And what they've said is, they want to know about response to intervention. I lost track of the total number of questions I screened for yesterday's online chat about RTI after counting about 100. The panelists did a great job of fielding as many as they could, but to get to all of them would have required another few hours. Judging from the inquiries, there's a lot of interest in how RTI might work for older students, for English-language learners, and for students struggling in academic subjects other than reading. Educators also want some reassurance that they're doing RTI the "right...


Be sure to tune in to the Education Week website at 2 p.m. EST Feb. 20 for an online "chat" I'm moderating on response to intervention. Two researchers and two school principals will be taking questions from readers. I'll update this post with a link to the transcript once the discussion is over....


San Francisco-based school psychologist Rebecca Bell has a hilarious entry called "The Newbie" on her blog, Notes from the School Psychologist. In it, she offers words of wisdom to other new school psychologists out there: New psychs: Be patient. It took FOUR years to get the staff on board with the idea that we didn’t need to refer every child with academic or behavioral needs to special education “just to rule out a disability.” I had so much paperwork involved when there was an inappropriate referral it was ridiculous. Some parents didn’t even know that what they signed ...


Response to intervention for young elementary students is starting to take off, and now preschool educators are getting in on the act, thanks to an initiative from the New York City-based National Center for Learning Disabilities and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. NCLD made a recent trip to Capitol Hill to introduce congressional staff to a response-to-intervention type process for preschoolers called "recognition and response." At the same time, they explained that NCLD has been promoting a key element of recognition and response, early screening, through a center-backed ...


Reading Rockets, an educational initiative of the public television station in the Washington area, has a nice, easy-to-read web page about accessible instructional materials. Though the guide is written for parents, teachers and administrators could also find this information valuable. IDEA 2004 requires textbook companies to adhere to a certain technical standard (the National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard, or NIMAS) when they create the source files that are used to create textbooks. This digital source file can then be used to produce the standard textbooks we all know and love, as well as Braille versions, audio versions, large-print editions, and ...


They may have other policy differences, but when it comes to special education, Democratic presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican John McCain all want the same thing for states--more money. My colleague Michele McNeil has already written in her lively blog about Clinton's pledge to "fully-fund" the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. That gets into a tricky area. In 1975, when IDEA first was passed as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, the law said that the federal government would eventually kick in to the states 40 percent of the nationwide average cost of educating a ...


This must feel familiar to those in the gifted education field: Every year that the Bush administration has created a budget, it has proposed eliminating the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program, the only federally funded program specifically directed toward enhancing the ability of schools to meet these students' special education needs. And every year, the program has been maintained through Congressional action. This year is no excepton. The fiscal 2009 budget released earlier this week by the White House proposed eliminating the Javits program and 46 others. Compared to the $59.8 billion in discretionary spending ...


The Journal News, based in White Plains, N.Y., recently ran a nice article about a therapy dog that has apparently prompted wonderful results in a classroom of children with special learning needs. One 6-year-old with selective mutism -- a social anxiety disorder that prevented him from speaking -- apparently broke his silence just so he could talk to his mother about Boo, a 7-year-old Labrador mix. Therapy dogs have had a long history in schools, but they are not universally accepted, for a variety of reasons. A few years ago, I wrote about a family that wanted their specially-trained ...


An article I wrote recently about New Jersey shifting the burden of proof in individualized education program hearings is generating a lot of thoughtful reader comments. The issue: When a school creates an IEP for a student and the provisions of the plan are disputed, who has to prove their case? Does the school have to prove that it is doing the right thing, or do the parents have to prove that the school's plan is wrong? In 2005, the Supreme Court decided in the case Schaffer v. Weast that, in the absence of any other state law, the "party ...


The No Child Left Behind Act has to offer a way for general education teachers to receive professional development so they can teach students with special needs effectively, said three researchers that I interviewed as part of a story on a study by the National Council on Disability, "The No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: A Progress Report." Considering all the information that the presidential advisory council compiled for its report, I found it interesting that this issue came up repeatedly. "When it comes down to the school level, that's the challenge. They're the ...


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