Learning Disabilities are decreasing! (Or is good instruction increasing?)

Recently there has been discussion in the national press about the reduction of students in the special education category labeled "Learning Disabled." Many are asking what has occurred to cause this to happen. In this post Bob Wedl, former Minnesota Commissioner of Education, describes the effect one method—Response to Intervention (RTI)—can have on reading skills, and factor to the LD status of many students.

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Guest Post: Effective technology should help teachers access and utilize Web-based information.

In this guest post Bob Bilyk, founder and former director Cyber Village Academy, a charter school in Saint Paul, envisions technology’s capacity to customize education for students. Now, the founder of LodeStar Learning, he argues most vendors’ curriculum is so expensive that teachers cannot mix and match curricula. He argues for a new type of school, and a new attitude that focuses on integrating the full capacities of technology to help both teachers and students access and effectively utilize Web-based information.

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New chapter of ‘Disrupting Class’ on Student Motivation available for free downloading

Two years ago, E|E’s managing partner Curt Johnson co-authored a book both explaining and predicting the rapid pace of change in American Public Education. Co-authored by Clayton Christensen and Michael Horn, a second edition of “Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns,” is now available on line and in major bookstores across the country.

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Cooperative takeover! (When a successful school absorbs a struggling neighbor)

Recently Milwaukee College Prep, the 2008 Wisconsin Charter School of the Year, stepped in to convert a failing school to a new campus. Is this sort of cooperative takeover a model that can be used elsewhere in large cities?

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Guest Post: Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville describes charter-like district ‘Innovation Schools’

In a guest post for Education Innovating, Massachusetts Secretary of Education Paul Reville describes the motivation behind that state’s recently-enacted Innovation Schools law, enabling districts to create schools with autonomy reflective of chartering. This significant systemic reform is similar to Boston's Pilot Schools, as well as Minnesota’s Site-Governed Schools law passed in 2009. Already in 2010 two new schools were created under the law.

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The "teacher-led schools" idea hits the national media and blogs

The idea of organizing a school as a professional partnership has now hit the national media. This will cause discussion - we feel the need to clarify some points about this promising platform.

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If students don’t learn from reforms, then what do they learn from?

Why is such energy spent arguing over school reforms, when the more relevant question it seems is what the school is?

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'Hope Survey' allows schools to recognize and follow student motivation

The Hope Survey is a different way of looking at assessment. It measures student perceptions of autonomy, belonging, and goal orientation—seeking to diagnose whether a school culture has the components that encourage higher levels of engagement in learning.

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Guest Post: UK teacher describes bringing iPads into school: "It is finding many uses."

Fraser Speirs is a software developer and teaches computing at Cedars School of Excellence, an independent school in the UK. He maintains a blog and recently wrote about bringing iPads into their school. Here he describes their experience supplying all 106 students with an an iPad, giving them space to use it as they see fit. "It is finding many uses."

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Continuous Innovation . . . followed by Continuous Improvement!

Critics have descended on the "Investing in Innovation" ("i3") program of the U.S. Department of Education. Most argue it's financing not innovation but the replication of old innovations. In a talk August 3 to the Knowledge Alliance, E|E's Ted Kolderie explained why 'continuous improvement' alone is unsound policy; why sound policy does require true innovation – followed, of course, by “improvement”.

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