MAC Autumn News 2018

  1. STATES DEFICIENT IN IMPLEMENTING SPECIAL EDUCATION (Michelle Diament, Disability Scoop, 7/25/18) Less than half of the states in America are meeting their obligations to disabled students during 2016-2017. 21 states were designated as “Meets requirements” by the U.S. Department of Education, remaining states labeled “needs assistance”, with the exception of Michigan and Washington, D.C. Both “required intervention”. States meeting requirements were Connecticut, Georgie, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire. Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, Vermont, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.
  2. 7% of preterm infants have autism (S. Agrawal et al, Pediatrics.2018; doi:10.1052/peds.2018-0134).Children with autism spectrum disorder in the general population is reported at 0.76%. However, a study in Pediatrics suggests that 7% of babies born prematurely have ASD. It is thought that whatever begins the preterm process creates abnormal pathways of brain development, making a “perfect storm” of genetic background and environmental exposure.
  3. The Schoolhouse Gate- Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind (Justin Driver, Pantheon, 2018) presents the key issues facing public education today. Nothing comes close to the Supreme Courts governance of public schools as seen through an overview of decisions from the 1920s to the present. Brown v. Board of Education, decided in 1954, ruled that separate schooling by race was inherently unequal. Since that time, the Court has undone much of that legacy. (The Court and the Classroom, Dana Goldstein, New York Times Book Review, 9/23/18)
  4. Lost in the Special Education Labyrinth (Elizabeth Harris, The New York Times, 10/7/18) examined special education in New York City. More than 200,000 students are in the system, with disabilities ranging from mild dyslexia to complex physical disorders.At least 50,000 did not receive the education to which they were entitled in the 2016-2017 school-year. The convoluted, broken system does not allow students to be tracked, or parents to be advised of their rights.  Recommended services never materialize and nobody is available to intervene except the few parents who can devote the time needed to navigate the system.
  5. Between Hope and Fear/ A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity (Michael Kinch, Pegasus Books) presents the history of vaccinations, as well as the anti-vaccination movement. This is viewed as an important book, especially for those who question the efficacy of vaccines. (Protecting the Herd, Henry Marsh, New York Times Book Review, 9/9/18)
  6. There is no good evidence that learning styles actually exist (You’re not a “Visual Learner”, Daniel Willingham, The New York Times, 10/7/18) Though teachers are trained to individualize instruction to match the way the student learns, research disputes this theory. Whether an auditory learner, a visual learner, or a kinesthetic learner, these perceptions must not be a self-fulfilling prophecy or an excuse for failure. Learners need to transform their thinking to match the task.