Special Education Reform?

I remember 20 plus years ago when I was getting my graduate degree in Special Education and a buddy of mine getting his degree in elementary education told me that his father, a school principal, said that I probably shouldn’t waste my time getting a masters in Special Education. He said that Special Education would be eventually fading out of public education. I was almost done with my masters at this point so I figured I would have to take my chances with it, besides what other choice did I have anyways at that point?

I got a Special Education job and taught for about 10 year. There were a lot of ups and downs over those 10 years, and eventually I decided that I wanted a change so I got certified and switched over to high school history. At this point in my career I remembered what my friend had said a decade ago and wondered if I was ahead of the curve on schools no longer needing special education teachers, even though it was 10 years later. I wondered if my job was now safe in my new-found home in the history department.

Well, I loved teaching history, but life has its own funny ways that aren’t aligned to us and what we want, so after a decade of teaching history I personally got a first class education on budget cuts and my job was eliminated. Thankfully, I landed on my feet back in Special Education, believe it or not.

It had been more than two decades since my old graduate school buddy told me that the need for special education teachers was disappearing. During the previous two decades my friend had gone from graduate school to elementary school teacher to assistant principal to principal, just like his father had done. I had gone from graduate school to special education teacher to history teacher to back to special education teacher, like nobody else that I know had done. And believe it or not there was still a bunch of special education jobs available when I landed there for a second time. As a matter of fact, there was actually plenty of jobs there because there is a shortage of special education teachers in 49 out of our 50 states. Imagine that… Two decades after I was told that Special Education was going away, and I find that they still can’t seem to get enough special education teachers.

Fast-forward a few more years to today and there is a new and interesting twist affecting Special Education called full inclusion. Now inclusion isn’t a new thing to our schools. As a matter of fact inclusion has a long interesting history in our schools.

Six decades ago there was the Supreme Court Case of Brown v. Board of Education. In 1954 the new law of the land became integrated schools for all races. Four decades ago the ground-breaking law of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) began to take effect and …

Conducting a Science Fair Experiment in Middle School

Some middle school students get excited when it is time to do a science fair project. Others tremble in fear at the thought of the work and time it takes to do such an experiment. By the time a child reaches middle school, the subjects are more complex and involved than they were in elementary school. Here are some ideas and tips for middle school science projects that should help even the most uninterested student take notice.

The first step to doing a middle school science project is to pick a subject that interests the student. It is a lot easier to complete a project when it is fun and exciting. Many students may have a hobby and they do not even realize that there may be a method behind what they love. For instance, if your child is into working on jigsaw puzzles, explain to them that they can do a science project on "Brain Power." This refers to psychology, which is science of the mind or mental processes. The topic of psychology opens a world of ideas and presentations that a student can do a project on. They can pick the broad topic of psychology, or pinpoint their project to human behavior or how the brain functions.

The next step in working on a middle school science project involves research. The student must gather data and cite sources for their research. Great places to utilize for this task include using the Internet, encyclopedias, magazines, and specific books on their topic. Data is extremely important to a science project because it helps to prove or disprove a theory, and it helps people understand why things happen the way they do. A student must also be prepared to write a short report about their findings on their project.

Another reason that research is so important to a science project is that there is a good chance people are going to ask questions about the project. This part of a presentation can make some students freeze in their tracks, but it does not have to be that way. Thorough research and understanding of what you read will make this part of the project easier. A student should act relaxed and natural when they are discussing their projects with others, and being prepared ahead of time will help relieve any sense of anxiety.

Conducting an experiment is the best part of a middle school science project. This is where the student gets down and dirty, and conducts a physical action that backs up their data and report. It is important that the student have all of the necessary materials to do the experiment accurately. It is no fun to show off your hard work and do not have your experiment work right. The student should also document each step of the experiment on paper in a way that someone else could read their notes and do the experiment the exact same way.

Finally, a student should present their experience with an interesting …

India's Move to Right to Education

BACKGROUND.

It was Saturday afternoon; the world seemed to be on vacation but me, as I was busy serving guests at a lunch party at my masters' residence. Chatting and laughing was loud enough to be heard in every nook and corner of the house. But those were of least concern to me, because I had to respond to every single call for any requirement at the very word of the guests or the master in particular. It was 2009, and I was just seven, wearing a sweater and a half pant, watching a bunch of people reflecting about the achievements of their wards and trying to prove ones child better than the other. When suddenly, an old man read from a magazine that the government was to pass a new act rarely, Right to Education Act. But to me those routine talks about the household work made more sense than this new coming up topic, because neither I could read or understand there high-level conversation, which had diverted there talks from their children, on top of that I did not even understand, what the word 'right' mean. That elderly fellow said something like …

History of the Act:

The Free and Compulsory Education Bill 2003 was the first attempt of the Central government to draft a comprehensive legislation on education after the 86th Constitutional Amendment that made education a fundamental right. The Bill was an excellent example of bureaucratic empowerment, creating up to 6 levels of various authority to ensure the provision of free and compulsory education. Furthermore, the reservation of up to 25% of the private school seats for the economically backward students to be selected by these authorizations ensured that the Bill was a throwback to the old license-permit-raj terme. Following widespread criticism, the Bill was discarded.

The Right to Education Bill 2005 is the second attempt by the Central government to set the education system right. Some of the important provisions of the Bill:

• Promises free and compulsory education of equitable quality up to the elementary level to all children in the age group of 6 to 14.
• Mandates unaided private schools to reserve up to 25 percent of the seats for students from weaker sections. The schools will be reimbursed by the lower of the actual school fee or per student expenditure in the government school. The assisted schools will reserve "at least such proportion of their approved children as its annual recurring aid bears to its annual recurring expenses subject to a minimum of 25 per cent."
• Requires all remaining students to be accommodated by opening new government schools and within three years of the passage all students to have a school to go within their own neighborhood.
• Forms School Management Committees (SMCs) observing parents and teachers for state schools and assisted schools. The SMCs will own the assets of the school, manage the accounts, and pay salaries.
• Establishes a National Commission for Elementary Education to monitor the implementation …