I have to admit that the connection to special education is pretty tenuous, but I was transfixed by a story on NPR Wednesday about two families coping with transgendered young sons. One family decided to let their child live as a girl while another family is trying to make their son feel more comfortable in his biological gender, including taking away his "girlish" toys. Now, the child's mother says, her son has some friends who are boys and is no longer saying that he's a girl...but she senses that he's leading a double life. At school he plays with ...


It might be risky to draw attention to another special education blog, but I can't ignore the recent launch of Wrightslaw Blog. Wrightslaw has been a reliable source of information for me since I started covering special education four years ago, when I didn't know IDEA from FAPE. The perspective is that of a parent advocate, which Peter Wright has been for decades. In 1993, he represented the parents in a Supreme Court case, Florence County v. Shannon Carter, in which the court unanimously held that parents can be reimbursed by a school district for tuition when they place their ...


G. Reid Lyon, a key architect of the Reading First program and the former chief of the child development and behavior branch at the National Institutes of Health, weighed in today on the interim report on Reading First released last week. His in-depth responses on the ednews.org website offer a different perspective on the report, which showed no difference in reading comprehension levels for students who were instructed in Reading First, and those who were not. Thanks to JohnL at Teach Effectively for the tip....


The Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and other like-minded organizations want you to spend May 6 calling your congressional representatives on behalf of a bill that seeks to award expert witness fees to parents who win due-process disputes against schools. H.R. 4188 seeks to undo a policy created by the U.S. Supreme Court's 2006 decision in Arlington V. Murphy. In that case, the court decided that parents who prevail in special education cases are not entitled to be reimbursed for the fees they pay to experts, such as educational consultants. (Education Week covered the case extensively, as ...


Everyone should check out the article written by my colleague Kathleen Kennedy Manzo about a major federal report on the $1 billion Reading First initiative. Students in schools receiving grants from the program perform no better than students in comparison schools in reading comprehension. Many states use their Reading First dollars to implement response-to-intervention frameworks in their schools. The interim report and Kathleen's reporting suggest that Reading First has done a great job improving the ability of kids to decode words, but their ability to derive meaning from what they've read still falls short. RTI is just a way of ...


Rev. Jeremiah Wright, former pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church Church of Christ in Chicago, doesn't just have a lot to say about politics--he also has some thoughts on special education as well, which he shared during his April 27 speech before the NAACP in Detroit: Turn to your neighbor and say different does not mean deficient. It simply means different. In fact, Dr. Janice Hale was the first writer whom I read who used that phrase. Different does not mean deficient. Different is not synonymous with deficient....Dr. Hale showed us that in comparing African-American children and European-American children ...


Readers who will be in New York May 9-11 should check out the Sprout Film Festival, a three day showing of films by and about people with disabilities. The first day features "Including Samuel," a movie I didn't get a chance to see when it was shown in the D.C. area., unfortunately. The documentary, filmed by photojournalist Dan Habib, shows a family's efforts to involve their son Samuel, who has cerebral palsy, in every part of educational and social life. The last day of the festival will include a showing of "Autism: The Musical," which was recently broadcast on ...


The House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to put a hold on new Medicaid rules that would prevent schools from being reimbursed for providing certain services on behalf of some students with disabilities. But the Senate Republican leadership is urging its colleagues to reject the House measure, so the fight, for schools, is not over yet. You'd know this already if you were on the e-mail list of the LEAnet, which describes itself as a "growing coalition of local education agencies dedicated to the protection and enhancement of school health programs." Gregory K. Morris, the executive director of the ...


Nevada's first school exclusively for deaf and hard-of-hearing students is opening this fall in Las Vegas. The school will offer a bicultural/bilingual environment, with all teachers fluent in American Sign Language. The school plans to start small, according to the article, and is opening only for kindergarten through 3rd grades. The school founders hope to improve graduation rates for students with hearing impairments. Late last year, I wrote an article about a school for the deaf in California and a student who is deaf and also has severe additional disabilities. In the course of my reporting, I learned that ...


Virginia wants to drop a state requirement that parents have to be notified before terminating a student's special education services. Like many states, Virginia is in the process of aligning its state special education standards to the federal standards included in the 2004 Indviduals with Disabilities Education Act.The state says this type of notification isn't required in the federal standards. The state gave an example of how this might work: If a student with a learning disability was receiving an hour of occupational therapy a day, the school would have to notify a parent if it determined the child ...


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