Friday Photos: Our late leader, Ken Kavale
Wasn't Ken a great pal of special education?
In 2008 I wrote an obituary for my esteemed colleague, co-author, and friend, Ken Kavale. Ken was a leader in special education in many ways. Some links in that old post may be outdated (i.e., “404”), but readers should get the background, I hope. (Folks also should simply search on Ken Kavale for better info than this personal post.)
As I reported when I wrote that obit nearly 14 years ago, and I want to reiterate now, Ken was a way-great scholar, and a great friend. So, this Friday Photos feature features (read that carefully) my current reflections about Ken and a couple of photos of my pal.
Here is an old (i.e., low-resolution) shot of Ken from that time. I know that it doesn’t fit with my effort to present photos that are not “staged.” But please stick with me…,
Also, let me remind us that Ken provided lots of other leadership. He was an early advocate of meta-analysis, journal editor, organiztional leader, and more.
Early in special education’s efforts to identify effective methods, Ken promoted meta-analyses as a way to determine what works. He recognized that special educators could examine results of multiple studies so that they could get a higher-order (a “meta”) view.
And Ken went for it. He meta-analyzed lots and lots of data. He—with his frequent collaborator, Steve Forness—published analyses of old-style recommendations such as learning styles and perceptual-motor training. He called out bologna by showing that the data didn’t support that poop.
But, Ken had a broader perspective, too. He reflected on science, the concept of learning disabilities, and general concepts of disabilities. Ken was a contributor whom we should not forget.
On a personal note, let me remind those of us who knew Ken (and those who didn’t) that, despite his enormous academic accomplishments, he did not take himself seriously. He could laugh strongly at a moment’s notice. Even though we disagreed about many issues, Ken and I enjoyed lots of good times. We agreed about promoting evidence-based practices for teaching students with disabilities. I will forever miss him.
Part of the reason that I want to honor him is that Ken had an incredible capacity to laugh about intellectual dishonesty, irony, and self-importance, and he had a love of golf and beer. We had a lot of great times. But, people should understand that Ken had a laugh that incited laughter in many people.
Beyond his wonderful academic leadership accomplishments, I’ll remember him for his great laugh.