The New Teacher Hotline, sponsored by the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence, interviewed me in June on a variety of special education topics, including response to intervention and what I really thought about the teacher in Florida who sent a kindergarten student with autism out of her classroom. The podcast is up now. Thanks Mike!...


Candace Cortiella, the director of the Advocacy Institute and a member of the National Center for Learning Disabilities Professional Advisory Board, had an online chat yesterday about learning disabilities -- the transcript is here. There's a lot of good basic information and statistics packed in this chat, particularly relating to No Child Left Behind and NCLD's perspective on how the law's testing provisions should apply to students with learning disabilities....


Here's a perfect story for me to come across after spending the weekend in Los Angeles for the Braille Challenge: a teacher in Connecticut who has created a class for sighted students to learn Braille. That's a unique approach to sensitizing sighted students to the needs of blind students, and it's exciting that one of the students involved said she plans to be a teacher of blind students when she graduates from college. I wish the story had more comment from the blind students, though....


The blog will be quiet while I take a few days off (it's all about the "staycations" these days.) On June 27 and 28 I'll be in Los Angeles for the Braille Challenge, working on an article scheduled to appear in the July 16 issue of Education Week. Feel free to keep coming up with story ideas for the next school year, and I'll see you on June 30th....


A leisurely search through Topix led me to a fairly dry article about a Michigan family that is suing a school district over an individualized education dispute. Pretty routine, right? But this caught my eye: "In its 2007-08 budget, the Northport board originally set aside $5,000 for legal costs for the district. In early December it increased that amount to $280,000 and has budgeted $120,000 for the 2008-09 school year, most of which would be used in an appeal depending on how the administrative law judge rules." Wow! Sounds like things are getting a little out of ...


Sort of. Summertime is wonderful at Education Week HQ. After working hard to bring you the best education news all school year long, we get to take a little break, just like the kids, and Education Week becomes Education Every-Other-Week, or so. (Though you can still read all the fresh news you could possibly want at the website.) During the down time, we reporters are asked to produce a"long-range memo" listing some of the topics we would like to write about for the next publishing year. And that's where you come in. I'm looking for good, uncovered topics to ...


Here's something interesting: a college program in Washington state specifically for students with developmental disabilities. Students in the program at Bellevue Community College graduate with an associate's degree in "occupational and life skills." The idea of a transition between high school and the "real world" sounds great. But the price tag of more than $27,000 is a bit of a show-stopper. There have to be less-expensive transitional programs in many communities. Seven years ago, when I was at another paper, I wrote an article about a woman with developmental disabilities who, after graduation, was going to work at this ...


My "neurodiversity" blog post from last week feeds nicely into this Washington Post article about a local school district that has created what some have called "model" classrooms for students on the less-severe end of the autism spectrum. The program, with two teachers and four aides serving 15 children, focuses on two goals: teaching students to recognize and cope with manifestations of their disorder, such as a panic attack in the gymnasium or uncontrollable restlessness in math class; and easing them into regular classes to the greatest extent appropriate, a process called mainstreaming, which drives special education across the country. ...


Savings plans for college education, also known as "529 plans," have been grown tremendously in popularity since they were created in 1996. In those plans, parents can sock away money in different investments to grow free from federal and state income tax until a child is ready to attend college. The money can then be used for tuition and other expenses. A group of congressional leaders wants to expand this tax-free account concept to youth with disabilities, in order to pay for qualified expenses. The Washington Post had a favorable editorial in the paper today about the plans currently working ...


The good, and bad, thing about being an inveterate web surfer is that you never know where you're going to end up. Take yesterday, for example: I started off at blog run by a young feminist, because it was mentioned in a newspaper article I was reading. It led me to another blog that had a post honoring the memory of disability-rights advocate Harriet McBryde Johnson. Johnson, who died earlier this month, was a fierce advocate for people with disabilities, and was also scornful of what she felt were "pity-based tactics" of those who would raise money for research into ...


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