Welcome to the 13th issue for the second year of Special Education Today. As I assembled this issue, it was the eve of the birthday of my maternal grandmother, Cora Bell Wills Hannah. More about this remarkable woman in a few paragraphs.
First, however, here are some notes about what’s appeared in the magazine in the week since the previous issue. Regular readers will find familiar contents: some tips of the cap, other notes, a list of recent posts, and some half-baked commentary.
At the outset, thanks for all y’all who share SET. You rock! Please keep on doing so.
There has been little growth in the number of subscribers over the past few weeks. Perhaps that’s a function of summer stagnation. Perhaps it’s a result of weak content and writing. Perhaps it simply means that there are only a few hundred people concerned about special education today; all of them are already readers of SET. Sigh…there’s no chance that SET will reach one, two, or fifty thousand readers.
But, if you know an administrator, parent, teacher, or friend who might like SET, please provide her or him a line to the newsletter!
Looking on the brighter side, a year ago, SET had about ~250 subscribers. So there’s growth...doubling...and there are even a few dozen of y’all who are willing to spend $$ to support SET’s distribution to 100s of others. So, woohooo and tnx to all those paid subscribers, especially including those who provide premium support beyond the basic subscription.
Thank to the many of you who “liked” recent (as well as way previous) posts on SET. Shoutouts to
Dan H., Michael K., Clay K., Joel M., and anonymous others who threw “likes” at the post about interpreting measurements of brain functions.
Joel M. gets a prize for “liking” the post about dichotomous thinking.
Clay K., Jane B., and an anonymous reader have the distinction of “liking” last week’s newsletter!
Larry M., Linda L., Ronnie D., and others get credit on other posts!
For those whom I’m not listing here, you know who you are. Thanks!
Special thanks go to those who commented on posts. Chief among them are Michael G. (who’s comment about mentors kindly acknowledges our decades-long connection) and Clay K. (who thinks a lot about cognition and with whom I’ve also been associated since the last millennium). I’m flattered that these accomplished special educators are not just reading SET, but also responding. They help shape my thinking and encourage me to do work that I hope is better.
I should note that I receive back-channel support from subscribers, too. Thanks to those of you who reply to posts and initiate other messages via e-mail. Y’all rock! Please join the public commentors!
Sometimes I post more often, but this week there were only two posts in the week’s magazine. I hope you find both of them of interest (and comment, like, share)!
Here they are, from older to moe recent:
Either-or...binary...black-and-white—What way do people think?
Yes, it is true. If you were wondering whether you were getting your money’s worth for your free subscription, you did get only two posts recently. I was kinda slack this past week. There were only two posts.
I was doing other stuff. Bill and I submitted the next issue of Exceptional Children (which I think has many good articles in it; check here for forthconing articles), and I did lallygag about a bit. So that’s my excuse for only posting two articles this past week. If you are a paying subscriber, you can lodge your complaint about the frequency of posts directly with me. Free subscribers…become a paying subscriber; then you are eligible to send complaints.
In my lollygagging this past week, I should note that Pat and I took time off (from retirement?). We spent a few days with long-time pals, Lin and Rand, exploring the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve in West Virginia. It was a wonderful kick-back. Gorgeous, relaxing, low-key, low-cost, and populated with folks with whom we enjoyed talking (and no one is paying me to say this).
Perhaps the most concerning concern was that we saw and heard very few birds. Now, my inadequacies as a bird-watcher probably contributed to how few I identified, but Pat’s observations confirmed the concern. I went outside of our cabin early in the mornings; it was remarkably quiet. I heard familiar cardinals, wrens, jays, nuthatches, crows, woodpeckers, but not many of them. And I observed few movements (saw a few of the just-listed birds, rock doves, vultures, and some unidentified others).
My maternal grandmother, Cora Hannah (I mentioned that 29 August is her b’day), was a wonderfully accomplished person. She had been a teacher, served as a county administrator, and had a trained (over 100 years ago) soprano voice. She was also, of course, my mother’s mother, giving her a head start in my estimation of her importance. And she was a dispenser of folk wisdom.
Gram frequently said, “All the little birds, lined up on the wire” when it was time to leave to visit someone, go to Charlottesville, or or take a drive. As a curious pre-adolescent, I wondered what she meant by that. One time, standing in the yard of her house as my mother, sibs, and I (and perhaps others) prepared to go somewhere, I asked her what that phrase about birds on a wire meant.
Very matter-of-factly, she pointed to a row of birds sitting on a wire and suggested that I watch them; as soon as one defecated, she said something like this: “We are getting ready to go C’ville. We need to be ready. Have you done your business like the little birds?” It was a very unhurried interaction...just standing around...and it was an opportunity for me to learn from a wonderful teacher.
And, a raw (i.e., unedted) image from our tip. Those folks are looking down at the New River (which is, according to the park brochure, one of the oldest rivers in the world).
So, this little story about my grandmother allows me to assert, as usual, that we take care of each other (wear masks when it matters; use seatbelts), and teach our children well.
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.
Because fate linked me to a free, public, school for severely physically disabled students, I learned somethings I think are relevant. The school, supported by the State of New York, and attended voluntarily by students from Long Island and NYC, had an excellent record of students’ graduating and attening post secondary education. In fact a higher percentage than non disabled students in nearby districts. Another criteria was student and parent satisfaction and, interstingly, active alumni interest. The school encouraged children to attend local schools, full or part-time if they chose, or wanted a specialized course. Students almost all preferred the specialized school, more activities, socialization, etc. 40 years later that is still true, many students have multiple disabilities.
As my sons are musicians who attended post secondary conservatories and colleges of the Arts,
As I learned from my experiences I asked, “Is Julliard a Segregated School?”
Almost heaven WV! So glad that our Congress made if the newest national park.
The new river is amazing...