Recently National Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced that the federal government will be changing the way in which it allocates federal money for special education services to states. Secretary Duncan wants to tie test scores for special education to the amount of money a state receives from the federal government for reimbursement of special education services.
The logic is simple: states that send back high special education student test scores will get more money, those with lower scores will get less or even no money. Surely this will improve student learning, right? Clearly No Child Left Behind’s (NCLB) emphasis of tying student test scores to federal money was a major success! Cloning NCLB tools for special education students sounds like a real winner.
During last year’s legislative session I sent dozens of emails to various state representatives and senators.
I understand that the session is a marathon of sorts with in incredible amount of work to be accomplished in a very short period of time. I also get that during this time legislators are inundated with phone calls and emails from citizens across the state.
In other words, I get that they’re busy. Yet, I was flabbergasted when I didn’t receive a single response from a single representative or senator. None. Zip. Continue reading →
During this year’s Idaho legislative session a new tiered certification model was discussed as part of the recommendations from the Governor’s Education Task Force. Buried in this model has a barely discussed, but particularly insidious, implication for special education teachers and students.
At the core of this issue is the Value Added Model, or VAM. Part of the discussed tiered teacher certification model will rely on student achievement based on standardized student test scores; in Idaho this data will be collected in the form of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, or SBAC. Continue reading →
The response, penned by TFA’s “special education specialist” Dhathri Chunduru, offers a detailed view of how the organization supports TFAers hired as special education instructors in Georgia. In her reply, Ms. Chunduru outlines the types of supports TFA provides to these new special education “teachers.”
To TFA’s credit, it appears that they offer some training critical to any would-be special educator. However, she seems to have missed the larger point. TFAers receive this training on the job. Yes, students and parents, your TFA “highly qualified teacher” has training wheels. Continue reading →
The semester is drawing to a close for many secondary schools, including my own, across the state during the next few weeks. With this closing comes the ritualistic ceremony of the dreaded end of course exam.
The goal of NPE is to connect all those who are passionate about our schools – students, parents, teachers and citizens. We share information and research on vital issues that concern the future of public education at a time when it is under attack.