Individualize instruction, remove barriers, track student progress: Some tips for making distance-learning special ed work
“Can you give an example of an online lesson that’s effective for students with disabilities?” That’s the question Elizabeth Barker has fielded over and over as schools have prepared to reopen. But it’s the one question that Barker, a special education expert with NWEA, a nonprofit data and assessment provider, can’t answer. Because students in...
By Beth Hawkins | September 9, 2020
15 years after Hurricane Katrina, how 5 New Orleans educators are tapping lessons from the storm to confront COVID-19
On the 15th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, the devastation wrought by the storm and subsequent flood is still hard to fathom. Within a day of the storm’s landfall Aug. 29, 2005, 80 percent of New Orleans was underwater. Tens of thousands of evacuees crowded into sports arenas and convention centers there and in Baton Rouge...
By Beth Hawkins | August 27, 2020
Researchers warn educators about a precipitous ‘COVID Slide,’ say schools will need to confront widening learning gaps this fall
Education data guru Chris Minnich has some advice for school leaders: You may have spent the spring struggling to get food, hotspots and human connection to students, but right now is the time to plan for how school must be different next year if you’re going to address learning gaps widened by the pandemic. Minnich...
By Beth Hawkins | August 13, 2020
A school built on stagecraft: Los Angeles performing arts program boasts dance, music — and outstanding special ed
Over the next several weeks, LA School Report will be publishing stories reported and written before the coronavirus pandemic. Their publication was sidelined when schools across the country abruptly closed, but we are sharing them now because the information and innovations they highlight remain relevant to our understanding of education. Author’s note: This school profile...
By Beth Hawkins | June 11, 2020
All in: A Southern California school with a radical — and successful — vision for students with disabilities
Over the next several weeks, LA School Report will be publishing stories reported and written before the coronavirus pandemic. Their publication was sidelined when schools across the country abruptly closed, but we are sharing them now because the information and innovations they highlight remain relevant to our understanding of education. Author’s note: CHIME Institute’s Schwarzenegger...
By Beth Hawkins | June 4, 2020
New legal theory leads to court ruling that Detroit students have a right to literacy. Now, Michigan’s Governor has until Thursday to act
In recent days, dozens of Detroit parents — quarantined in COVID hotspots with one of the nation’s widest digital divides — have taken to their phones to demand Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer settle a lawsuit that found the state violated their children’s right to learn to read. Using the hashtags #RightToLiteracy and #settlethiscase, some are...
By Beth Hawkins | May 7, 2020
Mothers of invention: Frustrated with the educational status quo and conventional parent organizing, two Latinas gave birth to a national parents union
For a moment, the issues seemed insurmountable. Some 150 parent activists, all strong-willed veterans of battles with their respective education establishments, were gathered in a New Orleans hotel ballroom trying to hammer out statements of joint belief. It was important to arrive at precise wording, the organizers running the meeting told them, because the statement...
By Beth Hawkins | January 28, 2020
Testing anxiety, boredom & guesses: What expert Steven Wise has learned about exams and ‘rapid-guessing behavior’ — and what that tells him about your child’s score
Quick — without looking it up on Google, can you define “edge-aversion”? Here’s a hint: It’s a decision-theory term describing what’s also known as middle bias. That is, a test-taker’s tendency to pick anything but the top or bottom option on a multiple-choice question. To a psychometrician, it’s a tell that the answer was a...
By Beth Hawkins | October 2, 2019
Big promises, big data: Is the SAT’s new ‘environmental context’ score a tool to personalize college admissions, or another impersonal data point?
It’s college-touring season at my house, and I am a goopy mess. I’m a total sucker for all of it. The unblemished idealism of the day. The bright new horizon revealed by each literal door the student tour guide opens. Even the obligatory lunch in the dining hall, where I try not to think about...
By Beth Hawkins | August 19, 2019
New textbooks and guidance help California K-12 teachers cover LGBT issues and historical figures in the classroom
As the new academic year gets rolling for California public schools, instructional materials are available for the first time that ensure every K-12 classroom has access to accurate and unbiased depictions of the sexual orientation and gender identity of historical figures. The state’s FAIR Education Act — FAIR stands for Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful —...
By Beth Hawkins | September 16, 2018