Where do IEPs stand two years into COVID?

There’s no doubt that every student lost valuable in-person school time over the last two school years. But students with IEPs faced additional challenges keeping pace during remote or hybrid learning.

Now that students have generally returned to their school buildings, educators are preparing for customary IEP reviews and progress reports. However, they are likely juggling a caseload that includes students who were not able to get IEPs during remote learning, not to mention a backlog of new IEP referrals that stacked up while our students have been transitioning between in-person, remote and hybrid situations.

Fallout from the last two years includes students who have had no in-person education for 12-18 months and special education teachers who were unable to work face-to-face with many of their students. We’ve also seen the teacher shortage grow, with many retiring or moving into other careers because of the stress, or having to quarantine as new strains of COVID arise. The combination of these factors makes it difficult to keep up with a caseload under normal circumstances, adding to the frustration for everyone.…Read More

How iPads can support learning for students with autism

iPads can help engage and encourage students with autism, special-education teachers say.

Ed-tech advocates are discovering the numerous benefits that mobile devices, including iPads, can have for students. But a growing number of special-education teachers are finding that iPads can have a positive effect on their students with autism in particular.

Students with autism often have trouble communicating and might struggle with transitions, such as changing classes, getting on a school bus, or taking a field trip. A report issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) last April indicated that one out of every 88 children is believed to have autism or fall somewhere on the autism spectrum.…Read More

States struggle over how to evaluate special-ed teachers

Measuring success based on student growth on standardized tests is considerably more complicated for special-ed teachers.

Since the first day of class this school year, Bev Campbell has been teaching her students how to say their names.

Some of the children in her class have autism. Others have Down syndrome or other disabilities. “People don’t understand where they’ve come from,” she says. “It’s slow.”…Read More

How to cut special-ed spending without sacrificing quality

It is challenging, but not impossible, to reduce special-ed spending while increasing student achievement, a new primer says.

As school districts grow accustomed to doing more with less, special-education programs are dealing with their own unique set of challenges—and one expert has proposed several solutions to rein in special-ed spending without reducing program quality.

The recently published “Something Has Got to Change: Rethinking Special Education,” a primer from Nathan Levenson, a former superintendent of public schools in Arlington, Mass., and the American Enterprise Institute’s Future of American Education Project, offers practical solutions to tame out-of-control spending on special-education programs while serving special-needs students better.…Read More

Experts outline challenges facing math instruction

Students with disabilities, as well as their teachers, need support in math classes.

Numerous studies point to a fact that cannot be ignored: U.S. students’ math and science performance trails that of several other countries, and the nation’s classrooms need qualified, committed teachers to help students with disabilities, English Language Learners (ELLs), and at-risk students succeed in higher-level math and science courses.

During the Texas Instruments T3 (Teachers Teaching with Technology) International Conference in late February, educators got the chance to learn how technology can be integrated into math and science instruction. The conference included sessions dedicated to the instruction of at-risk students, including those with disabilities and ELLs.…Read More