Thinking About Learning

Notes from Dearborn Academy

How will we prepare for tomorrow's special needs
hrossman ::: Education, Special Needs

Photo by: timlewisnm

By Howard Rossman, Ph.D., Director, Dearborn Academy

The article*, in the Boston Globe reflects the intense pressure cities and towns are under to provide quality services to increasing numbers of severely disabled students. As the article indicates, medical advances alone are helping vulnerable children enter our schools, and it is our responsibility to provide quality services and help them achieve success at whatever level possible. One of the unfortunate circumstances is that the funding for such students falls on the responsibility of the city or town where the student attends school. It has often been recommended  that the responsibility for the education of more disabled students be a shared responsibility. Hence, the importance for funding the circuit breaker account, which, through a specific formula, reimburses the communities for some of these more costly placements. This is the reason maaps is pushing to return the circuit breaker funding to previous, higher, levels.

The article also points out some interesting and creative efforts by the the public schools to provide educational services in the mainstream to students who are struggling academically, but need specialized instruction to make effective progress. The homogenous grouping of students in elementary classrooms, enabling small groups of students to receive instruction in areas in which they struggle, such as reading, makes it possible for them to be educated in the regular classroom with their peers, and to avoid the necessity of being referred to special education. It would be interesting to see the tracking of such students as times goes on, and measure the effectiveness of these services.

Dearborn Academy is always available, on a consulting basis, to help public schools  design instruction and programs to help students who are struggling be more successful in the mainstream.

*Read comments from maaps and others on the Boston Globe article.