University of Missouri, Assistant Professor of Special Education

The University of Missouri-Columbia (MU) Department of Special Education ( ) seeks an Assistant Professor (tenure track) or an Assistant Professor of Teaching (non-tenure track) to join a collegial and highly productive department. We seek a person with expertise/interest in the delivery of special education services within the context of general education curriculum, standards, and settings. As such we anticipate candidates will have expertise in one or more of the following: inclusionary practices, teacher education, special education/general education collaboration, co-teaching, and programming for at-risk or struggling learners.
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Reconsidering LEA reimbursement

The US Supreme Court will reconsider a case about whether parents who, during a dispute with a local education agency (LEA), are eligible for reimbursement for the costs of having their children educated in a private setting (even though the child has not previously been eligible for special education services). Should parents be reimbursed by the LEA for tuition and etc. when they, based on their own judgment, send their child to a private special education program, even though she has not previously been determined to have a disability by the schools?

This issue was examined by the US Supreme Court in 2007, but the court voted 4-4 in that case; the tie was because Justice Antony Kennedy did not vote, having recused himself because of a prior connection to the case. The new case
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Jay Green on special ed teachers

Over on his blog, Jay P. Greene has a post entitled “Blaming special ed” that makes a host of important points.

It’s all too common but also completely mistaken to blame special education for the shortcomings of the public k-12 system. If you point out that per pupil spending has more than doubled in the last three decades (adjusting for inflation) while student outcomes have remained unchanged, people blame the rising costs of special education. (See for example Richard Rothstein on this). If you point out that the teaching workforce has increased by about 40% in the last three decades (adjusted for changes in student population), people blame special education (see below). If budgets are tight and programs get cut, people blame special education for draining money from general education.

Read Professor Greene’s Blaming special ed.

Position Announcements U of Wisc – Whitewater

We have two assistant professor positions for Fall 2009 – The first in Cross Categorical and the other in Early Childhood Special Education. We have a great group of 12 faculty-just in special education! Whitewater is located 45 minutes between Madison and Milwaukee and is a short 2 hour train ride to Chicago. Contact Diana Rogers-Adkinson, Chair Department of Special Education at for more information.

U of I department head


Position: The Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign seeks a full-time tenured Professor of Special Education, who is an established scholar with effective leadership and administrative qualities, to serve as Head of the Department. This is a tenure-track faculty position, with a time allocation of 50% research and teaching and 50% administration. As Head, this person will support a strong faculty and continue to recruit and support students at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

The College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is known for its groundbreaking research, innovative approaches to teaching, and service to the global community. The Department, consistently ranked fourth in Departments of Special Education in the nation by U.S. News and World Report (2008), is committed to the production and dissemination of new knowledge in special education, gifted education, and developmental disabilities through excellence in research, teaching, and service. Faculty and graduate students employ varied research approaches, work in diverse educational and community settings, and prepare educational professionals at graduate and undergraduate levels

Responsibilities: As Head of the Department, the successful candidate will be expected to support the mission of this highly regarded and internationally recognized department, which is to address critical issues related to the diverse needs of individuals across the life span. Research that parallels the department’s teaching and service activities is focused on the advancement of knowledge and improvement of practices that promote successful early childhood, school, and life outcomes for individuals with and at risk for disabilities and their families. An infrastructure to support access to sponsored projects exists within the College and enables faculty to competitively garner millions of dollars in external funds. This position also involves working in concert with a team of unit heads to collectively foster the achievement of the college mission.

Qualifications: An earned doctorate in special education or a related field is required; teaching or related experience with individuals with special needs; demonstrated administrative leadership skills; and a record of scholarly contributions, service to the profession, and experience in securing external support that is commensurate with the position of full professor. Other highly desirable skills are administrative experience in higher education, experience in personnel preparation, a record of collaborative partnerships with P-12 education human service agencies and university departments, and knowledge of local, state, and federal educational structures and regulatory processes and requirements.

Starting Date and Salary: The starting date is August 1, 2009, or as soon as possible after the closing date. Salary will be competitive and commensurate with qualifications.

Information about the Department of Special Education may be found at

In order to ensure full consideration, a letter of application referencing Search #11823, a curriculum vitae including email address, the names and contact information for three references, and any teaching evaluations must be received by October 10, 2008. Applicants may be interviewed before the closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date. Please send applications to:

Dr. Thomas Schwandt, Search Committee Chair
c/o Susan Michaels, Assistant to the Dean
College of Education
110 Education Building
1310 S. Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820


Email submissions preferred: susanm _at_

For more information, please contact Dr. Schwandt, Search Committee Chair, at tschwand _at_ or 217-333-5350.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women and members of underrepresented minority groups are especially encouraged to apply.

New IRIS module

The IRIS Center, a resource for teaching about special education and disabilities, announced the availability of new materials.

The IRIS Center, in collaboration with the PACER Center, is proud to present the latest addition to its growing family of online interactive modules: Collaborating with Families.

Claire Morgan, principal of M. T. Watkins Middle School, and her staff have noticed that, although they enjoy good parental involvement from some families, they usually see the same core group at every volunteer opportunity or school event. They wonder why this is the case and how they might go about increasing involvement, especially among the families of students with disabilities. Join Principal Morgan and her staff as they work through the process of learning more about such families and develop ideas to engage all of the families in their school.

To view Collaborating with Families, please go to

Many more IRIS resources can be found at

Dismay over Syracuse Appointment of Dean


29 October 2005

We, the undersigned, are fully aware that Syracuse University and its School of Education do not depend on our approval for making administrative decisions. However, we also recognize the responsibilities of academic institutions in making leadership appointments in their departments, colleges, and schools of education. Now, as never before, research and training in education are being scrutinized and typically found culpable for the poor learning outcomes of many students. Selection of a dean, therefore, constitutes an important and very public signal of how seriously a university views its responsibilities towards public education. By selecting someone whose record constitutes an argument against rigorous science in research involving individuals with disabilities, Syracuse University has sent a public message of disregard for education that undermines not only its own standing among academic institutions but also, by negative example, threatens the credibility of all educators engaged in rigorous research addressing critical problems in teaching and learning.

In our opinion, it is essential that both individuals and institutions adhere to the highest standards of scientific rigor in their professional conduct. We therefore express our strong disapproval of the appointment of Douglas Biklen as Dean of Education at Syracuse University for reasons that we explain.

Since the early 1990s, Professor Biklen has persistently and, in our view inadvisably, promoted training in and the use of facilitated communication (FC), an ostensible means of communication that has been resoundingly and thoroughly discredited by many scientific studies. The American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Association on Mental Retardation, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Association for Behavior Analysis, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the New York State Department of Health have all gone on record advising against the use of FC. Furthermore, the Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health has expressed its criticism of Professor Biklen’s appointment, with which we concur.

As researchers and members of the teacher education communities in special education, we are deeply concerned by the harm to individuals with disabilities, their families, therapists, and teachers resulting from the use of FC. The harm to which we refer includes the false hopes, false accusations of abuse, wasted learning opportunities, and miseducation of teachers fostered by FC and training in its use.

Many controlled investigations by scientists who study communication, education, and mental health have led to a consensus that FC is, if not a hoax, an unreliable and discredited means of communication. We find it disturbing that Professor Biklen has ignored this evidence and continued to insist that the scientific studies revealing the illegitimacy of FC are themselves unreliable. Professor Biklen may have good intentions, but his unrelenting advocacy of FC in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that it typically results in counterfeit messages (produced unwittingly by the “facilitator”) does not serve the cause of science or of social justice or of individuals with disabilities. We wish to disassociate ourselves from the fraudulent claims of FC and the non-scientific methods used by Professor Biklen and his colleagues in their attempts to validate the technique.

Our statement is not based on ad hominem toward Professor Biklen. In our opinion, the decision of Syracuse University to appoint Professor Biklen as Dean of its School of Education brings discredit to the university precisely and solely because it reflects disrespect for educational and psychological research as well as teacher preparation, given Professor Biklen’s disregard for scientific evidence. Certainly, Professor Biklen is free to believe and teach whatever he wants. However, we believe that university administrators have a larger commitment to select as leaders of academic units, including education, those individuals who demonstrate a clear commitment to the principles of scientific research.

Admin note: To indicate your support for this statement, please leave a comment (prior registration required; once registerd, click link labeled “comment” and scroll to the bottom of the statement). In your comment, please give your full name and affiliation.