• 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 [...]
  • NAEP Update!

    I am honored to let you know that I have been appointed as a member of the NAGB (National Assessment Governing Board) Expert Panel on Uniform Rules for Testing Students with Disabilities (SD) on the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress). This test is often called 'the nation's report card.' It's supposed to be the common yard stick for measuring our nation's students. The NAEP is a voluntary, representative test--given across the country at the 4th and 8th grade levels. Over [...]
  • Interesting article about special education from www.bipps.org

    Just read an interesting article, "Evidence of a costly, cumbersome special-education system" from the Bluegrass Institute in Kentucky. Check it out! http://www.bipps.org/article.php?article_id=690
  • The SAT extended time loophole?

    It's 2009. A high school student in a fine school district describes how classmates get disability diagnoses in order to take the SAT with extended time. The student asked the parents to be taken for testing. They refused.What a sad chapter in the college application saga. It followed the College Board's 2002 policy. The College Board no longer flags SAT scores. Thus, no one (such as a college admissions office) is told how SAT scores are achieved and which ones were achieved under the [...]
  • Back to Sunday’s NY Times story about English language learners

    In case you missed it, excellent front page story--http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/us/15immig.html?pagewanted=5&ref=educationAnother thought about this. We now have about 1 in 10 students in US schools classified as English language learners! A huge increase of 60% between 1995-2005. Yet, schools are confused about how to teach these students and prepare them for life.... Policies are all over the place--no consensus nationally about how to tackle this challenge. And, in terms of [...]
  • New York Times piece, “Education and Immigration”

    The front page piece is at:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/15/us/15immig.html?pagewanted=5&ref=educationMy thoughts? Immersion in regular schools works. As a foreigner in a strange land four times (twice for me and twice for my children) having to learn a new language fast, I can tell you that immersion works best. Consider, in fifth grade in New Jersey in the 1950's, I have been forever grateful that my teachers did not speak any Dutch. I learned English fast. As an immigrant to [...]
  • If—

    There's so much to write on this question--millenia of experiences--so I will resist the urge and just add a couple of ideas.Yesterday, I visited a California charter school. It was lovely. It had great programs, students, teachers. Everything there seemedto be working on all cylinders.During the tour, the elementary school principal then told us, "If I could get moms to put them to bed early."If...If...If... moms and dads would talk to their kids, what a huge difference that would make for [...]