Dear SET e-mail members, thank you for submitting your addresses and sticking with me on the SET newsletter. Here comes another issue of the first year of the newsletter for Special Education Today.
As you may have grown to expect, this issue of the newsletter has mixed contents. I have a status report for the site and the newsletter, a ToC for the past week, and a bit of commentary at the end.
The number of free-email registrants for the list is holding pretty steady. We lost maybe one, but we gained a few more this past week! I’m much more focused on the total number of people who’ve surrendered their personal addresses.
As I've reported previously, about half of the email subscribers open the newsletters. SETters are well beyond the open-rates that are apparently considered pretty good, so y'all who open these messages seem to be pretty engaged with the email messages. Of course, I hope that 50% will increase and that > 50% will be a percentage of a huge number of people—50% of 100 is nice; 50% of 1000 is better; 50% of many thousands is what I hope is the population of readers for these efforts. Current subscribers are probably the best vector from growing that denominator, so please click those "share" buttons and pass along links to teachers, parents (and other family members), administrators, psychologists, and others concerned with students who have disabilities.
A special thanks: Some readers seem to be haunting the Web site. A few hours after I post a new article during the week, I see that two, three, four, five, or more people have read it. That's before it even appears in the newsletter. I am flattered that folks are checking the site that often. Thank you!
There are also a few dozen people whose computers haven't appeared in the logs previously but who apparently are reading some of the posts. They appear as first-time visitors to the site. It's unlikely that they will see this note, but if they do, I hope they turn into e-mail members.
Among the many pals who interacted with the magazine recently: Shout outs to the usual loyal readers: Jane B. (2), Tina C., Sheldon H., Clay K. (3), Michael K., Ed M. (2), and anyone whom I missed. Thanks, too, for Tina and Michael echoing a Tweet this past week! And a special thanks to Joel M. for alerting me to a NY Times publication about a story (I was already writing about it, but yay for the help!).
I'm still looking for feedback about using a feature of SubStack that allows me to post an open thread for discussion. Given how few folks engage in discussion, doing so may be a bust. If you have thoughts about this idea, please send them to me.
So, do you think I should write more posts? Send email notices more (or less) frequently. Focus on certain types of posts? Pose as a writer who posts, say, more controversial stuff? Please let me know: @johnwillslloyd on Twitter will work.
The quasi ToC
I dropped five new posts on the Website this week. I hope readers have found them interesting. There's the second entry in the new recurring feature that I hope will put a little flesh on the people who help inform special educators about, well, special education.
These were the week's posts, from oldest to newest. You can read them by following these links or by going to the main site and working through them systematically from the Web version of this message or the link on the main page at https://www.specialeducationtoday.com.
Griffith et al. guidance about FBAs in secondary schools—Need sensible recommendations about addressing behavior issues in middle and high school?
Friday photos 2—Kathleen (as in Lynne Lane)
ASAT published it’s latest news letter—Want to know trustworthy into about autism?
John McWhorter recommends Direct Instruction—When something works well, why not use it?
Student A v. Berkeley Unified School District proposed settlement—Should a local education agency be responsible for providing appropriate services to students with reading disabilities?
As regular readers know, I am concerned about the level and quality of services that students with disabilities have received during the COVID crisis (should that be plural...crises? Anyway, see editorial of 22 August 2020). I want to pass along a link to resources from the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund. I encourage readers (and special educators in general; share!) to investigate the associated Web pages. I know people argue about whether our kids should get the Chevrolet or the Cadillac (blah, blah, blah), but the models matter a lot less than the more important idea that they get reliable, timely, trustworthy services that meet their unique needs and are available as a free, appropriate education. Please help ensure that the rights of kids with disabilities do not get pushed aside because of a health crisis. This is exactly the time that we need to increase our vigilance about protecting those rights.
By the way, I got word that a couple of my favorite legal thinkers about special education (I'll not name them here, but readers would recognize their names as the co-authors of one of the very best damn books about IEPs for the last 30 years) were meeting today (Sunday). I think they are likely to discuss SET and, more importantly, the Student A. case (see the ToC) and I hope that they'll report to me (or all of us!) about their discussions. I really like to be in the presence of smart and informed people when they chat with each other; I asked if I might sneak into breakfast disguised as a fly (old, bald, wearing glasses) and land on the syrup of their pancakes (or a less disgusting wall nearby) so I could listen to their discussion. I suggested that they speak loudly, as I don't hear as well as I once did (especially for a fly).
On a personal note, my exercise regimen has begun to regain form after a disappointing period. I'm walking a little farther again after a couple of months of working out less frequently and not going as far. As background, some readers will know that in the '90s I used to run a lot, usually a minimum of 40 miles per week at a training pace of ~7:50-8:00 mpm. Injuries and age knocked that level of exercising back to more like 20-30 mile/week at a much slower pace. In 2011, I ran a local 10 mile race in about 100 min, flat; my personal record for that course was 7:04 mpm, so you can see that I had clearly slowed a lot. Because of arthritis, I switched to walking four or five years ago. Then I learned that the arthritis was serious and required hip replacement. I got a new hip two years ago and started a come-back walking program. With a few dips, I was doing pretty well until recently. I was hitting 18-20 days in a row for 2-3 miles a day at about a 20-mpm pace and having fun. Then I began to have some ill-localized pains, so I cut it back. Well, this week I was out five times for a total of 160 min at about 21 mpm. I'm happy because that seems to be picking up again!
Okay. Enough boring old man stuff. Peace and love. Seatbelts: Remember to use them. Stay safely arrayed and masked. And, please, teach your children well.
SET Editor guy
SET should not be confused with a product with a similar name that is published by the Council for Exceptional Children. SET predated CEC’s publication by decades.