Rethinking special ed — Joanne Jacobs

Jun 24, 2011 by

Special education is costing more and more, yet results are disappointing, writes Rick Hess. Nate Levenson, a former superintendent who reduced special-ed spending while improving achievement, has written Something Has Got to Change: Rethinking Special Education.

Levenson suggests:

a relentless focus on reading, including clear and rigorous grade-level expectations for reading proficiency, frequent measurement, and early identification of struggling readers with immediate and intensive additional instruction, up to 30 extra minutes per day;

rethinking what special ed students are taught in general education classes to avoid overplacement of special ed students in special classes and keep them in front of the best teachers;

maximizing class time with content expert teachers.

Special education teachers know how to identify disabilities, but aren’t trained in how to teach math, English or reading, even though that’s their primary duty, Levenson writes.

Also in for some tough medicine is the practice of co-teaching, where a special ed teacher is paired with a general ed teacher in a regular classroom for students with and without disabilities. Levenson writes, “Co-teaching is like dieting. Lots of people want to lose weight and look good in a bathing suit, but actually doing so is hard.”

via Rethinking special ed — Joanne Jacobs.

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