Only 25 percent of public teachers believe that students with emotional and behavioral disabilities should be taught in regular classrooms along with other students, according to a poll released today by the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University. (Scroll down to the section titled "Mainstreaming the Disabled" to see the results.) Public school teachers were statistically tied with the public at large; the poll said only 28 percent of the public believes that students with these disabilities should be mainstreamed. My colleague, Linda Jacobson, has written an article about these poll results and what they may mean ...


The New York Times (registration required) recently ran an article about Deborah Phelps, the mother of Olympics swimming sensation Michael Phelps, and some of the academic challenges her son faced. Deborah Phelps is currently the principal of Windsor Mill Middle School in Baltimore County, Md. She's been an educator for more than 30 years. But what strikes me, in this article, is some of the stinging comments that she got from teachers when her son was young: As he entered public school, he displayed what his teachers called “immature” behavior. “In kindergarten I was told by his teacher, ‘Michael can’t...


The New York Times pulled no punches in an Aug. 8 editorial published Aug. 8: Many of America’s juvenile jails would be empty if the public schools obeyed federal law and provided disabled children with the special instruction that they need. The editorial was based on a report from the Texas Youth Commission's office of the independent ombudsman, which recently released an evaluation of the educational services provided by the state juvenile corrections agency. From the ombudsman's report: Although the law and regulations clearly establish the provisions of [the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] for incarcerated youth, the implementation ...


But it sure is special. Check out this amazing young yo-yo master: Pat Hensley, a retired special education teacher and a member of the board of directors of the Council for Exceptional Children, used this video in her blog as a launching point for a thoughtful discussion on hidden student talents. I've added her blog, Successful Teaching, to the "Blogs I Follow" list that you can see on the lower right of my web page. Also feel free to check out No Limits to Learning, a blog that focuses on assistive technology, and Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs, a ...


I don't want On Spec Ed to turn into a special education law blog, because many have staked out that ground quite well, as you can see by checking my blogroll. But I've happened to run across a handful of interesting law-related items: My colleague Mark Walsh wrote today about an appeals court ruling that placing a disruptive student in "timeout" repeatedly did not violate the student's constitutional rights. H. Jeffrey Marcus, an attorney in western New York state who represents parents, has blogged about a U.S. District court decision that denies reimbursement for private placement to a parent ...


Back in June, I wrote a blog entry about an Arizona appeals court halting a voucher program for students with disabilities and students in foster care. At the time, I wrote that I understood why people might support a voucher program for students with special needs, but I was a bit more skeptical that foster children have the same need for special schools. This Houston Chronicle article, however, outlines some of the educational difficulties faced by children who are adopted, and I would imagine that children in foster care might have some of the same challenges. Because of abuse, genetic ...


Honestly, I've been so starved for political news this year that actually relates to special education, I'll even take this tidbit, nestled in a speech that former New Hampshire governor and current Senate candidate Jeanne Shaheen made Wednesday: "The federal government has made a commitment to the states to ensure children with disabilities receive an equal opportunity for an excellent education, and we should honor that commitment by setting a goal of fully funding IDEA within eight years. ... We need a senator who will fight for special education funding instead of voting against it eight times. We need a new ...


If you live or teach in Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa or West Virginia, your state is required to use response to research-based intervention to determine if a child has a learning disability, as opposed to using the "severe-discrepancy" model based on IQ tests. This is according to a new survey (pdf) recently released by Project Forum, a federally-funded research organization under the umbrella of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. It's the most up-to-date report I've seen that attempts to drill down into state policy on RTI. Now, buckle in for some background... Schools that use ...


Lance T. Izumi, the director of education studies for the conservative Pacific Research Institute in San Francisco, wrote an editorial for the San Francisco Chronicle arguing that exit exams could help, not hurt, students in special education: Some districts, instead of complaining, have risen to the challenge by implementing programs such as pre-exit-exam academic boot camps for special ed students. Higher expectations for special ed students and greater confidence in their abilities underlie such efforts. A positive agenda focused on getting special ed students to pass the exit exam will, in most cases, help these young people succeed in life ...


On the bottom right, you can see a list of some of the blogs I follow, but I know there are many more that I'm missing, particularly ones that are devoted to specific disabilities. Feel free to add some suggestions in comments....


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