• What Wall Street and education have in common

    Like many of you, I watch and listen to the news with great anxiety... and am aghast at developments on Wall Street. Why did we get no warnings. Real warnings. Why did this come upon us as such a bolt seemingly out of the blue. But did it? Or did people know and not tell.And that got me thinking--what do we know in education, and specifically, in special education that needs to be told to a wider audience. So we can bring about necessary changes before a jolt hits all of us. I'm writing [...]
  • My Ed Week letter about SAT and ACT scores!

    Published online on September 16, 2008Published in print on September 17, 2008Education WeekLetterA Dearth of Standardization in College-Entrance ExamsTo the Editor:As reported in your recent articles "SAT Scores for Class of 2008 Halt Slide of Recent Years" (Sept. 3, 2008) and "ACT Scores Dip Slightly as Participation Soars" (Aug. 27, 2008), scores on the SAT and ACT college-entrance exams remain flat or trend slightly downward, while score gaps between groups of students remain wide. Are [...]
  • Education Week: The Elevator Theory Of Special Education

    Back in 1995, I wrote the attached piece which appeared in Education Week. Briefly, it speaks about the fact that we spend too much time, money, and effort on evaluating children and putting them into various categories--and that we should spend more time, money, and effort on teaching ALL students.The article received LOTS of responses at the time. As a school attorney, I visited many schools back then. Often I saw the piece on school bulletin boards. Fun! I'd love to know what you think [...]
  • Ah, SAT and ACT scores–what do they mean now?

    Have you been following news of the SAT and ACT scores? Education Week, August 27 and September 3, 2008 reported that SAT scores are flat. Gaps among groups remain wide. ACT scores “dip slightly.” Are these numbers the meaningful gold standard we need? Unfortunately not. We assume reported scores reflect a standardized norm. But, alas, they no longer do. While Ed Week headlines SAT scores and the ACT’s one tenth of a point (on a 36 point scale) decline as a “slight dip,” where is mention [...]
  • Dear friends of public education,It's been far too long since my last post--I was away from my desk.Nonw, I'm back and happy to report that my little law book, GRADES, REPORT CARDS, ETC...AND THE LAW continues to meet needs all over the country! People seem to love it. In fact, I've been invited to speak around the country on this issue which is really about the nuts and bolts of inclusion in classrooms. How do educators provide grades for all students, including students with [...]
  • How to decide if it’s an accommodation or modification

    Hello again,I get so many questions about this topic... so let's see if this explanation helps.Educators and parents often get confused about the difference between these. Remember: an accommodation does NOT fundamentally alter what is being taught or tested, and a modification DOES. A fundamental alteration changes the essence of what is being taught or tested. For example, providing a student with a reader (someone or a technology to read the text to him) on a reading lesson or test [...]
  • How to develop report cards! Keep it clear and simple.

    The issue of report cards and transcripts comes up often. I get many email queries about it...So, I'd like to share my several step process in developing report cards.As I see it, the most important step is the first one. The school needs to be very clear about what the grades will mean. This can be either school wide or teacher-by-teacher. In either case, students and parents have a right to know what matters when it comes to grades.Will they focus on knowledge? skills? effort? attendance? [...]
  • Feedback for Miriam’s book, Fixing Special Education–12 Steps to Transform a Broken System

    Nathan Levenson, Managing Director, District and Community Partners. www.dmcouncil.org. Fixing Special Education is far reaching, yet practical. The analysis convincingly challenges conventional practice and lays out a road for reform. It is the intersection of out of the box thinking and a life time of in the trenches experience. Fordham Institution’s  Education Gadfly review in the “recommended reading section This little flipbook takes a critical look at special education in [...]
  • Feedback for Miriam’s book, IEP and Section 504 Team Meetings… and the Law

    California grandmother: “If anyone asks you about this book, I can recommend it. My children used it as a powerful tool in helping them get their first California grandmother, “If any parents want to know about this book and whether it is helpful, I can personally IEP for their child.” Kentucky mom: “Miriam, many thanks for the IEP Team Meetings book. The layout, the simplicity, and the explanations were all great! Your book helped us achieve a better IEP for our [...]
  • Feedback for Miriam’s book, Grades, Report Cards, etc…and the Law

    Virginia Department of Education: “I found your book (Grades, Report Cards, etc…and the Law) lying on a co-worker’s desk and thought I’d glance at it. Well, I couldn’t put it down! It’s a wonderful, straightforward guide. How do I get a copy?” -May 2005, Virginia Department of Education. Tennessee school district. “I am ordering more books. The book is wonderful.” - Tennessee school district