What is Special Education Today?
SpecialEducationToday is a Web site and mailing list providing current content about special education. SET’s content includes news, articles, editorials, commentaries, and other posts about the concepts, policies, research, and practices undergirding special education. If you’re interested in learning about kids with reading problems, autisim, intellectual disabilities, visual impairments, behavior problems, and (especially) how to help them effectively, SET is for you. Oh, did I mention that we’ll spend a good bit of bytes on how to teach them?
I am pleased that the readership of SET includes people with diverse interests in special education. Special education should, in my view, be a collaboration among the various stakeholders. Discussions that are limited to only one interest group risk running away into echo chambers where the reverberations distort ideas and result in less beneficial services for individuals with disabilities. No one group—educators, parents, policy makers, etc.—is any more responsible for perpetuating or preventing this problem than another. I think a beneficial way to address this problem is to promote open, honest, and considerate examination of ideas. I hope SET provides a forum for that examination.
I emphasize content that has an emprical basis. I hope to avoid publishing misinformation, fads, and conspiracy theories. Goddesses know there are plenty of places to find variations on those! I call them “bologna,” though I know some colleagues would prefer the term, “baloney.” You say “baloney,” I say “balogna.” I trust that readers of SET do not want much of either. If you’re looking for the latest pop psych or fad-ed theories, just search the Intertubes! You’re more likely to find a criticism of them here than a post championing them.
Unlike some other sources about special education, I write content for SET in ways that I hope are readily accessible to lay readers. I am an academic, but I know one doesn’t need advanced degrees to understand important ideas. The topics are serious but the presentation doesn’t have to be stuffy.
Lots of parents, teachers, administrators, and others don’t have time to wade through the tricky currents of academia. It helps if the ideas are not presented in an academic way, larded with jargon, and inconsiderate of readers. So, I hope my posts for SET are clear and transparent. Let me know if I miss this mark.
My hope (“vision”) for SET is that it will serve as an international forum for discussions about what’s important to people concerned about special education and disabilities. Currently (December 2023), there are > 600 subscribers, and many of them from locations outside the US. Those whom I hope participate include teachers, parents and other family members, researchers, lay-people, policy makers, administrators, psychologists, and individuals with disabilities, themselves.
By “participate,” I especially refer to “enter into discussions.” Please devote an extra minute or two to reading comments by other readers on posts. Just scroll past the post content to find comments. If you are a paying subscriber, I invite you to contribute your thoughts or $0.02.
Please let me know if SET seems helpful or not. I want to know—and I’ll want to make changes based on readers’ feedback.
Why subsribe to SET?
All subscribers of SET receive the periodic (currently weekly) newsletter. Never miss an update. Paid subscribers get full access, not only to the public sections, but also to the full archives. In addition, they can comment on posts. They also get the satisfaction of promoting the evidence-based perspective that I hope will make special education more successful for students, teachers, and parents; and paying subscribers help support the wide distribution of the current content. Founding subscribers (thank you!) have full access and must be willing to advise me about what they think is going right with SET and how to improve it.
Join the crew
Be part of the special education community of people who share an interest in providing evidence-based and effective education for students with disabilities.
Who in this world am I? Well, there’s a bit more in the bio link. Simply said, I’m a retired professor of special education who has taught and conducted research about improving special education services since (depending on how one counts), the 1960s or 1970s. Over those years, I’ve had opportunities to collaborate with some of the strongest, most productive, and most caring individuals whom I know in special education; they have carried me along as a co-worker and co-author on their projects, allowing me to tarnish their reputations.
Although (when I flatter myself), I think I’ve made some helpful contributions, I know that there’s lots of space for improving my work. Still, I hope this resource will help advance a shared concern about improving outcomes for children and youth with disabilities and those people’s families.
Flash of the electrons to the company that provides the tech for this newsletter, visit Substack.com.