Palin and special education

For those who are seeking accurate reporting about Republican Vice Presidential Candidate Sara Palin and her action regarding special education funding as governor of Alaska, Christina Samuels has the best content I know. She’s thoroughly examined the evidence and laid to rest some of the misinformation that’s floating around the Internet. Link to her post on the subject.


National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities
Chief Executive Officer
Alexandria, VA

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is seeking a dynamic Chief Executive Officer to lead a national network of state and territorial organizations focused on improving the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.
Continue reading NACCD CEO

IDA executive director

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is searching for an executive director.

Dear Colleague,
As you may be aware, the International Dyslexia Association (IDA) is undertaking a strategic initiative to identify a broad group of highly qualified candidates who could potentially serve in the position of IDA’s next Executive Director. IDA is seeking an individual who is familiar with the language of educational research and practice, passionate about the IDA’s mission and who recognizes the importance of meeting the needs of children with dyslexia and related disabilities with efficiency and effectiveness. Our Executive Director is expected to develop and implement a long-term strategy to help IDA achieve its mission and financial objectives.

You and the IDA are partners in mission and purpose. As such it is likely that you may be aware of individuals that may be interested in providing the necessary leadership which will allow IDA to continue on its successful trajectory and allow the organization to effectively address the needs facing parents, professionals and individuals with dyslexia in today’s world. If you know of any candidates that you feel may be interested in the opportunities that the position of Executive Director of IDA offers, we would appreciate it if you would bring them to our attention. Please refer them to the position posting on our website at

Thank you in advance for your help and support.

With every good wish,

G. Emerson Dickman, III
IDA President

Optional IDEA alternative dispute resolution

Project Forum has released a new document that some professional special educators will find of interest and importance. Here’s part of the notice:

This In-Depth Policy Analysis is the result of findings based on a survey sent to all special education units of state education agencies. The survey requested information about the use of 10 alternative dispute resolution processes not specifically required under IDEA, the extent of their use, and other information. The 10 processes studied are:

  • Conflict resolution skills training;
  • Stakeholder management or oversight council;
  • Parent-to-parent assistance;
  • Dispute resolution case managers;
  • Telephone intermediary;
  • IEP facilitation;
  • Third-party opinion or consultation processes;
  • Early complaint resolution; and
  • Resolution meeting facilitation.

Each of these processes is defined and findings are described under each process. Factors that impact the use of these processes are discussed and conclusions are drawn.

Download a PDF of the document on the Project Forum Web site.

VP for TheArcLink

The folks over at The Arc are searching for a senior administrator for TheArcLink, the organization’s means of providing resources for individuals with disabilities and their families so that they can make informed decisions about services and participate actively in their communities. Here’s a brief version of the announcement:

This key position has responsibility for TheArcLink’s marketing and communications activities as well as new product development. For a complete position description, go to

Marketing activities include communicating via email, training webinars and direct personal contact to participating providers, potential participating providers, Roommates users, representatives of new potential state subscribers to Roommates, potential funders for the National FindFamily Registry and potential underwriters and supporters for TheArcLink in general. The Vice President will also staff exhibits at state and national meetings as requested by the President.

TheArcLink periodically develops new products in response to consumer demand or perceived market gap. Key to development are regular conversations with stakeholders, knowledge of the market niche, focus group results, and a knowledge of TheArcLink’s internal engineering capacity to develop specific applications. Since the initial launch of TheArcLink in 2000, these new products have been developed and introduced: The TheArcLink Calendar, the Medicaid Reference Desk, MyPlan (an online individual needs assessment in conjunction with the Medicaid Reference Desk), Roommates and the National FindFamily Registry. TheArcLink also hosts the websites of other disability organization on request. The Vice President will be a key participant in the process of all new product development, and will serve as the lead contact for new products as assigned by the President.

The successful candidate will have training and experience in Information Technology Management (IT), as well as an orientation to the field of cognitive disabilities.

Application Deadline: June 10, 2008

Send all resumes and inquiries to

Salary: Competitive

TheArcLink Incorporated is an equal opportunity employer.

Download a PDF of the position description here.

Chief Program Officer

Virginia Institute for Autism (VIA) is searching for an individual to assume responsibility for programming educational environments for children and youths with Autism. Here’s VIA’s description of the position.

The Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA) in Charlottesville seeks a Chief Program Officer committed to evidence-based practice and the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA). The primary roles are to develop, oversee and ensure the quality of programming across the Institute’s James C. Hormel School, which serves up to 30 students with autism, preschool through post high; ensure the quality of and staff fidelity to behavior support plans; and work collaboratively with the Program Director for Student Instruction to review, select and evaluate assessment tools, curricula and IEPs.

The person filling the position should have, at minimum, a master’s degree in education, special education, psychology, or a related discipline. Candidates should also have five or more years experience overseeing educational programs for children and adolescents with Autism. Most VIA staff members have board certification in behavior analysis (BCBA).

See VIA’s announcement of the positionhere and learn more about VIA itself here.

UConn Training Institute

Here’s a opportunity for professional development. It’s slated for 10-14 June 10 at the Holiday Inn By the Bay in Portland, Maine.

20th Annual Postsecondary Disability Training Institute

The objective of this Training Institute is to assist dedicated professionals to meet the unique needs of college students with disabilities. Participants can select from a variety of Strands, Single Sessions, and Saturday Post-Sessions taught by experts in the field, which provide participants with in-depth information and adequate time for questions and follow-up discussions. Participants also have opportunities to share information and network with each other at various activities throughout the Institute.

Location: Portland, Maine


Contact Information:

Carrol Waite, Institute Manager
email: (remove the underscores)
phone: (860) 486-3321
fax: (860) 486-5799

This is a regular activity of the Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability at the Neag School of Education of the University of Connecticut in Storrs (CT, US).

Research funds in perspective

The Council for Exceptional Children generated a graphic that allows one to see the relative US federal funding for research in various areas. It’s a pretty clear indication of the importance attached to addressing the improvement of education, no? I’ve linked a larger version of the file to the image at the right. It’s suitable for downloading.

To be sure, there are some funds in the NIH and NSF research budgets that go toward educational research. For example, some of the funds from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development fund research on Autism and Learning Disabilities. I do not know what proportion of those budgets are devoted to such educationally relevant topics, but I bet that it’s a small proportion.

Conference on brain development and learning

From an advertisement I received….

The 2nd Biennial, International Conference on:


July 12-15, 2008 Sheraton Wall Center Hotel, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

One of the best conferences I ve been to in 20 years! (Inaugural Meeting Attendee)

Conference website:

This interdisciplinary conference is devoted to enriching and improving the lives of children by making cutting-edge research in neuroscience & child development available, relevant, & understandable to mental health professionals, educators, parents, & others who care about children.

This year ** ADHD** is one of the main topics of the conference.

World-famous researchers who are also outstanding speakers will present, including:

TORKEL KLINGBERG, who pioneered the role of computer games to improve working memory in children with ADHD (CogMed:

ROSEMARY TANNOCK, a pioneer in ADHD research and co- developer of integrated
multimedia resources on ADHD for teachers (

In addition, famous speakers and researchers on Executive Functions and Prefrontal Cortex will be featured, including:


And famous speakers and researchers on RESILIENCE in the face of Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, or Abuse, including:

WILLIAM BEARDSLEE, who will speak about his work with parents and families:
Hope, Meaning and Continuity: Lessons Learned from Developing and Adapting Preventive Interventions for Depression in Families

GIL NOAM, a Prof. in both the Education and Medical Schools of Harvard:
Resilience Development: Where Education and Mental Health Meet

A special feature of this conference:
Besides lectures, you ll have the opportunity to meet, speak informally with, and ask questions of, these world-famous speakers in a small, relaxed setting over a lunch with 2-3 speakers and no more than 30 conference participants.

For years I have seen people try to bring educators together with health specialists, or either with researchers. I have never seen any effort work as well as what you put together in Vancouver.

It was wonderful having different groups of professionals from different backgrounds and training come together in a truly collaborative way sharing research, knowledge, and experiences.

For more information and registration:

Conference website:

Or Call: Toll free in Canada or the US: 1-877-328-7744
From Overseas: 001-604-822-6156


Conference schedule:

More info on Speakers:

A website set up to help conference attendees find someone to share a hotel room with, a homestay, or a ride-share:

How to read research

I sometimes note how much I’d like to help policy makers learn to discriminate between evidence- and bologna-based educational programs. Apparently, I’m not alone.

The US Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy, a non-profit promoting excellence in government, is offering a workshop for public-sector administrators on understanding research that should form the basis of public policy. Because I couldn’t find a page about the workshop on the Web site, I’m taking the unusual action of reprinting the Coalition’s announcement of the workshop.

How to Read Research Findings to Distinguish Evidence-Based Programs from Everything Else

Tools for Public Officials and Other Stakeholders to Become Independent Experts,

Offered by Recognized Leaders in Evidence-Based Reform

Washington DC, April 8, 2008

Evidence-based policy reform is an important new development in American government, requiring new skills of public officials, staff, and other stakeholders. Requirements for rigorous evaluation and the use of evidence-based programs now appear in Congressional legislation, Office and Management and Budget (OMB) guidance, and federal agency grant solicitations in many diverse areas of policy. These developments offer the potential to bring rapid, evidence-driven progress to areas such as education, employment and training, crime and justice, early childhood programs, substance abuse prevention, and international development assistance. Key precedents include medicine, where evidence-based policy has produced remarkable advances in human health over the past half-century; and welfare, where rigorous evaluations built actionable knowledge about “what works,” setting the stage for the successful, bipartisan welfare reforms of the 1980s and 90s.

Our workshop teaches the core skill needed to be an effective practitioner of evidence-based policy: The ability to read a study and readily assess whether it produced valid evidence of a program’s effectiveness.

This core skill is needed, for example, to –

  • Distinguish the few programs in your policy area that are truly backed by valid evidence from everything else that claims to be, without having to rely on outside “experts” whose biases and capabilities are unknown;
  • Sponsor a study that is capable of generating valid evidence about a program’s effectiveness; and
  • Explain research results to key colleagues and stakeholders in a clear and persuasive way, so as to enlist them as partners in your efforts.

Acquiring this core skill is straightforward: A one-day workshop on key principles, followed by weekly “brown-bag” conference calls providing hands-on, coached experience in reviewing actual studies.

The workshop will take place on Tuesday, April 8, 2008 at the Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy from 9:00 to 4:00, with lunch provided. The weekly follow-up sessions will be held over a 12-week period, via 45-minute conference calls at the noon hour. In these sessions, participants will gain hands-on experience reviewing actual studies in a small-group setting facilitated by Coalition staff, with the goal of becoming independent experts. Participants are encouraged to suggest studies to review in these sessions.

Our background: A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, we’ve played a leadership role in advancing evidence-based reforms through our work with top Congressional and federal agency policymakers:

Our work with Congress and OMB helped create a new evidence-based home visitation program at HHS in the FY 08 Appropriations Act (Public Law 110-161).
We helped OMB develop new guidance for the federal agencies on What Constitutes Strong Evidence of a Program’s Effectiveness.
Our work with Congress has yielded important advances in Congressional support for rigorous – preferably randomized – evaluations in education, crime prevention, and other areas.
We’ve conducted previous workshops on evidence-based policy for OMB, the Departments of Education and Labor, the Congressionally-established Academic Competitiveness Council, and others.
We developed and manage one of the leading U.S. websites of evidence-based programs – Social Programs That Work (
A recent independent assessment of our work found we’ve been “instrumental in transforming a theoretical advocacy of evidence-based policy among certain [federal] agencies into an operational reality.”
Logistics and Cost

When: Tuesday, April 8, 2008, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with lunch provided. 12 follow-up sessions via conference call each Tuesday thereafter, starting at noon.

Where: The April 8th session will be held at the Council for Excellence in Government (1301 K Street, NW, Suite 450 West, Washington DC 20005)

Who: Public officials and staff, policy analysts, program providers, and other stakeholders. A research background is not required.

Cost: $520 for the one-day workshop and 12 follow-up sessions. As a nonprofit organization, we price our workshops as inexpensively as we can to reach the widest possible audience.

Deadlines: The deadline for registration and payment is Tuesday, April 1st. Space is limited, and our previous workshops have filled up quickly.

How to register: Please register via our website at

Payment Information: Credit card payments are preferred; we also accept checks (payable to the Council for Excellence in Government) and purchase orders. To process your payment, please contact David Anderson at (, 202-530-3284).

Questions?: Please contact David Anderson (, 202-530-3284).

Development of the workshop curriculum is funded through a grant from the William T. Grant Foundation.