Archive for the ‘Special education’ Category

Interested in dyslexia? Consider this Twitter event tonight.

I was asked to spread the word about this event, which does not require getting up from your couch and driving across town: The National Center for Learning Disabilities is hosting a Twitter chat tonight on #dyslexia. It offers an opportunity for folks to chat with the nation’s leading experts.

Get more details here.

But here are the basics:

When: TONIGHT. Monday, 11/19 from 9-10pm EST

Topic: #Dyslexia

Panelists:

- Amy Mascott: @teachmama Education blogger & reading specialist

- Stan Wattles: @LDorg Former Indy racecar driver diagnosed with dyslexia (tweeting from NCLD’s Twitter handle)

- Anne Ford: @AnneFordAuthor Author of three books on learning disabilities

- Dr. Sheldon Horowitz, Ed.D. @LD_Expert NCLD’s Director of LD Resources and Essential Information

- Allie McDonald, @NoFlashCards parent, educator, blogger, & proponent of LD awareness

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

Continue reading Interested in dyslexia? Consider this Twitter event tonight. »

Georgia Cyber Academy responds to state board special ed concerns: DOE didn’t provide assistance or clarity

In light of the state board of education concerns about Georgia Cyber Academy, I asked the director of the online charter school to make a statement.

Here is a response from head of school Matt Arkin:

GCA has been committed to working collaboratively with the Department of Education since our launch in 2007. When, in early 2012 Department of Education staff came to us with concerns regarding the growth of our Special Education population, GCA met with DOE staff, provided all requested information in a timely manner, and cooperated fully in a completely transparent manner.

When the DOE identified a list of issues to be addressed in May, GCA moved swiftly to address every issue identified in a comprehensive manner (including the addition of over 25 new special education teachers and support staff), and met every deadline that was identified by the DOE without delay.

GCA has met every deadline and addressed every issue identified by the DOE to date, as Lynda White, the …

Continue reading Georgia Cyber Academy responds to state board special ed concerns: DOE didn’t provide assistance or clarity »

The strong policy focus on struggling students shortchanges the gifted students in Georgia schools

Folks, To quote my colleague Jim Galloway, I have “gone fishing” this week. (I have actually gone hiking.)

I will have no computer access, but am posting some great stuff in advance, including this essay by Gyimah Whitaker, president of the Georgia Association for Gifted Children, and Ann Robinson,  president of the National Association for Gifted Children.  It runs on the Monday education op-ed page.

I will be back online on the 19th.

By Gyimah Whitaker and Ann Robinson

Children across Georgia are now back to school. For some students, the return to school felt like a burden, a necessary chore they have to slog through every day, but not for the reasons you might expect.

Rather than viewing school as an unhappy departure from carefree summer days, many of the most disinterested students in a classroom are also the high-ability children who spend the bulk of their school days going unchallenged and largely ignored.

Our nation’s education system has a long history of …

Continue reading The strong policy focus on struggling students shortchanges the gifted students in Georgia schools »

I wouldn’t just rehire this Cobb special ed teacher; I would erect a statue in her honor.

This reader response to an AJC article on special education teachers in Cobb ended up on my desk where I read it in amazement. Teacher Shannon Bryant sounds extraordinary.

Read this letter from parent Jason Adams and you will understand why. After reading it, I am even more perplexed why a teacher of Shannon’s caliber was not rehired. I wouldn’t just rehire her after reading this; I would start collecting for a statue in her honor.

With the permission of the author:

I am writing in response to your recent article entitled “Cobb Rehires 130 Special Education Teachers.” My hope is to add to the sentiments expressed regarding special needs teacher Shannon Bryant.  My son, Sully, is a former student of Ms. Shannon.

When Sully was diagnosed with a brain disorder, we searched for the best special needs program in the state.  After speaking with both parents and teachers; and after visiting many schools, we were clear where we should be.  We moved our family to the Nickajack …

Continue reading I wouldn’t just rehire this Cobb special ed teacher; I would erect a statue in her honor. »

Since states including Georgia won’t ban paddling, the feds might do it

Corporal punishment in schools is on the front burner in many places this month, including Congress where U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) plans to introduce legislation to ban the use of physical discipline in public schools.

At a recent hearing on the issue by her Healthy Families and Communities Subcommittee, McCarthy said:

The federal government has outlawed physical punishment in prisons, jails and medical facilities.   Yet our children sitting in a classroom are targets for hitting. We know safe, effective, evidence-based strategies are available to support children who display  challenging behaviors in school settings.

Hitting children in school does not help them achieve academic success. Hitting children in school is not an effective discipline tactic. Hitting children in school does not make them feel safe in school. Instead, they feel humiliated, helpless, depressed, and angry. Hitting children teaches them that it is a legitimate way to handle conflict.

We are …

Continue reading Since states including Georgia won’t ban paddling, the feds might do it »

A parent of a child with special needs: You must speak up

I wrote last week about a noted psychologist’s growing concern with the  pathologizing of “normal” boy behaviors. I received a lot of responses from parents who had resisted advice to medicate their young sons. Now that their sons were grown and doing fine, they were glad they did.

Among the e-mails that I received was this from parent J. Scott Thompson, who kindly agreed to let me share it here as I thought he made important points.

In general, my piece – which ran both in the AJC and in the blog -  was an interview with Anthony Rao about his new book, “The Way of Boys: Raising Healthy Boys in a Challenging and Complex World.”

Among the things that Dr. Rao told me: “We used to miss a lot of learning problems in boys years ago. But now we are looking so aggressively for them and we are looking earlier and earlier. Rather than rushing into a program to help troublesome behaviors, many boys benefit from a wait-and-see approach.”

Thompson sent me a thoughtful response …

Continue reading A parent of a child with special needs: You must speak up »