Tag Archive for 'special education'

Sample the “issues” book

As some loyal readers of TE know, in 2015 Routledge released a book I co-edited with Barbara Bateman and Melody Tankersley. It’s a text aimed at graduate education classes and is entitled, “Enduring Issues in Special Education: Personal Perspectives.”

While I was searching for something else, I found a link (posted by one of the publisher’s associates) to a free sample of the front matter (e.g., table of contents; foreword), the first couple of chapters, and part of the third chapter. If they’re providing a copy for the general public, I want to make sure folks know where to find it. Here is the reference, with the title linked to the downloadable PDF:

Bateman, B., Lloyd, J. W., & Tankersley, M. (Eds.). (2015). Enduring issues in special education: Personal perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Yet another plea to consider instruction

I am a presenter at the conference of the Division of International Special Education and Services (DISES) of the Council for Exceptional Children in Braga, Portugal, on 15 July 2014. There are a lot of people here who will be, in keeping with the conference theme of “Embracing Inclusive Approaches,” talking a lot about where special education happens.

In many ways, on the international scene, simply having students with disabilities included—as in not excluded from—education is important. As faithful readers will know, I think it’s great to include students with disabilities, but I think that what happens with them when they’re included is incredibly important. The instruction that occurs in schools is critical. Why send them to school to be defeated by lousy instruction? This is especially true for students with high-incidence disabilities when being “included” very often plays out as meaning being assigned to a regular or general education setting full time.

So I’m talking about including science about effective teaching…just taking the opportunity to enter another plea for teaching effectively. A PDF copy of my slide deck and a couple of pages of the references to which I refer are available.

Free gift from Education Consumers Foundation!

partial image of cover of Clear Teaching

Isn’t it unusual to get something for free that is actually worth a lot? The good folks over at Education Consumers Foundation (ECF) are giving away a small book that is quite valuable, and I encourage readers to download it, read it, and tell their friends to get it, too.

What are they giving away? It’s a book called Clear Teaching: With Direct Instruction, Siegfried Engelmann Discovered a Better Way of Teaching by Shep Barbash. As one can tell from the subtitle, it’s about Zig Engelmann’s work on education. I talked with Mr. Barbash as he worked on the manuscript for the book, read an earlier version of it, and am very impressed with this finished product. It’s even more impressive that the book is now out in the wild for free. Kudos to Mr. Barbash, John Stone, and all the others at ECF who made this happen.

Clear Teaching – The Book
Written by veteran journalist Shepard Barbash over a period of 10 years, Clear Teaching is a well-researched, highly readable introduction to Direct Instruction (DI), a systematic teaching approach which for more than 40 years has dramatically improved learning outcomes for students of all abilities and from all walks of life. The book looks at the development of DI through the early experiences of its creator, Zig Engelmann; explains the principles that underpin this approach; and looks at DI’s reception in the world of teaching, where it has been effectively shunned despite a formidable research base and example after example of transformative success.

The image at the top of the post is hot, but readers can also click here to go to the ECF page where they can download the PDF.

IEPs to the rescue

Over on LD Blog last August I posted a note about how the educational system’s failure by one student serves as an illustration of the refusal to adopt effective teaching practices, favoring ideology instead. I pointed to coverage of a story about a boy named Miguel, a 12-year-old student to whom a local education agency apparently denied appropriate educational services.

The case of Miguel illustrates how educators reject reasonable and evidence-based methods in favor of ideologically driven policies. In place of employing powerful instructional practices and adapting instruction to individuals, schools too often explain away students’ difficulties. They make what amount to excuses!

In contrast to this sorry state of affairs, I was happy to see a post by Pam Wright of Wrightslaw regarding explicit statements about “methodology” in students’ Individual Education Plans.

By including frequent references to the need to use scientific, research based instruction and interventions, Congress clarified that methodology is vitally important. By requiring the child’s IEP to include “a statement of special education, related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer reviewed research …” (Section 1414(d)(1)(A)) Congress clarified that IEPs must include “research-based methodology.”

Given schools’ failure to adopt evidence-based methods and implement them faithfully, it seems to me increasingly important that those parents who have the clout of an IEP employ that instrument to secure appropriate services for their children. I’ll continue to post entries here on Teach Effectively that identify techniques, procedures, practices, and methods that have strong track records for effectiveness, hoping that parents and advocates can use the contents of these posts to request evidence-based methods for their children.

Link Ms. Wright’s “Methodology in the IEP” from Wrightslaw and to “Miguel might show us what’s wrong” from LD Blog.

Updated mega links

Jeanne Wherrett’s comment on an old post prompted me to update the links there. If one of the three or four TE readers have been frustrated by the 404 results for the links pointing to the old mega-analysis (Steve Forness’s term), those links have been fixed.

For those unfamiliar with that old site, it’s a compilation of meta-analyses about cognitive-behavioral treatment of adolescent depression, cognitive-behavioral treatments, computer-assisted instruction, decreasing disruptive behavior, direct instruction (big DI), early intervention, Feingold hyperactivity diet, formative evaluation of students’ progress, medication for students with mental retardation, mnemonic strategies instruction, modality-based reading instruction, peer tutoring, perceptual training, psycholinguistic training, psychotherapy (including behavior modification), reducing class size, social skills training for students with emotional or behavioral disorders, social skills training for students with learning disabilities, special class placement, stimulant treatment of hyperactivity, teaching reading comprehension, treatment of classroom behavior problems.

Jump to the mega site. Flash of the electrons to Ms. Wherrett (see her site) for alerting me to the issue.

Special ed done the right way

After the note I posted about access trumping success, I’ve had some back-channel correspondence with colleagues who also lament the situation. Some of that correspondence focused on how important it is to determine students’ special education needs (i.e., complete an IEP) before determining the students’ placement (i.e., special school < --> full-inclusion). The discussion reminded me of a diagram that has appeared in each edition of Better IEPs by Barbara Bateman and Mary Anne Linden.

Continue reading ‘Special ed done the right way’

Which needs unmet?

Multiple sources accross Canada have covered a distressing story: Nearly ½ of parents of students with disabilities say they had problems securing special education for their children and nearly ¼ of the parents of students with disabilities in Canada said the needs of their children were not being met, according to a survey called “Participation and Activity Limitation Survey” (PALS) conducted in 2006. Overall the report shows that children with disabilities are served well, regardless of variations in type of education provided (full inclusion, part-time special education, or full-time special education) and students’ levels of severity.

As in most other developed countries, Canadian schools are required by law to provide “free and appropriate public education.” Apparently, lots of parents don’t think their children are getting it. To be sure, these are perceptions, but parents’ perceptions are powerful influences on schools’ functioning.
Continue reading ‘Which needs unmet?’

Out-of-LEA placements not as costly as portrayed

Jay P. Greene and Marus A. Winters examined the prevalence and costs of placement of students with disabilities in private facilities, and they found that much of the rhetoric about this controversial expenditure of schools funds was exaggerated. Professors Greene and Winters examined data from the US Department of Education, aggregating those data across states. They reported that only 1.48 percent of the 6 million students with disabilities are placed in private facilities. Furthermore, the estimated total cost of such placements—just under $1 billion—is just 0.24% of the total budget for education.
Continue reading ‘Out-of-LEA placements not as costly as portrayed’

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