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 ...


The RTI Action Network that I blogged about recently plans its first online chat with Stanley L. Deno, a professor at the University of Minnesota and an expert in curriculum-based measurement. The chat is from 1 to 2 p.m. April 23, and no special equipment needed other than a computer with internet access. It will also be archived for later reading if you can't tune in during the day....


My colleague Debra Viadero's article about the wide "achievement gap" between the smartest black and white students is a must-read, and free to non-subscribers. New research into what is commonly called the black-white “achievement gap” suggests that the students who lose the most ground academically in U.S. public schools may be the brightest African-American children. As black students move through elementary and middle school, these studies show, the test-score gaps that separate them from their better-performing white counterparts grow fastest among the most able students and the most slowly for those who start out with below-average academic skills. The ...


Jim Gerl, at the Special Education Law Blog, has a recent post about a supposed 85 percent estimated divorce rate among parents of children with disabilities. I've heard similar estimates before, but I've never been able to track down the research behind the claim. Others have raised the same question. I have no doubt that raising a child with a disability can put a unique strain on a couple. But there is some analysis that suggests that these children may not provoke the marriage-ending crisis that is popularly assumed. In 2004, Don Risdal and George H.S. Singer at the ...


Board Buzz, the blog of the National School Board Association, brings news of an upcoming audio conference titled "Special Education: What's On the Horizon?" The conference is scheduled for 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EST April 16, and includes some well-known special education law experts, including Houston-based school attorney Christopher Borreca and Allan Osborne, a principal and former president of the Education Law Association. Regular registration is $140, but some discounts are offered and for the price, you can gather as many people as you want around a speaker phone to hear the presentation. Here's my prediction: Response ...


The just-launched RTI Action Network, sponsored by the The National Center for Learning Disabilities, promises to be a good source of information on the educational process, one of the hottest topics in education. NCLD has brought together some of the best-known names in the field to serve on the Web site’s advisory council, including George Batsche, Judy Elliott, Doug Fuchs, and Naomi Zigmond (all of whom I've had an opportunity to inteview for a recent article.) The “Ask the Experts” part of the Web site, which already has some questions and responses, should be particularly helpful for those who ...


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