Sad story that echoes fears of malfeasance

In “Ex-principal: ‘Never really told the truth’ to special ed parents—
Ex-principal: I lied to parents of special-needs kids,” Shannon Mullen of the Ashbury Park (NJ, US) Press recounts a story about Sheldon Boxer, a former school administrator who says that, as a means to save funds, he misrepresented the needs of students with disabilities and the capacity of schools to serve them. Mr. Boxer accuses an attorney working with the local education agency of leading the effort without every actually issuing an edict that the purpose was to hold down costs.

Ms. Mullen captures some he-said, he-said in her story as well as some human interest (a case of a child with substantial special education needs whose parents contend say he was not provided appropriate services). You can read Ms. Mullen’s report of this sad special education story in its original form (or snag this single-page version).

CEC Assistant Executive Director for PD

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is seeking an individual to direct the Professional Development Services team. Under the general direction of the Executive Director, you will provide leadership in the area of the annual convention; advance products for publications (including the journals, e.g., Exceptional Children) and for continuing education (e.g., the popular “Webinars”). CEC is seeking someone with an advanced degree and experience in special education.
The successful candidate must have a proven record in the following: strategic planning and management of products and services that are relevant and of high-quality; generating revenue in the areas of continuing education, journals/publications and the convention. Additional background required in budgeting and supervising a Professional Development staff.
This is a rare opportunity to provide leadership in one of the leading organizations focused on special education in the world. At CEC, you can play an important role in contributing to positive progress for special educators and the children, youth, and families they serve.
To view the full job description, please download a PDF announcing the position vacancy. Learn more about CEC and its professional development activities by visiting Professionl Development section of CEC’s Web site.

Illinois State Assistant/Associate Professor Special Education Administration

The Department of Special Education at Illinois State University, a large public university with nationally recognized teacher preparation programs, invites applications for a tenure track position to be filled at the rank of Assistant/Associate Professor. The Department prepares approximately 1000 students at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. Graduate programs include course work leading to certification as a Director of Special Education.

Qualifications: Applicants must hold an earned doctorate in special education, educational administration, or a related area (ABD considered) and have special education administrative experience in the public schools. The successful applicant will be expected to coordinate the Director of Special Education (DOSE) Post-Master’s Certification program at Illinois State University, teach courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and maintain an active research agenda. The Department is an ideal professional choice for an individual who wants to work at an institution where contributions in teaching, research, and service are expected and valued.

Application Procedures: Initial review of candidates will begin October 3, 2011, and continue until the position is filled. To assure full consideration, applicants should send a letter of application, curriculum vitae; official transcripts; and names, addresses, and telephone numbers of at least two professional references by September 30, 2011 to:

Carrie Anna Courtad, PhD
Chair, Search Committee
Department of Special Education
Campus Box 5910
Normal, IL 61790-5910
Phone: 309-438-7524
FAX: 309-438-8699
Email: cacourt /at/ ilstu /dot/ edu

Initial review of applications will begin on October 3, 2011 and continue until the positions are filled.

Full US IDEA funding proposed again

Over on On Special Education Nirvi Shah reported that Senator Tom Harkin and colleagues once again introduced a bill proposing that the US federal government pay its full (i.e., 40%) share of the costs of special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Read her post, “Bill Would Boost Federal Spending on Students with Disabilities.”

Assistant Executive Director at CEC

The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) annouced a search for an individual to serve as an assistant executive director and take responsibility for leading the team at CEC that provides professional development services. CEC’s Professional Development Services Team covers a host of important activities at CEC, including the convention, continuing education (e.g., the popular “Webinars”), publications (including the journals such as Exceptional Children), and much more. CEC is seeking someone with an advanced degree and experience in special education.

This is an unusual opportunity to provide leadership in one of the leading organizations focused on special education in the world. It comes at a time when professional development services are changing rapidly and CEC can play an important role in contributing to postive progress for special educators and the children, youth, and families they serve.

Learn more about the position of Assistant Executive Director for Professional Development Services at CEC by downloading a PDF announcing the position vacancy. Learn more about CEC and it’s professional development activities by visiting Professionl Development section of CEC’s Web site.

Milwaukee parents allege voucher program discriminates against students with disabilities

Should students with disabilities get to use vouchers, too? Should private schools have to accept them? Some parents say some private schools aren’t taking vouchers from students with disabilities and they are complaining.

Journalists reported that the parents of children with disabilities in Milwaukee (WI, US) and the American Civil Liberties Union have complained to the US Deaprtment of Justice that a Milwaukee school program permitting parents to choose schools discriminates against students with disabilities. According to the complaint, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program “discriminated against students with disabilities and segregated those students in one portion of the publicly funded educational system.” The statistical basis for the argument is that 1.6% of students in the voucher-supported schools have disabilities, but nearly 20% of the students in the public schools have disabilities.
Continue reading Milwaukee parents allege voucher program discriminates against students with disabilities

Outlook for special ed teachers

The demand for special educators routinely exceeds supply. Prior to 2006, the National Coalition on Personnel Shortages in Special Education & Related Services reported that there were considerable shortages in the high-incidence areas of Learning Disabilities, Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, and Multicategorical Special Education. According to US government sources, this continues to be the case, so those who are preparing to teach in special education should have little trouble finding employment.
Continue reading Outlook for special ed teachers

OSERS celebrates anniversary of IDEA

The US Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services posted its official recognition of the 35th anniversary of the adoption of the signing of the landmark legislation, of Public Law 94-142, then called the “Education of All Handicapped Children Act,” but which we know now as the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” or simply “IDEA.” Interested readers can review OSERS’ tribute to this remarkable legislation by reviewing the Web site dedicated to it anniversary, “The IDEA 35th Anniversary.”

UNCG Professor and chair

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) invites applications for Professor and Department Chair for its Department of Specialized Education Services in the School of Education. The successful candidate, who will assume the position  August 1, 2011, will have responsibility for leadership in program development, personnel issues, managing budgets and course schedules, outreach, strategic planning and program evaluation, state and national accreditation, school and university respresentation, alumni relations, and other similar activities.
Continue reading UNCG Professor and chair

Maybe special ed isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be?

Special education takes a lot of lumps as a dumping ground, a backwater, a path to dashed hopes, and on and on. Thanks to Amy Corbett Storch over on The Stir, it’s clear that special ed isn’t so bad. In “Why We’re Not Afraid of Special Education,” Ms. Storch explains why she wasn’t fazed by allowing her son to be identified as having a disability and receiving special education. Here’s her lead:

When we first told some of our family members that we decided to seek support and services for our child through the school district’s special education program (and later, after he actually qualified for the special education program), they were shocked. Shocked that Noah — sweet, smart, sociable little Noah with all his invisible labels — qualified in the first place, and that we would actually willingly send our child to public school special ed.

Continue reading Maybe special ed isn’t as bad as it’s cracked up to be?

Considering goals for individuals with severe disabilities

Writing in the New York Times, Sharon Otterman reviews some of the challenges encountered in providing educational services to students with multiple and severe disabilities. In her extended article, Mr. Otterman uses the case of Donovan Forde, a 20-year-old youth who is nearing the end of mandated educational services in the US, to explain how teachers must weigh provision of academic experiences and functional living needs.

And yet, because of his cognitive disabilities brought on by a traumatic brain injury at nearly 6 months old, it is almost impossible to know what he comprehends and retains. After 15 years in the New York City school system, he is less reserved and more social, but otherwise has shown almost no progress, his mother said.

Once predominately isolated in institutions, severely disabled students have been guaranteed a free, appropriate public education like all children since the passage of federal legislation in 1975. In the years since, school districts across the country have struggled to find a balance between instruction in functional skills and academics while providing basic custodial care.

Read to Ms. Ottermn’s article. It would be a worthwhile one for discussion in courses about teaching students with disabilities.

RIF funding opportunity

Reading is Fundamental, the US nonprofit organization devoted to promoting reading and literacy, is soliciting proposals from university graduate students who would be willing to help conduct some research. The student who receives the award must analyze data and write a report of a study being conducted at Brooklyn (NY, US) Public Library. The study is to investigate the feasibility and impact of providing audio books to children with reading and developmental disabilities.

Upon completion of the project, the grantee will receive $3,000 in compensation. Digital media and special education majors are encouraged to apply. Proposals are due March 26. Direct questions to Patricia Oholeguy at 202.536.3476 or poholeguy [at] rif [dot] org. Learn more about RIF. Download a copy of the RFP.

Summer camp opportunities in Virginia

Camp Baker Services in Chesterfield (VA, US) provides residential summer camp, day summer camp, weekend respite services, emergency respite services, day support services and an after school program for over 590 individuals with disabilities each year. Officials at Camp Baker Services have opportunities for people interested in working with children, youths, and adults, including summer jobs and spring, summer, and fall internships.

“We operate 24 hours a day for 365 days of the year,” Shirley O’Brien, the Senior Director at Camp Baker Services, reports. “The individuals who attend our programs range from 6-80 years of age and from mild intellectual delays to severe intellectual and physical delays. We are a fully barrier-free, modern facility on 22 acres.”
Continue reading Summer camp opportunities in Virginia