Friday, December 17, 2010

Friends: I have neglected this blog, because there was frankly very little response to the issues I have posted on here. Looking at the blog again, I see that there has been an increase in those who have subscribed. I want to make another run at this now, because I do believe that it could be a valuable resource, a place for people to have their questions answered and for individuals to discuss issues which are important to them.

What I would like to ask you to do, would be for you to suggest some questions or topics that could be discussed. This way I would feel like we are responding to issues and questions that are important to you. I would also ask that you encourage your contacts to participate as well. For my part, I will try to more actively post issues and questions. I would love for this to become a discussion board for the community of individuals advocating for children with disabilities.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Let's talk about the discipline of children with disabilities, including putting in handcuffs and paddling. What about the termination of a special education teacher who protested the paddling of her autistic student.

This stuff keeps coming. In Mississippi a teacher's contract was not renewed because she told another teacher that corporal punishment should not be used on a child with Autism - the child would not understand. This happened when the special education teacher learned that one of her students had been paddled by another teacher.Okay, that sounds like a lot of school districts - but - the worst is yet to come - The federal court held that the teacher's speech (in admonishing her paddle-swinging colleague) was not protected by the First Amendment. For more of the story - go to

Then a six year-old girl handcuffed for classroom behavior - Maybe equally shocking is the fact that 50% of those responding to the newspaper's poll felt that this conduct by the police and the school authorities was appropriate. This public reaction helps explain the challenge we face in our efforts to rein-in school use of... restraints and seclusion.Please click on the link below to watch the news video.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What's this about RtI?

Many of you have probably already run into this Response to Intervention and may wonder what it is. RtI was first suggested in IDEA 2004 for students with SLD. I believe that the idea was to allow children who do not meet the discrepancy model (gap between IQ and achievement), to still access special education if they truly need it to progess. Basically the school uses general education interventions, keeping data in order to determine if these interventions help the child succeed. The child is moved up three progressive tiers until the child is either successful (in which case the child does not require special education) or remains unsuccessful (in which case the child does require special education).
I will begin our discussion with an observation that instead of opening the special education door wider I fear that the immediate effect of RtI is to close the door on many eligible children. Also it often seems to be used to delay the recognition of disabilities and the provision of services.
There are some very positive aspects of RtI that we can talk about, but I think that the above is a good place for us to start our conversation. Write to add your thoughts and ask your questions.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

For a number of years my office has received panic calls relative to FCAT mandated 3rd grade retentions. Then last year I began to recieve calls from parents complaining their children were being retained at the end of the 2nd grade. What was going on? It took a while, then I understood. If you were a principal whose school was being marked down because of 3rd grade retentions - why not identify those children in danger of 3rd grade retentions and retain these children in the 2nd grade (when no one is looking). The school then has a second year to get these children up to grade where they will pass the FCAT.Some schools are "gaming" the FCAT - with our kids.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

First Post

This is my first post, more or less taking the blog for a test drive. It is my intention to use this log to discuss issues in special education and to comment upon legal trends in this domain.