April 25, 2008

Delaware symposium

I've had a wonderful time in the past two and a half days in Newark, Delaware, as a presenter at a University of Delaware symposium on the past, present, and future of special education. I had the chance to catch up with several friends I hadn't seen in a few years, make some new friends, meet a whole bunch of people, and talk about special education. I was a postdoctoral researcher in the department of special education at Peabody College of Vanderbilt in the mid-1990s, my wife is a special education teacher in the Hillsborough County schools here in Tampa, and my family has had plenty of friends with and without disabilities over the years. So I'm aware that I'm invested in this. (Even if you don't have the professional connections with special education, you almost certainly have parallel personal connections, at the least, and we are all temporarily able-bodied at best.)

In addition to the perennial issues with special education, there was somewhat more focus on two topics: the Responsiveness to Intervention (RTI) policy initiative and concerns several presenters had about personnel preparation. There was an interesting range of views on RTI, with some disagreement about where special education fits on the levels/tiers and what proportion of students would be in the chronic non-responder category. Mary Brownell effectively made the point that no matter what teacher education and personnel preparation models you want to use, there are uncomfortable dilemmas. There was plenty of other discussion, and there will be follow-up to turn the papers into something more.

And I received some nice comments on the style of my slides as well as the substance. When I get home (I'm working in the grad-student office at the U. Delaware school of education), I'll upload a few of them.

Listen to this article
Posted in Education policy on April 25, 2008 2:45 PM |