I can tell that I'm getting a lot of traffic to the blog from people who are Googling "Sarah Palin" and "special education" because of the rumor that the governor cut special education funding in the state. Here's my lengthy blog post on that issue. For those of you who are visiting for the first time: feel free to check out the place and stay a while! And, in case you haven't already seen it, I also invite readers check out an article written by my colleagues Sean Cavanagh and Alyson Klein that delves more comprehensively into what we know ...


Sarah Palin wasn't the only speaker who appealed to families of children with disabilities during the Republican National Convention. During John McCain's acceptance speech, he also directed attention to a family in the audience whom McCain believes his policies would help. I fight for Jake and Toni Wimmer of Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Jake works on a loading dock, coaches Little League, and raises money for the mentally and physically disabled. Toni is a schoolteacher, working toward her master's degree. They have two sons; the youngest, Luke, has been diagnosed with autism. Their lives should matter to the people they elect ...


In her well-received speech before delegates at the Republican National Convention last night, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska made an explicit appeal to families of children with disabilities: ...in April, my husband, Todd, and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig. From the inside, no family ever seems typical. That's how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other—the same challenges and the same joys. Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a special love. To the families ...


All of the stories on Education Week are available to non-subscribers until through Sept. 7. This gives those of you who haven't yet committed to subscribing a chance to read all our stories about response to intervention, Reading First, the presidential campaign, and anything else that strikes your fancy. While I'm in promotion mode, let me also point out to fans of this blog that you can follow On Special Education in an RSS reader by clicking on the orange icon under my picture, on the right, that says "Get RSS." (My RSS reader of choice is Google Reader.) And ...


Happy back-to-school! I know many of you may have been back for a week or two, but Labor Day seems to be a true sign that the lazy days of summer have come to a close. I recently learned about a classroom management technique with younger kids that is quite successful, but so simple I can hardly believe that it shows such positive results: the "good behavior game." From the summer 2008 newsletter from the American Institutes for Research: To play the game, the teacher breaks the classroom into teams of between four and seven students. The game is played ...


No matter which party wins the White House this fall, it'll be making history: the Democrats would be able to claim the first African-American president, and the Republicans could have the first female vice president. Edweek's Campaign K-12 blog has a entry on Gov. Sarah Palin's education bonafides. UPDATE: Here's a link to Education Week's web story on the selection, which delves more deeply into her education record. Most intriguing for my professional interests is that Palin, a 44-year-old self-described "hockey mom," PTA leader-turned-mayor-turned-governor, is also the mother of a 5-month-old with Down syndrome. (She has four other children, ages ...


Those of you who have followed the blog for a while know that I've been mesmerized with the goings-on in a tiny Michigan town where a school board member was suing his own district over his son's individualized education program. The case at the one-school, 150-student Northport district, dragged on for months and could cost the district $250,000 if it loses. Now, the board member, Alan Woods, has been recalled, by a decisive 2-to-1 margin. Here's an article where both the recall initiator and Woods make their respective arguments. His argument that he is trying to be a watchdog ...


I always know when I'm at a conference of teachers and former teachers. No matter what, there always seems to be a time when a speaker commands the audience to get up for a little game or musical interlude. Old classroom habits die hard. So at today's Office of Special Education Programs Leadership Conference in Baltimore, even though the special education administrators in attendance had likely long since left the classroom, I wasn't surprised that a presentation on a reading program in North Carolina ended with the audience being asked to sing...about reading. But that was just one light ...


Gov. Ted Strickland, the Democratic governor of Ohio, vetoed a bill last year that would have authorized a special education voucher program similar to one already in the state for students with autism. But a new bill that mirrors the vetoed legislation is back and making its way through the Ohio legislature. Instead of being open just to students with autism, it would be available to all special education students. Strickland has promised to veto the bill again if it comes back to his desk. The bill is scheduled to be up for a full vote sometime this fall. In ...


At two recent town hall meetings, both Barack Obama and John McCain reiterated their desire to see more money go to special education. Obama's comments, made Aug. 19 in Raleigh, N.C., were posted on YouTube: An audience member told Obama, a Democrat, about her experiences with her 3-year-old son, who has Down syndrome. She said she was told by doctors that her son was lucky to be getting benefits because he "wasn't really going to be anything in life." She then asked Obama his views on the word "retardation" and on including children with disabilities in daily life. A ...


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