Education News Stories of the Week
From the federal Bureau of Consumer Protection (within the FTC), a website aimed at kids 8-12 promoting ad education. It's called Admongo. Their goal is that since advertising is all around our kids in more ways than ever, that kids can understand that and understand what an ad is trying to do. It asks 3 questions:
- Who is responsible for the ad?
- What is the ad actually saying?
- What does the ad want me to do?
From the website:
The campaign has four components: a game-based website at Admongo.gov; sample ads that can be used in the classroom; a free curriculum, developed with the assistance of Scholastic, Inc., that is keyed to standards of learning in 5th and 6th grades; and teacher training videos. Together, these tools will help you build ad literacy skills.
From the NY Times, an echo of what is happening here in SPS, mainstreaming special needs students. From the article:
This fall, more than 250 schools will be asked to accept more students with disabilities rather than send them to schools that have specific programs for special education, as has been the case for decades. By September 2011, principals at each of the system’s 1,500 schools will be expected to enroll all but the most severely disabled students; those students will continue to be served by schools tailored exclusively to them.
But some special education advocates and principals worry that the changes could be too difficult for principals with little knowledge of special education, who are already strained by day-to-day issues and impending budget cuts.
Several quotes (taken out of order) are telling:
Laura Rodriguez, the deputy chancellor for special education and students still learning English, who was appointed last year to oversee the changes, said she was confident they would stick this time because so many educators were frustrated with the system.
“There has never been a golden age of special education,” Ms. Rodriguez said. “For the vast majority of students, there’s no reason they cannot be in a regular classroom setting if they get what they need.”“The fundamental question is, How much special education expertise am I expected to have, and how much special education services am I supposed to provide?” said Randi Herman, a vice president of the principals’ union, who has been involved in the department’s efforts. “They want to do right by the parents and the child, but right now, there’s a real sense of uncertainty around that.”
“On the one hand, this is incredibly exciting to have more freedom to do what we think is the best for students,” said Allison Gaines Pell, the principal of the Urban Assembly Academy of Arts and Letters middle school in Brooklyn, which is involved in the changes next year. “But it’s also scary. I need to know that all my teachers have enough training. I need to know what all the right services are.”
Naturally there's the rub about mainstreaming the "vast" majority of special education students. Is there money to meet the needs? Do the teachers have the training and support? Do principals have the training and support? The article says the decision is being made to help improve outcomes for these students and it has nothing to do with money but frankly, everything has to do with money (and, as an example, that's why immigration reform has been so slow and you get a desperation move like the one in Arizona).