Is RTI a billion-$$ boondoggle?

The Concept Of RTI: Billion-Dollar Boondoggle
by Beverley Holden Johns, James M. Kauffman, and Edwin W. Martin.

The writers argue that RTI and iterations known as tiered frameworks for education (e.g., one known as a multi-tiered system of supports, MTSS) are being widely implemented without necessary research confirming their superiority to the framework created in 1975 and known generally as IDEA. Widespread implementation of RTI and similar frameworks without reliable research evidence of their superiority to IDEA could, like many other efforts to improve education without reliable empirical evidence, be a very expensive mistake.

View a copy of The Concept Of RTI: Billion-Dollar Boondoggle in your browser (or, to download and save a copy on your own computer [189 KB], right- or control-click on the link and follow the directions in the dialog box that appears).

Investigation: Texas systematically denied students sped services

Brian M. Rosenthal of the Houston Chronicle published a report entitled “Denied: How Texas keeps tens of thousands of children out of special education” that documents systematic denial of special education services to approximately 250,000 students in Texas. Over the course of more than 10 years, Mr. Rosenthal reported, the Texas Education Agency routinely scored local school agencies (“LEAs”) on their compliance with state guidelines, one of which addressed the percentage of students identified for special education.

LEAs could earn a perfect score on that part of their report card only if they identified 8.5% or fewer of their students as needing special education. In 2015 the state was identifying 8.5%, a substantial drop from the nearly 12% it was identifying in 2004.

In detailed analyses, Mr. Rosenthal and his colleagues presented compelling graphics showing these changes. He also provided documents as well as the usual journalist cases to illustrate the strains on individuals and families.

Some Texas educators argued that the decreases are a consequence of improved instructional practices (e.g., adoption of response to instruction), but that position does not hold water. Were it true, the effects would be largely specific to learning disabilities, but Mr. Rosenthal noted, the decline is evident in multiple categories of special education in Texas. In addition, as an expert on response to instruction, Douglas Fuchs of Vanderbilt University, told Mr. Rosenthal, were those reforms to be working, then reading achievement would have risen in Texas; it has not.

SUNY New Paltz position for a generalist in special education

Assistant Professor of Special Education
Posting Date: October 21, 2015

Duties: The Department of Educational Studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz invites applications for a faculty position in Special Education to begin Fall 2016. This is a full-time, tenure track position for a generalist in Special Education, preferably with expertise in assessment methods and instructional methods in the areas of math, science and/or technology.

In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in special education, the successful applicant will be expected to:

  • Participate in program development, review, and revision;
  • Engage in research and other scholarly activities;
  • Supervise field experiences;
  • Pursue external grants; and
  • Provide service to the school, university, and community, including advising students.

Continue reading SUNY New Paltz position for a generalist in special education

IDEA Celebration

IDEA 40th Anniversary Banner

ED Celebrates IDEA 40th—Live!

Dear Colleagues,

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Education and its Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), we are pleased to invite you to view two special events celebrating the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

When IDEA was enacted in 1975, America pledged to provide and ensure that children with disabilities have opportunities to develop their talents and contribute to their communities. That pledge endures today and IDEA continues to provide not only access to the school house, to assessment and to the general curriculum, but the full promise of inclusion, equity and opportunity.


The White House
November 17, 2015
9:30–11:00 a.m., EST

Please share in this exciting White House event where Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Delegated Deputy Secretary John King, OSERS Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin, and OSERS’ Office of Special Education Programs Director Melody Musgrove join the stage with youth impacted by IDEA, experts who will speak about the history and progress of IDEA, and families and teachers from the field who will provide their unique perspectives and celebrate this landmark legislation.

Please watch the White House event broadcast live:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/live


U.S. Department of Education
November 17, 2015
3:00–4:30 p.m., EST

The IDEA 40th Anniversary celebrations continue in the afternoon at the Department•s Barnard Auditorium with an IDEA Symposium where a panel of distinguished researchers share the state of evidence in special education and look towards the future for promoting even greater educational achievement by students with disabilities. Tune in live to the IDEA Symposium to view an inspiring slate of panelists including: Sharon Vaughn, Lynn Fuchs, Rob Horner, Lise Fox, Michael Wehmeyer, Lisa Dieker and David Test.

Please watch the IDEA Symposium broadcast live via EDstream:
http://edstream.ed.gov/webcast/Play/5948bd4d0065424d8a04c2cdd61745d31d

These two events will celebrate our past successes, but primarily focus on the future to ensure that infants, toddlers and youths with disabilities will continue to receive a free and appropriate public education that prepares them for their future. We encourage you to participate in the celebration by hosting opportunities for groups to watch the presentations and have discussions. Consider, holding your own local panel of youth, parents, teachers and other IDEA stakeholders; hosting a watch party in concert with a university class; or encouraging your school faculty to watch and engage in conversations about the history, impact and future of this legislation.

Submit Your Story

As part of our celebration of 40 years of the IDEA, we also want to hear from individuals with disabilities—especially children and youth with disabilities—parents, teachers, researchers and all other IDEA stakeholders about the personal impact this law has had on them.

  • How has IDEA made a difference to you?
  • What does inclusion, equity, and opportunity now look like for you?

Submit your art, photographs and stories by November 10, 2015 to our IDEA 40th Anniversary Web site [www.osep-meeting.org/ideaanniversary] for possible use for upcoming events in Washington, D.C., celebrating the 40th Anniversary of IDEA.

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How do students fare after HS?

The transition from high school to work, post-secondary education, and other alternatives is a challenge, especially for students with disabilities. In “Diplomas Count 2015: Report and Graduation Rates—Next Steps: Life After Special Education“, Education Week writers present their 10th analysis of how high-school graduates make that transition. Here’s how Christina Samuels, one of the contributors, described the work:

Each year, hundreds of thousands of students in special education graduate from their high schools.

And then what happens?

In the 10th annual edition of its Diplomas Count report, Education Week tries to answer that question.

The report is a blend of journalism and reseach: the Education Week Research Center delved into federal data to offer an important snapshot of where students with disabilities end up after they leave high school. My journalist colleagues and I give life to those numbers by talking to students as they make important future decisions about college and about work.

For example: Do students with disabilities tell their colleges about their special needs, or do they try to go without any of the supports they may have used in high school? (The answer: most of them do not disclose.) For students who are headed directly to the workplace, have they been taught how to advocate for themselves? (The answer: it’s hit-or-miss.)

Recommended reading.

Frances Partridge Connor

Frances Partridge Connor, an influential figure across many aspects of special education, passed away 28 March 2015 in Boca Raton, FL. She was the Richard March Hoe Professor Emeritus of Education at Teachers College of Columbia University in New York (NY, US).

For many decades, Professor Connor affected the practice and policy of special education. She not only chaired the special education program at Teachers College, but also served as president of the International Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). In addition, she advised local, state, federal, and international government agencies about educational policies related to children and youths with disabilties. She was also a member of multiple research teams focused on improving the tools of teachers and methods for advancing outcomes for children with disabilties.
Continue reading Frances Partridge Connor

Sprout Film Festival in Winchester Virginia

thumbnail for Sprout trailer

The Arc & Sprout Film Festival, screening films featuring people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will take place in Winchester, VA, on Tuesday 11 November through Friday 14 November 2014! This four day festival is presented by The Arc of Northern Shenandoah Valley and will take place on the days and at locations as follows:

  • Tuesday – Alamo Drafthouse Cinema 10am & 6pm
  • Wednesday – Bright Box Community Theater 7pm
  • Thursday – Woodstock Community Theater 10am
  • Friday – Shenandoah University 2pm

Anthony Di Salvo, Executive Director of Sprout, will be presenting the films and running a Q&A at all the screenings. Throughout the four days there will be a variety of short documentaries, narratives and music videos screened. Get additional information and view a trailer about the festival.

Department Chair in Ed Leadership and Counseling at Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University is conducting a search for a tenured Associate or Full Professor/Chairperson in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling to begin January 1, 2015

Primary Responsibilities

 

The Chairperson maintains standards, policies and procedures for a department with two distinct disciplines: Educational Leadership and Counseling. The department serves graduate students and offers degrees including Master’s Degree programs in Educational Administration, School Counseling, Mental Health Counseling, and Higher Education Administration. Specialist level degrees are offered for Educational Administration, Counseling Education, and Educational Leadership Development. The Department also supports a Cooperative Ed.D. program in partnership with the University of Missouri.

Responsibilities include administration, leadership, teaching, faculty-personnel relations, student recruitment, department liaison, student development, and management/budget oversight consistent with a diverse graduate level department. In addition, the chairperson maintains an active, scholarly and service agenda. The Chairperson of the department has a reduced teaching load.

Required Qualifications

         Ph.D. or Ed.D. in Educational Leadership/Administration (Degree must be from a regionally accredited or internationally accredited/government certified university)

  • Demonstrated record of administrative/leadership experience
  • Ability to champion both counseling and administration programs
  • Demonstrate knowledge of ELCC and CAEP/NCATE standards
  • Demonstrated success with scholarly research
  • Excellent record of college/university teaching
  • Experience/knowledge of administrative and counseling accreditation and certification processes
  • Demonstrated commitment to shared governance
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain a high level of faculty morale and enthusiasm
  • Demonstrated commitment to working with multi-cultural populations and awareness of issues affecting women and minorities

Read the full HR posting of the position and get additional information regarding the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling.

Frederick J. Weintraub, 1942-2014

Frederick J. Weintraub, one of the primary contributors to U.S. laws that guide special education, passed away 2 May 2014 at age 72. He was born 28 August 1942 in New York City, the son of Barbara and Israel Weintraub, and grew up in Philadelphia.

In addition to co-editing classic works on educational policy (e.g., Ballard, Ramirez, & Weintraub, 1982; Weintraub, Abeson, Ballard, & Lavor, 1976) and testifying before the U.S. Congress repeatedly, Fred is probably most widely known for his contributions to the development of the laws and regulations that are the foundations of special education in the U.S. In the mid-1970s he had substantial influence on Public Law 94-142 and the rules guiding its implementation. That law and those rules have quite literally affected the lives of millions of children and their families.

For most of his career, Fred worked for the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). He served in multiple different roles primarily focused on governmental relations, policy, and professional development. In 2006 CEC gave Fred its highest honor, the J. E. Wallace Wallin Lifetime Achievement Award. After his career with CEC, he moved to the Los Angeles area where he sometimes lectured at local universities and later served as a special monitor for the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Modified Consent Decree (based on the Chanda Smith Consent Decree).

Fred was a man of loyalty, consideration, character, and wit. He manifested all of those strengths when he sent a note to his friends a few weeks before his death, lamenting the fact that he would not see them at the annual CEC convention:

For the first time, since 1967, I will miss the pleasure of seeing you and my other CEC colleagues at the Convention. Since Philadelphia is where I grew up, my absence will be even more disappointing.

As some of you know my health has been declining for the past year leading to a near death system collapse in February. Since then I have been regaining my health and strength. However, we have found that the culprit for all the problems is Pancreatic Cancer, that is currently inoperable. While the chemo I am receiving may be of some help, I am not planning on submitting a session proposal for next year’s Convention.

I have had, thanks to many of you, a wonderful career. The campaigns we fought led to persons with disabilities having civil rights, children with disabilities having the right to an education and establishing national standards for the special education profession. Back in the early 1970’s I explained to a Member of Congress that he should support a civil rights amendment for people with disabilities by noting that at some point in our lives we will all be disabled. Well today I have an Accessible parking placard.

I am blessed to have a wonderful family and circle of friends. I am very proud of them and thankful for their support. For the past month we have shared stories about the adventures and experiences we had on this journey.
If there are stories you would like to share, I would love them. And if there are questions you may have about how we got here I’ll do my best to answer.

If you sense that I am spiritually and emotionally in a good place, you are correct. That is mostly because of the continuous support, assistance and love I receive from my wife and professional colleague Dr. Lynne Cook. If you are a friend of Lynne’s, as I know many of you are, a kind word or offer of support would be appreciated.

Finally, for those of you in Philly there is something you can do for me. Do one of the following:

  1. Have scrapple and eggs for breakfast
  2. Have an Italian Hoagie or Italian Cheese Steak with sweet and hot peppers for lunch (skip the Philly Cheese steak.
  3. Have a soft pretzel with mustard and a good beer
  4. Go to Independence Hall to remind yourself of what this journey has been about
  5. Share the experience

Best Wishes

Fred

Fred is survived by his wife, Lynne Cook and his daughters Marya Long and Heather Moore, as well as grandchildren. Donations can be made to the Frederick Weintraub Educational Leadership Scholarship at California State University, Northridge. See the obituary from the Los Angeles (CA) Times 18 May 2014.

References

Ballard, J., Ramirez, B., & Weintraub, F. J. (Eds.). (1982). Special education in America: Its legal and governmental foundations. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Weintraub, F. J., Abeson, A., Ballard, J., & LaVor, M. L. (Eds.). (1976). Public policy and the education of exceptional children. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

DISES conference at University of Minho

DISES-Minho banner

The Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) and the University of Minho will convene an international conference in Braga, Portugal, from 14-17 July 2014. The conference will take as its theme “Embracing Inclusive Approaches” and will feature Arlene S. Kanter of Syracuse University and Luis de Miranda Correia, of the Instituto Português de Dislexia e outras Necessidades Especiais (Portuguese Institute of Dyslexia and other Special Needs) and the Associação Portuguesa para as Necessidades Especiais (Portuguese Association for Special Needs). Learn more by visiting the section of the DISES Web site devoted to the conference.

IASE call for proposals

The International Association of Special Education, in collaboration with the University of Lower Silesia, issued a call for proposals for its 14th biennial conference. Under the title “New Dimensions toward Education, Advocacy, and Collaboration for Individuals with Special Needs,” the conference will convene in Wroclaw, Poland, 21-25 June 2015. The accompanying PDF provides additional information about the conference and submitting proposals for presentations.

CLD search for editor for LD Forum

Council for Learning Disabilities

Council for Learning Disabilities (CLD) is seeking applications for the position of editor of LD Forum, its official newsletter. The role of the editor involves preparing in a timely manner the newsletter content, which should:

  1. inform the membership about business of the international organization and state chapters, and
  2. offer brief articles related to the LD field. Applicants must be a member of CLD and maintain membership during the term as editor.

Continue reading CLD search for editor for LD Forum

AAIDD Announces Search for Editor of AJIDD

The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is seeking applications for the position of editor for its lead journal, American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AJIDD). AJIDD is a long-standing and very prestigious publication that has published a diverse range of articles about a broad range of intellectual and developmental disabilities by leaders in education, psychology, and related fields.

Applicants should be qualified scholars who can oversee an active journal editorial office. They should submit an application package by 13 December 2013. The new editor will serve a four-year term that will begin in mid-2014. Please see the accompanying PDF that details the call for applications for editor in chief of AJIDD.

Pew Report Documents Sequestration’s Impact on Special Education

A report from the daily news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts indicates that sequestration is having substantial negative financial effects on special education. Under the headline “Sequester Hits Special Education Like a ‘Ton of Bricks,'” Adrienne Lu reported that “a new round of special education cuts were taking hold, prompted by a 5 percent reduction in federal funding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).” According to a Michigan educator, Marcie Lipsitt, who was one of Ms. Lu’s sources, “It hit like a ton of bricks. Conditions are eroding and children are not being allowed to become taxpayers. They’re not being given access to independence, being productive, being ready for a global workforce.”
Continue reading Pew Report Documents Sequestration’s Impact on Special Education