Special Education Today newsletter 3(25)
Will you cheer because it's a brief issue?
Hello, dear-dear readers. Here’s the newsletter for Special Education Today for the beginning of the third full week of December. With the posting of this newsletter, SET is getting close to being 800 posts old.1 We should eclipse that milestone in the next two weeks.
The air temperatures are getting a little chillier here in central Virginia; the forecasts are for highs in the 9-12 range and lows in 0-3 range (low 50s and low-mid 30s in Fahrenheit, respectively). Over in the Blue Ridge, Jim K. might see some snow, but it doesn’t appear likely there will be any here before the holiday. However, in December of 2009, when our current house was still quite new, we had a coating of that frozen white precipitation.
The posts from the past
I was quite busy this past week with some other tasks and so wasn’t as productive with SET as I would have liked. I’ll discuss some of that business in the commentary in this newsletter, but I also want to take a moment to acknowledge the unexpected passing of Will Richey, a man whom I admired and whose company I enjoyed.
Special Education Today Newsletter 3(24): Did you read the entries for 4 December 2023?
Misinformation in education and mental health: What's to be done regarding disabilities?
G. Ashman with more about constructivism-v-instructivism: Ready for a heads up about another paper on this topic?
Comments & commentary
It will come as no surprise to readers of SET that I champion evidence-based education. Readers have been subjected to my advocacy about this matter regularly in these pages, and I promise that I shall continue advancing ideas about using evidence to improve the quality of educational services provided to children and youth with disabilities (and their families). My interest in promoting evidence-based education has increased substantially in the recent past, and work on the issue has consumed a good bit of time recently.
I am honored to be working with a group of educators on an initiative to advance evidence-based education in the US. It is a large group (maybe 80 people currently) of individuals with diverse backgrounds (teaching, leadership, advocacy, research). The details of who’s participating have not yet been released to the public, so I can’t list those who are participating, but suffice it to say that I consider the membership to include people with august reputations for work in their various ares.
Much of my work so far has been with two friends whom I think I can safely identify here. I have written about both of them in these pages: Doug Carnine (example: “Yes, Virginia, there is a god…”) and Reid Lyon (example: “Iowa Reading Research Center published…”). When friends like these say, “Hey, John. Would you help with this work?” I sit up straight, make sure my behind is in my seat and my feet are flat on the floor, and I say, “Oh, yes! Yes, please throw me in that briar patch.” (And, then I jump up out of my seat and wave my hand while bouncing on my tippy toes, saying, “Me! Me! I want to help!”)
Now, experienced and smart teachers know they shouldn’t always call on the student who’s behaving as I’ve just described myself as behaving. Those teachers can look around the room and see that there are many—like, 70-some—other kids in the class, probably many smarter and more competent than the kid who’s bouncing up and down, speaking out of turn. Maybe they should call on some other kids. And, Doug and Reid are, indeed, calling on others to be part of this initiative to advance the use of evidence in setting educational policy, planning educational programs, selecting educational practices, procedures, materials, and methods. Some of those with whom they are working are, in fact, subscribers SET! I think maybe a half dozen subscribers are among the calm, savvy kids in the room who are looking at me jumping around and waving my hand eagerly…if they wish, they should feel free to identify themselves as members of the group (drop a comment!).
Here’s the point: I anticipate that evidence-based education is going to see a substantial boost in visibility in the near future and that the effort to promote it will be strong, multi-pronged, coordinated, and sustained. To be successful, the effort will benefit from having teachers, parents, administrators, advocates, and others supporting that effort. To that end, I hope to keep readers of SET apprised of the group’s efforts and I hope they (this means you) will join in supporting the effort.
Whether you, dear readers, do or do not join in cheering the advancement of evidence-based education, I hope you are well and happy. I also hope that you are keeping effective instruction as the focus of your efforts in special education. And, as usual, I provide these recommendations: (a) drive carefully and wear your seatbelts (Will wasn’t wearing his, dammit), (b) avoid falling into a snow bank when you won’t be able to get up again, (c) take care of each other, and (d) teach your children well.
John Wills Lloyd, Ph.D.
Editor and founder, Special Education Today
Special Education Today by John Wills Lloyd is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.