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Special Education Today Newsletter 3(1)
Welcome to the new year!
Here we go! Volume 3, Issue 1 of the weekly newsletter for Special Education Today. If you’ve been reading these missives regularly, I hope you enjoyed the vacation from them for the month of June 2023.
Regular readers will likely find the structure and content of this issue to be familiar, with only about one minor change. There are, however, changes afoot with SET (read on), in general. Regardless, in this issue, you’ll find the familiar listing the contents from the past week, followed by a report about SET’s state of affairs, and then a little commentary.
First, though, here’s a photo for this edition of the newsletter. This image isn’t expressly tied to any of the content. It’s just a view of the Rivanna River, along which Pat and I frequently walk.I like this particular spot because it shows an interest phenomenon. The general flow of the river is from the left to the right of the photo. But, at this spot, it briefly goes back more from the bottom right toward the top left. One can see that the water just hind the brown rock in the bottom right foreground has some churn to it, but beyond the smaller rocks and toward to far shore, the flow has presumed its overall direction.
I suspect that there is something large blocking the flow downstream just out of the picture at the right. I have only canoed this segment once, and that was more than 20 years ago, so I don’t recall. I’m tempted, however, to get a kayak and investigate.
For those who like to make connections, perhaps you can see this phenomenon as indicating that SET is operating at cross currents. Or maybe there’s something that is going against the flow. So many possible interpretations....
Of course, y’all know that I post messages to the Web site repeatedly during the week. Sometimes, I push one of those posts out via the email list, but you can see them all if you visit the site regularly. Maybe I’ll get an image of this same spot on the river when the water is much lower or much higher this coming week, and I can post it.
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Table of contents
I shall not provide a catalog of all the posts during the summer hiatus. The following ToC will recapture only those since about 23 June 2023. So, if you’re interested in the five posts for the previous week (still open access), please visit the site directly. If you’re interested in the eight articles posted between 1 June and 17 June 2023, please consult the archives, too; usually, these would be behind the paywall by now, but I’ve opened them up for all readers.
As for the most recent posts, read on....
Having thoughtful, respectful discussions: What's worth debating?
The pandemic dinged kids' learning: Do our kids get included in "kids?"
A success story associated with systemic instruction in NYC: Why weren't curricula with evidence of effectiveness among the choices?
HB, Helen Keller!: Isn’t it a great time to honor one of humanity’s high-achieving individuals who had disabilities?
James M. Patton passed away: Yet another well-respected special education professional has died.
Lew Polsgrove passed away: Could he already be playing saxophone with some band in the afterlife?
Finding out what sources actually said can be enlightening: When something smells fishy, isn't it wise to check sources?
Make sure you go to the Web site to see the most current content. There will be additional posts during the coming week. You’ll find an HTML-formated version of this newsletter (much prettier than this funky version that comes in the e-mail) as well as any newer posts.
This line shows the growth of subscriptions to SET over its entire history (now three about years). From its beginning with just a handful of pals tracking it to today when approaching 600 people are subscribed, the growth has been a bit bumpy, but it’s a net positive.
During June 2023, there was a net gain of two subscribers. Although the SET community has not grown substanitially in the recent past, it has grown by 120 subscribers in the past year. I hope that the growth continues (or increases!).
You, Dear Subscribers, are almost certainly the reason for growth. To the extent that you share SET posts and recommend SET to colleagues, you help boost the base. Thanks!
I am testing two mechanisms to enhance growth. The first one applies to both paid and free subscriptions. The second one provides a way for many people to become paid subscribers.
As you may have noticed if you already read the post of 2 July (Invite your friends...), I am testing whether rewards associated with bringing new subscribers to SET will help the community grow; see the post for details.
I am launching group subscriptions; the general idea is that a school administrator can have multiple members of a local education agency’s team subscribe or a professor can have many students subscribe to SET at deep discounts for the individuals. Write to me for additional details; just reply to this newsletter from your e-mail application.
Leading with the commenters, let me flash the old electrons to Dan H., Jim K., Brian W., Kathy M., Mike G., and Betsy T. for comments on posts. These folks used their paid subscriber status to report their observations about topics in posts. Look for their notes on current and future posts, and upgrade to paid to be able to add your own comments. I think it’s important for members of the community to discuss “stuff.”
Thanks to all y’all who have followed @specialedtoday. As some of you are aware—at least aware enough to tease me about it—I’m concerned about Twitter, enough so that I may delete my personal account. It seems too often to be a forum for amplifying misinformation. It can be a way to amplify accurate info. To the extent it does amplify accurate info, I hope that users find it a great way to keep up with what’s happening with SET. I know I need to do a better job of announcing posts on that medium. As I get a chance, I’ll push notices to followers of that TW account. And a special flash to Betsy T., who frequently mentions SET on Twitter. Please help SET by retweeting those notices and posting your own tweets about content even when I don’t.
Some readers may have noticed that three of the last 20 posts on SET were announcements about colleagues who passed away. I don’t plan to turn SET Inyo an obituary page. Do not fear!
I believe I met all three of these folks personally, but I did not know Mary Lynne Calhoun or James M. Patton particularly well. Still, I admire their contributions to my understanding of disabilities, special education, and the broader world. From the personal mail I received after I published the pieces about them, I understand that many others did, too.
I did know Lew Polsgrove pretty dang well. We spent a lot of time together, often in the company of Mike N., Jim K., Steve F., and many others. Lew and I—just the two of us—hung out, too, listening to jazz, taking a walk in the woods, and shooting the breeze. He showed me how to prepare a super-simple-but-delicious chicken (just stuff it with lots of wedges of lemon and lime and roast it in a moderately hot oven—~220c or 425f—for ~90 min). He coached me through getting music and video synchronized properly. He was just a great pal. I’ll miss him, but I am very glad I got to know Lew for 40-45 years.
Of course, not every reader will harbor the same feelings I do about these and other people whose passings I have noted here on SET. That’s fine. If a post isn’t of interest to a reader, I hope she will simply skip it. But I also hope that posting remembrances of special educators such as Lew, Jim, and Marry Lynne will help the SET community to recognize who we are, from whence we came, and how the community is composed of many contributors.
I don’t mean to overlook others who may have died during SET’s time. I don’t prowl through obituaries, of course. However, people alert me to passings, and I sometimes post about them. I welcome back-channel communication from readers about such events.
My preference, of course, would be that no more SETters pass away...save me the research and composing-typing time.
In the mean while, I recommend that we take care of ourselves (e.g., wear those seatbelts), take care of others, and teach our children well.
SET Editor guy
SET should not be confused with a product with the product that uses the same name and is published by the Council for Exceptional Children. SET predated CEC’s publication by decades. Despite my appreciation for CEC, this product is not designed to promote that organization.
I think David B. probably recognizes this spot as he goes by there frequently, too.