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).
In November the US Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a report entitled “Improved Federal Enforcement Needed to Better Protect Students’ Rights to Testing Accommodations” of a study it performed at the behest of representatives to the US Congress. Based on interviews with individuals with disabilities, educators, advocates, commercial testing companies, and others, the report provides brief insight into testing accommodations at the secondary and post-secondary level and recommendations for government action based on its findings. Interested readers may download a one-page summary of the report from the GAO office.
Deborah L. Speece was named as the Commissioner of the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) on 23 August 2011. NCSER is the leading branch of the US government’s effort to study educational innovation in special education and, as its head, Commissioner Speece will oversee a program that funds scores of research efforts including projects, evaluations, and multi-site centers throughout the US. She is the second commissioner of NCSER, and her appointment was greeted with substantial approval by the special education research community.
IES Director John Q. Easton announced the appointment of Deborah Speece as Commissioner of the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) effective August 23, 2011. Known for her innovative studies of the classification and diagnosis of learning disabilities, Speece is a national leader in special education research and response to intervention strategies.
Continue reading ‘Deborah Speece Appointed Commissioner of National Center for Special Education Research’
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’
Toward a Science of Education: The Battle Between Rogue and Real Science by James M. Kauffman was named the winner in the Education/Academics section of 2011 International Book Awards (IBA). JPX Media Group announced the winners and finalists of the IBA on 11 May 2011 in Los Angeles (CA, US).
In his summary of his book, Professor Kauffman wrote
Continue reading ‘Kauffman’s ‘Science’ book recognized’
Under the headline “Tell President Obama To Help Kids With Disabilities Realize Their Full Potential,” Change.org promoted a petition encouraging support for early intervention for children with disabilities. It’s got to be difficult to sell people on the idea of increasing government expenditures in a time of substantial concern about federal deficits, but the Easter-Seals-sponsored petition is seeking to accomplish just that end. Here’s the pitch.
Continue reading ‘Easter Seals campaigns for early intervention’
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.”
For those who haven’t done so already, it’s still a great time to take a look at the Web site celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Update: From perusing C. Samuels’ On Special Ed, I see I was pretty slow in noting this. She posted about it 8 November.
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?’
Over on Squidalicious, a guest post by Lea Cuniberti-Duran about “Special Needs Children and Public Education” appears under the title “We Are Not Sparta: The Real, Justified Costs of Educating Kids With Special Needs.” Ms. Cuniberti-Duran recounts the argument that schools are hamstrung by the costs of providing special education services.
I have attended many school district budget meetings in which officials blurted to their audience, “We cannot pay for XYZ because of our financial responsibility toward children with special needs: to educate one special needs student can cost the district $100,000 a year.” I also hear about how the district has “an unfunded mandate to educate children with special needs, and how this results into an encroachment to the general fund.”
She then proceeds to provide a clear and powerful dismissal of the canard that special education’s costs harm others. Not only does she show how the costs argument leaks (at least with regard to the local education agencies in her geographic area of the US), but also she explains how beneficial special education has been to society as a whole over the past 35 years. Read it!