Thursday, June 05, 2008

Their 'special' frame of reference

Jay Greene's got a post up now on his blog regarding special education. About halfway in though he makes five great observations.

Even normally smart and sensible people, including some very good ed reformers, are confident about claims that they cannot empirically support and that most evidence contradicts. Why?

First, many ed policy wonks live in the DC area and their perceptions of special ed are distorted by the highly exceptional practices in the District. (snip)

Second, many ed policy wonks run in relatively elite circles. (snip)

Third, school leaders and educators have a vested interest in complaining about the financial burdens of special education or the unreasonable demands of parents. But newspapers treat their claims as if they were those of disinterested experts. (snip)

Fourth, the hard reality is that most people are primarily interested in their own children. If they are led to believe that special education is going to drain resources from their non-disabled kids, they want to stop that. (snip)

Fifth, there is a false image in some people’s heads that disabled kids are basically basket cases and that money spent on them is money wasted. (snip)

From the folks at FACE (Family Advisory Council on special Education) I got this reminder today:

Mayor's Council on Special Education: Monday, June 9 at 6:00PM will be the second public forum on Special Education at the East Park Community Center.

The meetings are open to everyone including students, parents, community leaders, teachers, and all MNPS staff. At our last meeting we heard from parents, bus drivers, Special Ed teachers, and administration. The forums are your opportunity to make your concerns known.

Registration begins at 5:30 and the open forum begins at 6:00PM and ends around 7:00 PM.

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Thanks for posting this information; I find the more meetings I attend about educational matters, the better informed my decisions are about my special needs child and his education. Kay, this post also points out something very important and that not all children in Special Ed are academically challenged. One half of Metro's Special Ed children have behavioral challenges and not academic challenges; there are also a number of children who have medical and physical challenges and again have no academic challenges. Special Ed also includes Gifted and Talented students.

MNPS is graduating more and more children from Special Ed with a Regular Ed diploma and there is a huge push to include all children in general ed classrooms. These gains have come from the whole community, thanks to dedicated teachers, supportive parents and community volunteers, and high expectations from administration & the BOE.


PS (While there are some FACE members and MNPS staff on the Mayor's Council on Special Education, these forums are from the Mayor's office and at Mayor Dean's bequest to find out how best to educate all children.)