc=eta1Fascinating article in today's NY Times... the 'reading workshop' approach. Through it, students pick the books to read instead of having them all read the same books for class discussion.This approach seems symptomatic of the individualization going on our lives--and reminds me again of special education with its IEPs (Indidualized Education Programs), each child taught according to his/her needs.Young elementary school-aged [...]
  • Magic time in America’s schools.

    It’s that time of year.The annual, magical beginning of the school year…Even after all the years since I left teaching for law, I still feel that twinge in early September, or late August. There is something magical and special about starting afresh every year. Our nation experiences that new beginning every year. I hope you enjoy it this year, as you start back to school in September or August.In close to 30 years of practicing law, I can tell you--there’s nothing like it in this biz. [...]
  • Grading policychange in Texas. www.dallasnews.com

    Today's Dallas Morning News reports about Texas' new law--Senate Bill 2033. Schools need to adopt grading policy before the start of the school year. Teachers need to grade students on the basis of their mastery, not an arbitrary minimum grade below which teachers cannot go.Under the new law, teachers are no longer required to give students grades they did not earn--such as never going below a 50, 60, or 70.The purpose of the new law is to give honest grades and to stem grade inflation. The [...]